Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mint Focus: Shawana Brooks, Freelance Make-up Artist

1. Tell a little about yourself personally and if you attended school or if you are a self taught makeup artist?
I consider myself an eccentric aspiration. I'm naturally attracted to whatever is the opposite way of the mainstream. A quintessential Libra. Fashionable, Fearless, Fierce and Funny!!  I happen to be self-taught. My motto is Practice, Practice, Practice!!! 

2. Do you think going to school for make-up artistry is important to excel in the business later on?
I don't think you have to be formally taught to be a successful Make-up Artist. You just need to be open and a hustler. Jobs don't always fall in your lap you need to be resourceful. You have to network and get your name out. A portfolio helps, but isn't always necessary. And it wouldn't hurt if you had a psychology degree. It's really never about the make-up. You got to get to the source and then the make-up will come through that and your client will be happy.

3. Did you always want to be an artist, or did you stumble upon your talent by chance? Who or what inspired you to become a makeup artist?
I never dreamed of being a Make-Up Artist. It was really happenstance!  In the past I thought I was pretty OK with myself (now I'm much better ;-D) I used to visit frequently a very popular make-up store. One day An Artist said to me how much she and the other Artist who worked there thought I was very good with my make-up and had asked if I ever worked for a cosmetics company. I had not. So she invited me to an interview. Little known to me it was a Cattle Call. Over 200 girls and guys all in a line wanted a job. It was intimidating, but it made me want it more! I was selected along with 6 other people. I've always been a magazine lover. As a teenager I used to religiously read Cosmo Girl. The images from the layouts were wondrous. The first make-up book I ever purchased had changed my life. It was Kevyn Aucoin's Making Faces. His mastery of the craft was awe-inspiring. I wanted to meet him and I figured make-up would be my way in. Sadly he died before I ever got to shake his magical hands (which I hear were huge and graceful). I had a “Eureka” moment. Make-up is an illusion. You can be whatever and whomever you want to be. A Party Princess, A Vixen, Club Kid, Temptress, you name it. It was freeing and loved it!

4. What is your favorite or most exciting aspect about your job?
My favorite part of being a Make-Up Artist is the transformation. By adding a little black there or a peach here, or shading the lip liner like so, you can change your features. I don't think of terms like before and after. We’re all just playing dress-up. So tell me who you want to be.   

5. Describe your “Classic Approach to Beauty,” how do you define beauty?
I think beauty is really undefinable. It's so subjective. I like self-expression, but too few people really know themselves therefore they put out an image that is comfortable. Don't try to be someone else, it's always disappointing because you’re still you. Don't be afraid to take a risk.

6. What individual products and brands are you “addicted” to at the moment and use on a daily basis?
I'm a make-up slut. I fall in and out of love with products very often. There are a few I'm married to but I change because Fashion forces you too. If you’re in to that sort of thing, which I am, so right now I love dark rimmed rocker eyes so M.A.C 's Kohl Power Feline is my dreamboat so black and shiny! I love priming my eyes with Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Priming Potion. It's Marvelous. I love, love, love, skincare. The better your canvas looks, the better the picture you see. So moisturize ladies, yes even you oily sisters it will balance out your skin.

7. What are some of the most basic but effective skin care tips in general that you have, that are really important?
My biggest skincare tip is to drink more water. Skip those soda's even diet one's! Don't drink that fruit juice, unless you personally juiced it. Just try it for a month, just drink water at meal times to add more in your diet. Trust me you will see a change in your skin. It's your biggest organ everything you take in comes out through it. My second biggest is don't stress. Pimples pop up when there is stress. I know it's unrealistic to not be stressed sometimes but if you don't have the power to fix it let it go, your face will thank you! And invest in a good facial cleanser and don't use toners! They strip your oils. The oil is there for a reason and if you drink more water than you want have the oil and no need for toner in the first place.

8. What do you find to be the most common mistakes women make with makeup?
I think the most common problem I see on women is bad blending. This could be eyes, cheeks, lips, and even foundation. I know brushes can be pricey but they are your tools. You wouldn't use pushpins to build a house; you would want nails. Even if you have to get them one at a time get them and then make sure you clean them. They'll practically pay for themselves.

