Beauty and the Board of Cosmetology

North Carolina Silences Makeup Artist

Jasna Bukvic-Bhayani is a professional makeup artist who wants to open up a makeup school. But North Carolina refuses to let her teach unless she agrees to turn her school into a full-fledged esthetics school that spends hundreds of hours teaching things makeup artists do not do, like hair removal and facials.

Jasna was surprised to learn this after she received a personal visit from a member of the North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners, who found Jasna’s Facebook ad for makeup instruction. The Board member told Jasna she was not allowed to talk about makeup unless she agreed to talk about things that are unrelated to makeup artistry and spend at least $10,000 on unnecessary equipment.

But makeup artistry is not the same as esthetics. Estheticians offer services like microdermabrasion, body waxing and facials. Jasna spent weeks pleading with the Board, but it refused to make this distinction. Instead the Board forces makeup artists who simply want to teach their craft to comply with its 600-hour, one-size-fits-all curriculum or face thousands of dollars in fines.

North Carolina has no problem with Jasna applying makeup to someone. The state requires almost everyone who applies makeup for a living to become a state-licensed esthetician before working, and Jasna went through 600 hours of schooling several years ago to do just that. Yet the Board has a problem with Jasna teaching people how to apply makeup unless she gets an additional license and turns her makeup school into an esthetics school.

People like Jasna should not need the government’s permission to provide useful information.

Jasna only wants to talk about makeup, and her students only want to learn how to apply makeup. Because Jasna cannot comply with the Board’s demands, she has not been allowed to open her school.

It does not make sense to force makeup schools to spend hundreds of hours teaching skills makeup artists do not use. People like Jasna should not need the government’s permission to provide useful information.

That is why Jasna and her prospective student, Julie Goodall, teamed up with IJ in August to sue North Carolina in federal court. The U.S. Constitution protects the right to speak for a living—whether the speakers are authors, journalists or makeup artists like Jasna—and it protects the rights of listeners to hear from those speakers.

This case is part of a larger campaign to protect the rights of people who speak for a living. IJ has successfully challenged laws that threaten the free speech rights of tour guides, newspaper columnists and bloggers.

We will continue to fight until entrepreneurs who talk for a living—including Jasna—are free to speak without getting the government’s permission.

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