Woman Could Be Fined For Teaching Makeup Skills, Sues North Carolina For Stifling Her Free Speech – Forbes

Jasna Bukvic-Bhayani could face hundreds of dollars in fines just for teaching makeup.

Jasna first came to the United States almost two decades ago as a war refugee, fleeing conflict in the Balkans. Relying on her training as a makeup artist, which she studied in college back in Sarajevo, Jasna was able to create her own studio in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Now a successful small businesswoman (and an American citizen), Jasna decided to open her own school, the Dahlia Institute of Makeup Artistry, to exclusively teach makeup techniques. With the Dahlia Institute, Jasna wanted to appeal to both licensed estheticians, who already have a foundation of knowledge, as well as amateur hobbyists.

Institute for Justice

Jasna Bukvic-Bhayani is a makeup artist who wants to teach her craft, but can’t because of North Carolina’s regulations.

Unfortunately, after Jasna announced her plans on Facebook, regulators lashed out. Last October, the North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Arts Examiners Chief of Enforcement went to Jasna’s studio and told Jasna she could not teach her courses unless she became a licensed esthetician teacher. And to obtain that license, Jasna—who is already a licensed esthetician—would have to teach the state’s 600-hour esthetician curriculum.

In response, last week, Jasna partnered with the Institute for Justice and sued North Carolina officials for squashing her right to free speech. IJ’s complaint is as simple as it is blunt: “Teaching is speech and is protected by the First Amendment.”

“It does not make sense to force makeup artists like Jasna to spend hundreds of hours teaching skills makeup artists do not use,” noted Institute for Justice Attorney Milad Emam. “Jasna should not need the government’s permission to provide useful information.”

In North Carolina, estheticians do far more than apply makeup. Complying with the law would force Jasna to train her students in completely irrelevant subjects, like aromatherapy, hair removal, and how to give facials. In fact, out of 170 “performances” the state requires to complete its esthetician course, a mere 30 involve “makeup application.”

Adding insult to injury, Jasna would have to spend at least $10,000 to buy equipment that’s completely pointless for a makeup artistry school, including a thermal wax system, a facial vaporizer and a “galvanic current apparatus.”

“My students simply want to hear me talk about makeup, but North Carolina wants me to teach them skills they are not interested in learning,” Jasna said. “You shouldn’t need a license just to talk about makeup.”