9. What do you think are best/worst trends in the makeup/skin care industry right now?
My favorite trend right now is colorful lips. Having a very soft eye, darkly lined and then a burst of orange, pink, or red on the lips. A throwback to the fifties is timeless. The worst trend I feel is smoky eyes. Most people don't understand the application so they end up overdoing it.

10. What feature(s) do you love to accentuate?
I'm an eye girl all the way. If the windows are the mirrors to your soul let the eyeshadow be the curtains. You can change the shape of the eye by elongating it, slanting it up slanting down, they can look huge, or very tiny; it's all in the highlighting and contouring.

11. What are your steps for the perfect, flawless, natural look?
The most important step to perfect make-up is to prime. That's eyes, face, lips, and lashes. It's makes a huge difference because the colors will glide on your skin and then they will stay there. Sometimes up to 8hrs or more with no major touch-ups, even in the heat.

12. What is a really quick way to change a day look to a special occasion or nighttime face?
A little black will change anything from day to night. More black on the lashes, or a little in the outer corner of your shadow, or put some in in the inner rim of the bottom of your eye (membrane lining). Just make sure your eyeliner pencil is safe for that.

13. In terms of eyeliner, if you had to choose between a pencil, liquid, or creme/gel based, which one would you choose? Why?
I love them all. They all have their place, but if you’re confused about which one to get, I advise you to pick one on our skill level. Pencil is good for beginners. If you have a steady hand go for the liquid (it stays on longer) or if you’re past pencil and not quite ready for liquid get gel. Just don't forget to buy a brush. A brush can be helpful with all three types. And if you still can’t get it, go to your friendly make-up counter and ask one of the Artist’s to assist you and show you how to apply it.

14. Lip gloss or Lipstick. Which product is best? Why?
I believe in the big three when it comes to lips: Liner, Lipstick, and then Lipgloss. I like longevity in my profession, so I don't get time for touch-ups. Liners give you definition, the lipstick gives a base for coloring and blending the lipliner and the lipgloss just around the edges will help it to stay in place and give you back your wet look. If you only use gloss that's OK, but you have to keep reapplying. Next thing you know you’re back to the counter buying another one.  

15. What brand/type of concealer is your favorite for covering up the after effects of a late night out i.e. under-eye circles, blemishes?
I like a more moist foundation for under the eyes. It looks more natural. The trick is to put it on after foundation not before. Let foundation cover whatever it’s going to do. Concealers generally have more coverage so whatever the foundation leaves behind tap a little concealer there. Then dust a little powder and “Voile”. The correct coloring is super important. Sometimes Cools needs Warm and vice versa. It's really about color theory. So, if you got a little more purple under your eye you'll need something yellow based to cancel it out. If you’re not good at this go to a make-up counter and let a professional help you.

16. Would you share some of your future goals, your life motto, any words of wisdom that get you by in life and professional career?
Currently I'm looking into doing more free-lance work and setting up a website for myself and getting my portfolio together. My advice for anyone in any career is to do what you love period. Then it's no longer a job it's a passion and you won't get burnt out you'll be energized. Any other way you’re not living, and life is meant to be lived! I just recently experienced a serious loss, but I know it happened to put me on a better path. Change can be very scary but is very necessary if you’re going to achieve your dreams. The only person that is stopping you is you. 

Shawana and I have known each other since 6th grade.  Thanks Shawana for taking out the time to do this interview!  Very helpful tips!!!  I know you will do well with your future endeavors because your work is PHENOMENAL!  :)

Fashionably yours - Shellena



  1. Hey girl, thank you for your comment !! i love your blog !! keep in touch
    ps:im following ;)

  2. What gorgeous photos! Love<3

    ♥ Kisses ♥

  3. i love those bright lips!

  4. hey, thank you for the comment. I like your blog a lot. you got an amazing taste. I hope we stay in contact. much love

  5. Thanks for your comment!! I love the weddings!!
    great interview and beautiful pics!!

    xx from spain


  6. Totally agree with the answers! Especially to drink more water! xo

  7. Your blog has some great make-up examples. Very beautiful.
    thanks for visiting my blog.

  8. thanks for following. following you back :)


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Remember to stay fashionably bold and true by setting your own fashion trends.

Fashionably yours - Shellena ♥

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