The founder of StyleMakers.TV, Nicole Williams is also the host on the former syndicated hit television show, “Ambush Makeover.” Her list of credentials is extensive but she’s best known as a television personality, celebrity make-up artist and beauty & fashion editor for several lifestyle publications including BE Magazine and actress Vivica Fox’s publication, Jolie Magazine.
We recently sat down with Nicole to chat about her career in beauty and how the hustle has changed over the years with social media.
How long have you been in the game and how did you get your big break?
With over 15 years under my belt, I have to say my journey has been quite an interesting one. I started my career working for MAC Cosmetics, where I learned my craft working under the tutelage of MAC pros like Nadine Luke, Romero Jennings and Roque Cozzette during the “Pre-Estee Lauder Days”- when the brand was all about the BEAT!!! I got my first break when I left MAC to pursue a freelance career. I had two friends that looked out for me, one that worked at BET as a resident makeup artist named Angela Kelly- I’ll never forget…she gave me an opportunity to assist her and I was able to do celebs like Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, and LL Cool J (he was my favorite, LOL). I had another friend named Iyesata Marsh who happened to be a celebrity hairstylist to Lil Kim and asked me come do a test make-up on her and then, next thing you know, I was assisting on the video for Lil Kim’s song, “The Jump Off.” It was after that when the work started rolling in and I realized that I was a officially a pro makeup artist and that maintaining good relationships in this business is very valuable!
Your client list extensive – name a few artists that you have worked with? Did you travel with them on the road?
When I worked at BET, I was able to work with alot of celebs, including: Mary J Blige, Lil Kim, Mariah Carey, Chante Moore, LaLa Anthony, LL Cool J, Missy Elliott. I worked for three years with Missy Elliott visiting over 15 countries. Talk about an amazing experience!!!
Are there certain skin types or looks that you like to work with? Meaning, do you like working with red-heads like Nicole Kidman or those with silky skin like model Alek Wek?
As an artist, I look at skin as a canvas, not black, white, good or bad. I love when a client takes care of their skin because that makes my job alot more easier. However, that is not always the case. Working with a variety of skin types and skin tones is an expected challenge that all makeup artists face but I enjoy the challenge, because it helps to broaden my skill everytime! But girl, there’s nothing like African skin…amazing!
Since you’ve been in the game for a while, how different is the make up hustle from when you first started?
Honestly, it’s alot easier for new makeup artists than it was for me because now you’ve got social media like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to hustle without leaving your house. Back when I started, you had to shop your portfolio, find an agency that would represent you or have a impressive portfolio and website….but back then websites where very expensive. Now you can make your own affordable website with programs like SquareSpace, Fiverr or Wix. For me, it was get out and hustle, network and pray! But I always tell newcomers: “be ready at any moment…cause yours might be next!”
Is the field really that competitive? And how do you become a personal artist to a celebrity?
A lot rests on your skill and talent! Yes it’s a very competitive field, especially now because YouTube has changed the game so dramatically. You’ve got people like Michelle Phan who have become super popular and successful as a makeup artist on YouTube. Nowadays, you have to not just be good at beating face, but also at social media. I always say “do your thing any way you can, but stand out and be great at it.”
Becoming someone’s artist can be challenging, its a little mix of talent, luck, and who you know. I say if your not with a makeup agency, make sure you have clean images of your work on a personal website and Instagram, no words written on the photos or anything like that, then connect with celebrities, editors and production companies on Instagram. It’s an easy way to self promote and show off your work because most of the time you can’t talk to them right away or pass them a business card. In most cases, they might connect with you if your work looks impressive.
Check in tomorrow for part two of our interview with Nicole.
Originally posted on Mommynoire.com