Makeup artists are members of the glam squads that create the looks we pin on vision boards and are, in a way, the architects behind the editorial fantasies we prescribe to. But what does it take to successfully penetrate this aspect of the world of beauty? With our focus on beauty this month, we connected with celebrity makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff to find out.
Name: Ashunta Sheriff
Location: New York City
Profession: Makeup Artist
How did you get started?
I started at Ricky’s [a New York based beauty shop] working part time while attending New York University and working a full time job as an assistant office manager. I later applied for a job at MAC cosmetics for the Herald Square grand opening, but the Macy’s Herald Square human resources department told me that all the MAC positions were filled. Luckily, however, a MAC employee who saw me said I looked like a MAC girl and took me in the back to interview with a MAC Senior team member. The rest is history.
I later parted ways with MAC for personal reasons and a friend referred me to a new makeup line that was called Laura Mercier at Bendels. I set up an interview and I got the position. I was making twice as much as I was at MAC and had the honor to learn from Laura herself. She came in monthly to train us on technique and new products. Plus, she brought us in to assist with her for events and fashion presentations. She is truly a wonderful woman and we share the same birth date too.
I began working with celebrities when I began working for Laura Mercier; she used some of the staff for various shows for fashion week and events. I had the opportunity to work with Paris Hilton, Joan Collins and Ivana Trump for a fur designer show and I said to myself this is the type of makeup I want to do.
What’s an average day like?
There is no average day. Some days start at 3:30am; some start at 10pm. No one day is the same. It’s hard to have a regimen for yourself and family, but we figure things out.
Why do you do it?
I love beauty. I love creativity. I love creating beauty.
Ups and downs you sometimes face on the job:
The ups are the world travels—seeing exotic locations, having priceless experiences. A down is the time you can lose with your loved ones. You’re out in the world, having the time of your life, seeing Africa, India, Australia and your loved ones are back home missing you and you’re wishing they could be on this journey with you. It’s tough. So it’s both an up and a down. I would also say one of the ups is when you see your published work, or see your client on screen and they look gorgeous; you really feel good about your work.
Your greatest achievement so far?
Having two beautiful children and being a mother; there’s nothing greater.
What might be next for you?
I launched my perfect blend dual foundation stick on QVC in June and it’s growing. Owning a new business is a work in progress. Success is not over night and it takes a lot of sacrifice. I plan on launching new items this fall and that’s very exciting.
What are your top 5 go-to make up tips for Black women?
- Well groomed brows are a must; they frame the face and can take years off.
- I love making the skin glow using natural products like coconut and olive oil. They are great serums for skin and hair.
- Go for bold color whether hot pink, tangerine or red. These colors, with minimalistic makeup, can really give a chic look.
- Contouring is a must and I love using my dual blend foundation stick; it makes it super easy to do. Just don’t leave too much under the eyes; it can look chalky and ashy.
- Makeup is great but skin care is the key to having flawless makeup. It begins with proper hydration; so drink your water and develop a great skin care routine that works best for your skin. I love steaming treatments with a pot of hot water and a towel. It’s old school but it works to pull out all of the toxins and dirt trapped in pores. It is free and will for sure help skin look radiant if done once a month.
Fun Fact: I love to dance it’s my favorite thing to do. I turn on Beyoncé or Prince and I just think I’m an Alvin Ailey dancer, lol.