As Told To is a recurring segment on xoNecole where real women are given a platform to tell their stories in first-person narrative as told to a writer.
This is Tiffany Humphrey's story, as told to Charmin Michelle.
I'm a make-up girl in a digital world.
Which can be a good and bad thing—depending on the situation. On one end, make-up artists are always in the forefront, which ensures I have a market to promote my passion to. On the other end...everyone seems to be one, or at least feel like they can.
Don't get me wrong, I am class. room. HERE. for anyone trying to learn how to properly apply a beat face or even perfecting their craft. But our industry is one of the most underestimated industries in the game, primarily due to the fact that a lot of people don't see makeup as a profession or art. We really have to know how to sell ourselves and our craft; we're consistently having to think of ways to build our brand.
And what's worse, we often face potential clients who don't see our value, or don't understand and agree with our prices.
Ladies. We know how expensive makeup can be. Like. C'mon. There's nothing worse than someone wanting us to provide our best work, for the minimum.
So needless to say, in my world, being great at what you do isn't enough. And honestly, it never will be.
I became a MUA by chance. A true tomboy all my life, born and raised in Chicago—Southside Englewood to be exact. I grew up as an only child, raised as a Jehovah's Witness. I never knew my mother, so my father's parents raised me. And even though I lived with them, I saw my dad every weekend (we've grown so close over the years, he's my best friend).
Anyway, one day I decided to go out with friends; a night out with the girls. For some reason, that day, I noticed my bare face compared to everyone around me. We took a group photo, and I remember absolutely hating the picture. It bothered me probably more than it should have, but it also lit a fire. Literally the next day, I purchased L'Oreal concealer and went to work. Everyday I would practice applying my makeup. Soon, I fell entirely in love and have pursued all aspects of beauty ever since.
Fast forward to today, with putting in the hard work, I've been fortunate enough to have worked with amazing brands such as ORS, Puma, ample hair companies, salons, and photographers, I've built a social media following of amazing supporters, and I have created my own everyday wear product line that can compete with the best of them.
Literal full-circle manifestation.
And girls, times have certainly changed since. I mean this from an industry perspective, as well as the opportunities I've been afforded.
For one, when I began my artist journey, there weren't any "influencers", and maybe 3-4 beauty gurus on YouTube—if that. And no one looked like me. Even when shopping, there were only two or three shades available for deeper skin tones. You'd literally have to mix multiple shades to perfect your blend—and the black community kind of learned to cope with that reality. Over time, companies finally realized how lucrative and profitable the black beauty enterprise really is, and they woke up. They started to market to our demographic. And boom: suddenly, there were over 20 shades available to consumers. Then 25. Then 30. And now, some beauty brands offer 40+ shade options, almost as a standard (thanks, Rihanna).
What's even more crazy, now these very brands are using women of color and influencers in every campaign. We truly are big business.
Simply put, the beauty industry requires different levels of tenacity in seeking genuine success. And it's hard ladies, for various reasons.
A few reasons being:
We are always learning.
Just as clothing trends change, so do the trends within makeup. We have to always pivot with the times, learn new techniques, and adapt outside of our comfort zone. One of my favorite looks that I ever did was an orange glitter look that I did on myself. I am such a neutral girl, but my supporters love bright looks, so I loved it because it was a look that really pushed me. Anytime I do brights, they love it. And I love that they love it because it challenges me.
You may not notice, but makeup is a key component in everything you see.
The makeup industry is a billion-dollar industry—$90 billion to be exact. So, a lot of what you subconsciously see everyday, whether in film, ad campaigns, commercials, etc., they all require beauty services. Even if you think makeup is not there, it is.
We actually aren't that glamorous.
I will bet that your favorite makeup artist doesn't even wear makeup everyday. I legit wear it maybe two days a week, but I talk about makeup and look at it most of my day. My days consist of brushes, contouring techniques, blending, pigment formulas, and engagement with my supporters—not my own slay.
When I say it hurts I mean it. We stand for hours on end. Our hands cramp up from constant application. Our body aches from carrying all our bags, ring lights, cases etc. Ladies, book that massage for yourself—or ask bae. Because we really go through it.
Our job is more than makeup.
Makeup Artists are marketers, brand ambassadors, creative directors, web designers, and everything else you can think of. We legit do it all. And most importantly for me, most people believe that all we care about for our clients, is piling on unrecognizable makeup, which is not true. My focus is always on the skin! So, damnit, I'm a dermatologist too.
We have dream clients, and we have those that give us a hard time.
Again, our prices are our prices, sis. So that's first.
But secondly, as a client, it is very important to not fall into the category of being unrealistic. Do NOT let Instagram fool you. Some looks are strictly for the 'gram. If you do not have a large lid, glitter and large lashes is not a look that you can particularly wear, and as your MUA, it is my job to prevent you from rocking a look not tailored to your face.
Great clients book consistently, and great clients trust that we will paint within reason.
Ladies, I preach all of this in hopes of educating what most do not understand: the ups and downs of the beauty industry. We hold a responsibility to the public to provide the most quality services that we can. Had a bad experience with an artist? Keep trying until you find your artist. Look on YouTube, practice until you find YOUR look.
And if you're considering becoming a makeup artist:
- Focus on you. Find your makeup style and focus on yourself. One thing my father always taught me was, "In your lane there is less traffic." Stay in your lane.
- Practice. Practice on your skills and build your craft.
- Like with any business, invest! Invest in your branding, invest in your product, invest in classes, invest in yourself.
- Find artists that are where you would like to be and let them be your motivation. I follow entrepreneurs, influencers, and women who are really next-level in their business as inspo.
- Be patient and pray. Your time is coming. And when it does, your patience would have prepped for you to be ready.
- And learn to shut up. It sounds crazy, sounds harsh, but it's the truth. Don't run around talking about what you are going to do, just do it.
As for what's next for me, continuing to build my brand, continuing to host makeup boot camps, and creating larger revenue sales goals for my products, are all my focus. Oh, and also, YouTube. I'll finally be creating my channel, as my supporters have been asking me for so long (ahhh, I'm nervous!). And now that I have said it out loud, I have to do it.
Either way, with or without, I will remain true to my course: a curator of Glam $hit. A make-up artist that not only knows glam, but teaches glam to everyone, from beginner to advance.
And I'm here to take my piece of the $90 billion pie.
To connect with Tiffany, you may book an appointment on TiffDailyBeat.Com. Follow her on Instagram @Tiffdailybeat, where she hosts full-face tutorials every Tuesday, titled 'Tuesdays with Tiff' on her live.