Alumni Connection

Alumna Makes Her Mark

Throughout the World

Zee Gustafson

Working with celebrities like Jay-Z and Forest Whitaker or news outlets like CNN and WGN is just part of the job for College of DuPage cosmetology alumna Zee Gustafson who is a professional makeup and hair artist and owner of Zee Artistry LLC.


“Working in or owning a salon was never a goal of mine in school,” said Gustafson, who travels between homes in both Chicago and New York and has also worked on jobs in Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Detroit, Punta Cana and Costa Rica, “I wanted to travel working on photoshoots, fashion shows and movies.”


And she is doing just that. Gustafson’s business focuses primarily on providing services for television, film, celebrities, red carpets, fashion shows and commercial photography. Her career has offered her the opportunity to work on photoshoots for companies like CONAIR, Walgreens and Under Armour and take part in fashion shows for Victoria’s Secret and Alexander Wan.


Gustafson landed on her career choice by chance. She originally wanted to be a forensic scientist, but looked into cosmetology as well so that she could make money with an alternate career. She went to College of DuPage’s Cosmetology Open House to learn more.


“I fell in love and decided to begin the two year program,” said Gustafson, who graduated with her certificate in 2008. “I contemplated discontinuing the program because of how much hard work it was. All of the skills learned from a slew of talented teachers is really a blessing, but students have to be ready for it. Thankfully, I woke up one morning about halfway through the program and it hit me, I wanted to do hair and makeup for the rest of my life.


But, while Gustafson was honing her hair and makeup skills she was also taking business courses and completed her Associates in Applied Sciences.  


“I didn’t understand how imperative that knowledge would be and had I not done the additional coursework I don’t think I would have grown the business I have today,” said Gustafson. “I have crafted a multi-faceted career I never knew was possible.”


She has also recently had articles published, been on television and is visiting schools to inspire youth to work hard and follow their dreams.


My career path has definitely been more of a winding, hilly, icy road rather than a straight path,” said Gustafson, “When I think I know what I want to do next, an opportunity will present itself that I never could have ever expected and spins me in a different direction.”


And while she has worked 32 hours straight and been so exhausted that she had to step away from a photoshoot to throw up in a bathroom, she says following her dreams is the best thing she has ever done.


Zee said, “I am obsessed with my career and am lucky to have listened to my heart at such a young age as well as had the support to do so.”


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