North Carolina Makeup Artists Declare Victory over Makeup Police

Charlotte, N.C.—In a move that will empower makeup artists statewide, the North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners has agreed to allow stand-alone makeup schools to operate without an unnecessary, government-issued license. The shift, which closes a six-month-old federal lawsuit, means Charlotte makeup artist Jasna Bukvic-Bhayani is finally free to open the school of her dreams.

The case began last August, when Jasna and her aspiring makeup student, Julie Goodall, teamed up with the Institute for Justice (IJ) to sue members of North Carolina’s Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners for violating their First Amendment rights. Jasna had tried opening a makeup school in 2016, but she ran afoul of the board’s requirement that she get special government permission first. This requirement would have forced Jasna to spend hundreds of hours on useless instruction and at least $10,000 on useless equipment. Jasna found this unacceptable, so her school remained closed to interested students, like Julie.

But this week, at a court-ordered mediation, the board has agreed to permit Jasna’s school to operate without requiring a license.

“No one should need a license just to talk about makeup,” said Jasna Bukvic-Bhayani. “To get the board’s license, I’d have to agree to spend hundreds of hours teaching skills my students don’t want or need to learn. I’m so excited that I am now free to teach my students skills they would actually use to do their jobs.”

Before this lawsuit and mediation, no school could teach makeup in North Carolina without getting a cosmetic art school license, which would require the school to teach a 600-hour esthetics curriculum, even though makeup artists are not estheticians. This meant that for every curriculum hour spent teaching makeup, schools had to spend as many as five hours teaching esthetics material—like hair removal and facials—that have nothing to do with makeup artistry.

North Carolina’s licensing requirements to simply teach willing students about makeup clearly violates free-speech protections in the First Amendment.

“The U.S. Constitution protects the right to speak for a living—whether the speakers are authors, journalists or makeup artists like Jasna,” said Milad Emam, an attorney with IJ, which represented Jasna and Julie in court. “You should not need the government’s permission to voluntarily give people useful information.”

After litigating the case for six months, Jasna plans to move quickly to get her school up and running.

“For over a year, the board has prevented Jasna from opening her school and creating jobs in North Carolina,” said IJ Senior Attorney Justin Pearson. “With the board’s unconstitutional obstruction out of the way, Jasna and Julie are finally free to talk about makeup.”

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