Michela is Zooting

A beauty & lifestyle blog by creative Michela Wariebi

Tag: fashion

Black Make Up Legends – A Series

Working as a makeup artist has progressively become a mainstream idea, but this career path has a lifespan that barely reaches 100 years of existence in the Western world. Icons like Max Factor and Way Bandy made innovations with makeup artistry that correlated with advancements in the areas of TV/film and fashion and this is how our industry as we know it truly began. Progressively more people joined the fold, adopting the title of makeup artist, the film industry expanded, fashion boomed and the world evolved.

Fast forward to present day and everybody and their mothers are all makeup artists, literally.  Social media has made makeup more tangible to the masses and although an excellent medium for highlighting talent, it has skewed the masses on who is “iconic” and who is “legendary.” The eyes of the public can change as quickly as the seasons, but the truth is that those who are iconic and those who are legendary will always be despite what the masses might say at the moment.  The forerunners of this industry who were hired and respected for their talents and techniques may be eclipsed by follower counts in some spaces, but they will always have a place in the hearts of minds of those who truly “know.”

This is a strange and hard truth about our industry. Many who have paved the way can quickly be forgotten; easily eclipsed by the newest on the block.  And I consider the role of some of the first black makeup artists to be one that is especially peculiar.  In 2019 black artists are still greatly underrepresented in many areas of the makeup industry and black skin is still grossly unrepresented in cosmetic product offerings, so imagine the solitude in the lack of diversity or the frustration in the lack of product options in the 70’s and 80’s.  To be an artist working in the highly coveted and notoriously exclusive spaces only achieved by a few or to work on people of color at those times and doing GOOD work speaks volumes of their skill and ability to “make do” to make up.

And so, in an effort to show due respect to the legendary black makeup artists who were the firsts in an industry that still regularly forgets or chooses to ignore black skin, I give you The Black Makeup Legend Series. Over the following weeks I will highlight over 10 black makeup artist who were among the first to establish successful careers as makeup artist.

Click HERE to read about our first legend, Joey Mills!

 

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Black Makeup Legends – Joey Mills

Joey Mills by all accounts is the first black makeup artist with a career path focused in fashion and editorial. It’s important to make the distinction as to in which area a particular artist may have garnered their success, because it’s due time that we clarify to the masses that all makeup artists are not the same and in no way do we all do the same thing. I digress.

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Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, Mills made the move to NYC in 1975 to pursue a career in makeup.  In an effort to get noticed, he donated his time and skills to friends, agencies, models and any willing face doing as much makeup as he could.  And he did indeed get noticed.  Mills joined the team at NY’s popular Ciandre salon and his freelance career took off; going from sheer obscurity to top artist in the industry within a 1.5 year period!

With there being literally only a handful of artists working in fashion and editorial makeup during his time, Mills’ talent soon made him a highly requested artist.  Throughout his career he is rumored to have amassed a whopping 2,000 magazine covers including Vogue, British Vogue, Elle, Essence, Harper’s Bazaar, Harper’s Bazaar Italia, Glamour, Cosmo, Mademoiselle, Self and Seventeen. Absolutely unprecedented and without a doubt a record that has never been matched.

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Mills is also known for helping to create the “Calvin Klien look” that became a major inspiration to the public aesthetic for over 2 decades. He is the artist behind the iconic Calvin Klein ads featuring a young Brooke Shields with full brows, beautiful skin and natural lip.  He went on to be a go-to artist for Shields for over a decade of her career.

Other celebrities touched by his brushes included stars like Paulina Porizkova, Liza Minelli, Melba Moore, Diana Ross, Raquel Welch and many more.

All his technical expertise and knowledge was compiled into his collectible instructional makeup book, “New Classic Beauty: A Step-by-step  Guide to Naturally Glamourous Makeup. I recently added this to my library and after a quick read, I absolutely recommend you grab yourself a copy HERE.

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To consider the career and achievements of Joey Mills is to be inspired.  He was able to create a remarkable legacy during a time where black talent was barely allowed in the room.

Blackness in the beauty and fashion industry: the makeup artist perspective

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen the increasing racial tension growing in the U.S. due to multiple instances of violence against black bodies by police and citizens. Not that any of this is new, but thanks to mobile technology and social media, we have been able to see it in a manner that we never had before.

This has resulted in many choosing to no longer remain silent or to scream a bit louder about the daily struggles associated with blackness in the U.S.  This conversation is especially gaining momentum in the beauty and fashion industries.

Yesterday, model and activist Nykhor Paul read the fashion industry their rights in a manner that resonated with manyand had many of us screaming YESSSS at our screens!  She articulated the truth of the matter perfectly.  Her words were praised, eye were opened, edges were snatched.

See her full rant on IG here.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 2.31.00 PMNeedless to say, her post went viral.  It was shared in a Pro Makeup Artistry group I run on FB and it began a dialogue on another perspective, the role of the black makeup artist in a very white and exclusive industry.  We all shared very similar experiences and I thought it was important to share with my readers.  (Yall out there right?)

Here is some of what we shared:

–  Black models are often surprised and extremely grateful that we have product to match their complexion.

