Many times, the people that work behind the scenes making the scene rarely get recognized for their work. SociaLifeChicago will spotlight the amazing people that make you, your organization and your event look great.
Merrell Hollis, celebrity makeup artist who’s work has been featured on some of the best magazines and worked with celebrities such as Usher, Sean “P.Diddy” Combs, Wendy Williams, Mary J. Blige, Naomi Campbell just to name a few. He is currently the Head of the
Makeup Department of the Wendy Williams Show as well as Ms. Williams’ personal makeup artist. Mr. Hollis was in Chicago for the makeup show and we had the opportunity to get ‘Behind the Scene.’
If you ain’t about that life, don’t get into it
Who are some of the people that have influenced you when you began your career in makeup artistry?
Iman and Naomi Campbell. I am in awe of Naomi Campbell.
How did you decide this was what you wanted to do?
Since I was a young boy, I knew I wanted to help women. I wanted to work with them in some facet because I have always held women on such a high platform.
Initially I thought fashion styling was what I wanted to do and I did extensive research on that but makeup was what stuck with me. I used to watch my mom, grandmother and aunts apply their lipstick and I wanted to do that for them so they wouldn’t have to do it.
In terms of gaining entry into the industry, did you meet someone who took you under their wings?
I picked up Sam Fine’s book (“Fine Beauty: Beauty Basics and Beyond for African American Women“) and thought the way he did makeup and so I started working at the counters doing makeup and that’s where I learned my product knowledge
What advice can you give to someone looking to get start a career this field?
My advice would be to make sure this is something you want to do. We have enough mediocre people working in the industry. Only do it if you love it. Don’t do it for the fame or the money because all that stuff is up and down and there have been times where I had to make sacrifices
If you are willing to sacrifice for it is when you know you love your craft.
Was there one advice someone gave you when you started that stuck with you?
Shut up and listen. Stop talking so much but listen more. You can talk yourself out of a job that way. Do what you are there to do, be a makeup artist. Your client is your client you client is NOT your friend, Don’t get me wrong I’ve had clients that have become close friends but I know how to delineate. Wendy(Williams) is a friend and also a client. Puffy (Sean Combs) is a friend and a client.
Client First, Friend second.
In your industry you have to constantly educate yourself and be on top of the industry news and trends, what ways do you do that?
Product knowledge, what’s new and coming out, what chemicals may be cancer causing such as Red dye #40. I do classes all the time, whenever Makeup Forever hosts a class or an artist coming in. You can never know everything, you just don’t. Always learn, always.
Rapid Fire Questions:
Brush Vs Finger? Brush
Nude lip VS Bold? Nude all the time. Bonus we bonded over love of NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Abu Dhabi best for nude lips.
pronounced: Boh-la-jee, like the Bellagio but w/o the O. SLC Founder and Editor, loves to write about topics at the intersection of career and lifestyle for today's young professional and future leaders.