In Department of Theatre and Media Arts, Faculty and Staff

Jennine graduated with an emphasis in makeup and hair design and has built upon the legacy of her predecessor

Jennine Hollingshaus is a key adjunct professor in BYU’s Department of Theatre and Media Arts makeup division. Her career has come full circle from starting as a student in the makeup department to becoming a professor and mentor. 

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Jennine grew up a Canadian farm girl with strict parents who didn’t allow her to wear makeup. Her father doubled as the bus driver so she would sneak makeup in her bag to put on when she arrived at school, only to wash it off before she boarded the bus for home. 

Because her father wouldn’t allow her to wear makeup until she was 16, it created a bigger draw for the young makeup enthusiast. She has since told her father that he was the greatest benefactor to her career. 

Looking back at old prom photos, Jennine claimed she looked the worst out of all of her friends. “I would spend all day doing makeup and hair for my friends, then I would have to get ready in 10 minutes,” she said.

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Photo provided by Jennine Hollingshaus

BYU Round 1: Acting, Makeup and Getting Paid 

After her days of makeup, hair and fun with friends, Jennine found herself at BYU. Her goal: acting. It wasn’t until a friend came looking to her for help that she found herself in the makeup scene once again. 

Her friend had been cast in a mainstage play that required period makeup. When her friend did the look herself, she hated it. When Jennine did the makeup, her friend loved it. She requested that Jennine come every night to do her hair and makeup for the show. And that’s exactly what she did. 

It was there, doing backstage hair and makeup that truly set Jennine’s career into motion. She was offered a job on the spot to be part of the costume shop crew. “That was the first moment where I said, ‘Oh, they pay for this kind of thing. I had no idea,’” she said.

Jennine then took all the makeup classes the department offered, did makeup on the side and created a special bond with makeup professor Janet Swenson. She would eventually graduate with an emphasis in makeup and hair design. 

BYU Round 2: Janet, Teaching and Studio C

Jennine moved with her husband and their children to Minnesota and eventually Seattle. She would help out with local theatre and do freelancing here and there. It wasn’t until the family made their way back to Utah that she would experience the opportunities that defined her career. 

The bones of Jennine’s career are built from the footprint that her predecessor Swenson left within BYU’s TMA makeup department. “She really fought for makeup classes. She fought for the makeup studio and she fought for individual students,” said Jennine, who won’t take credit for being a trailblazer, but believes that she was able to build upon the legacy that Swenson created.  

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Photo provided by Jennine Hollingshaus

Jennine said that while she was living away from Utah, she kept in contact with Swenson. “We would email back and forth and she would say, ‘When are you coming to teach? I really need you to come teach when I’m done.’”

When Jennine and her family did move back to Utah, Swenson was in the process of wanting to retire. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. 

One Friday night around 10 p.m., Jennine got a call from Swenson. “She said, ‘We’re going to do life-casting tomorrow and I am sick. I can’t be there, can you be there?’ And I said, ‘Oh, sure,’” recalled Jennine. 

On the phone, Swenson continued, “By the way, a former student is going to come in and bring some cast members for this TV show. They’re going to do life casts. It’s called Studio C.”

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Photo provided by Jennine Hollingshaus

Jennine didn’t think twice about it. “I’d never heard of it; I didn’t even know what she was talking about,” she said.

Saturday came and Jennine helped the cast of Studio C do their life-casting. It was there that she met the head of the show’s makeup department. A week later, she got a call from the department head offering her a job. It has been seven years and Jennine has been with Studio C ever since. 

Upon Swenson’s departure, Swenson kept calling on Jennine to teach.

“I just don’t think that’s what I want to do,” Jennine would say. But now, she says it really has been a blessing for her. “The students that I have the opportunity to be around are phenomenal people. Their enthusiasm, their intelligence, their creativity really blesses me,” Jennine said. 

Since coming back to BYU, Jennine has built the makeup and hair emphasis into what it is today. “When I came back to teach, I updated all the curriculum with new techniques and new products, but the principles of makeup are universal,” she said. 

Mom Boss

Having made a successful life out of a freelance career, Jennine has seen the ups and downs of the industry. She is well equipped to educate her students on how to succeed in a be-your-own-boss profession. 

“I encourage my students to take a business course, understand taxes, understand how to set up an LLC and understand how to network,” she said. 

Being a mother of five, working as a freelance artist and an Instructor for TMA’s makeup department can be a juggling act. She manages by having the love and support of her husband, former TMA department chair Wade Hollingshaus. 

“I have an amazing husband. We’re partners as parents. He can cook dinner, he can do laundry, he can get the kids to where they need to go. I think for me, that has been the key. It’s a very easy tag team,” she said.  

Jennine Hollingshaus is an inspiration for many young women who hope to be mothers and also have a fruitful career, but she recognizes that it isn’t always easy.  

“I would say to anybody who wants to have a career and be a mom –– I’m not going to lie –– you sacrifice. You cannot do it all. You cannot be the most amazing mom and have the most amazing career,” she confessed. “But, I think the secret is to be okay with that. To say, ‘That’s okay. I don’t have to be the most amazing at everything.’”

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