The Confessions & Lessons Of A Make-Up Artist

In my world, being great at what you do isn't enough. And honestly, it never will be.

As Told To

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.

It hurts.

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.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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 Maya's story, written by Charmin Michelle.

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