– We regularly encounter other “professional artists” who are not prepared with skills or product to do makeup on any skin with a color deeper than a paper bag.

– When working in a group setting of makeup artists it is automatically assumed that because you are a artist of color, you will complete makeup for all black models.

– Non-black artists are especially celebrated and valued for being able to do beautiful makeup on black models.

– If a black makeup artist were to show up on set with no makeup for white skin, all hell might actually break lose on set or backstage.

Granted, certain artists specialize in certain things and that’s to be expected.  However, in a fashion setting there is another expectation. It is not okay to only have product to suit white skin because there is a lack of diversity in fashion.  That lack of diversity in runways and in magazines is problematic, so to act in a manner that supports that discrimination, is also discriminatory.

As a professional artist, one should be well-versed and skilled on doing a proper, professional caliber makeup application on the full global skin range…as in, on all humans.

Being able to do a beautiful application on black skin is not a special skill because you are not black.  It is the standard and not a specialty. There is no denying that we are drawn to that which looks most like us, but I encourage and challenge every artist that may read this to truly be a professional and be prepared to meet the needs of the diverse world we live in. Which artist will you be?

10 Tips for Surviving The Makeup Show NY

UnknownIt’s that time again!  When all your favorite pro makeup brands come together in the fashion mecca, NYC for 2 days of shopping, sharing, and shennanigans.  Well, shennanigans aren’t a guaranteed a part of my TMS experience, but I’m always sure to infuse a little foolery into those two days.  Regardless, it’s important to be properly prepared so that you can make the best out of the show!  Here are my 10 tips for surviving The Makeup Show NY!

  1. Plan ahead. This is hands-down the most important thing to do before you get to The Makeup Show NY!  There is an incredible schedule of demonstrations, classes, lectures etc. taking place during The Makeup Show and the amount of product available for purchase can overwhelm the most experienced show-goer. There is no better way to navigate the show than to have a plan!
  2. Make a Shopping List. Remember tip #1?  Meet it’s little sister, tip #2.  Once you’ve gone through the vendor list provided by The Makeup Show, look at your kit, then back at the vendor list, then back at your kit again.  Take some time to figure out what you need to add to your kit and formulate a shopping list based on your needs and what is going to be available for purchase at the show.  Now you will have a clear idea of exactly what you need to buy versus what the product junkie in you wants to buy!
  3. Bring Cash. In the age of technology it’s safe to say that every vendor will be taking credit cards, but you will be able to get in and out without dealing with processing times.  This also helps you stick to a budget for what you actually need to buy.
  4. Dress comfortably.  Although you want to be a great representation of your own brand, this is not the time to wear your new sequin halter and 6 inch Louboutins. You will be walking, standing, and maneuvering through a massive amount of bodies, so it’s best to wear something that is breathable and comfortable to wear all day. Also, black is not necessary!
  5. Network.  The Makeup Show is not just an opportunity to learn and shop it is also an incredible networking opportunity.  See you favorite beauty blogger, or that celebrity artist who you’re friends with on Facebook?  Go say hi! Make sure that you have your own business cards in hand and collect as many cards as you can.  If you need help remembering who’s who, write a little note on the back of each card you collect to remind you of who each person is.
  6. Take pictures. Do I really need to explain?  Inspiration and worthwhile memories are literally bursting out of the Metropolitan Pavillion!  Trust me that you will want to commemorate every single moment!  
  7. Be social media savvy.  Social media material doesn’t get much better than The Makeup Show.  Leverage every opportunity to make yourself visible to brands and people via social media platforms such as, Twitter, Instagram, Viddy, Vine etc.  Making a purchase, taking a class, or a chance meeting are all perfect instances to make a post via any social media platform and to tag said brand/person in question!
  8. Be courteous and professional.  Everything is a representation of your brand and reputation will get you incredibly far in the beauty industry.  Be polite and professional in every single interaction because it is the proper thing to do and because you never know who you may be dealing with. Trust me.
  9. Ask questions.  This is your chance to get in person demonstrations and product knowledge from industry experts.  This is also your chance to speak directly with representatives from brands and with artists with which you may want to work.  Take advantage of every opportunity to have brand reps give you product knowledge and to find out about opportunities to advance your career!
  10. Come visit I Make You Beautiful.  This last tip is completely biased, but I want to see all your beautiful faces and all your new purchases!

Book Work – Witches in East Harlem

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This was the first shoot that I had in 2013.  It has to be one of my favorite shoots to date.  I pray that this is a foreshadowing to the type of work that I will be creating moving forward.

Makeup – Michela Wariebi

Wardrobe Styling – Leanne Woodley

Hair – Seven Knows

Photographer – Jessica Horewood

Models – Lena Fawn; Julija Gradauskaite

Book Work – Mod Maven


Makeup – Michela Wariebi

Wardrobe Styling – Leanne Woodley

Hair – Anthony Payne

Photography – Jennie Bregande

Book Work – The Golden Child

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Makeup – Michela Wariebi

Wardrobe Styling – Michela Wariebi

Photographer – Luis Deandre

Hair – Stephen Hudson

Model – Nejilka Arias