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This Professional MUA Is Putting The Glow Up In Our Quarantine

With virtual makeup consultations and skincare tips, Kierra Lanice is making sure we exit social distancing with our confidence and makeup skills on 10.

Beauty & Fashion

I'm sure I'm not the only one who was left in shock when retail stores and nail salons closed their doors indefinitely with no warning. Part of me was offended that there wasn't some sort of notice, I thought we were better than that. But here we are, quarantined at home with no idea of when the great outdoors will open up again. And while most of our days consist of showering (or not), only to put on a new pair of pajamas (or not), pro-MUA Kierra Lanice is giving us the glow up we all need, from the comfort of our own homes.

She's one of the millions who have felt the sting of the COVID-19 fallout. And while we're appreciating the beauty industry much more now than ever, Kierra, whose work has been featured on major events like the Grammy Awards, has launched virtual beauty consultations, which easily serve as a way to give us the star treatment at home; all while making sure her business not only stays afloat but continues to thrive during these unexpected times.

From doing personal assessments of her client's makeup bags to custom tips on how to maximize their own skills, Kierra's virtual beauty consultations are a perfect fit for novices and her fellow makeup pros alike.

xoNecole: We live in a different day and time where everyone is trying to adjust to their new normal, whatever that might mean for them. What inspired you to offer virtual makeup sessions?

Kierra Lanice: I want to help people bounce out of their funk. Yes, I think that it's very important to take a pause. We're in the middle of a global pandemic. It's OK to grieve, it's OK to not feel like doing anything. But you can't let that paralyze you.

At the beginning of this, I was really bummed out. I had just wrapped up tour dates with [Grammy-nominated artist] Rapsody. The last show ended up getting canceled, and so all this stuff started happening. I was disappointed because the tour was something that was huge for my career, but the moment I felt myself starting to spiral and my mind starting to go under siege, I knew I had to do something. People are depending on makeup artists. Just as much as this is affecting me, it's affecting the people I take responsibility for making feel beautiful. If I'm down in the dumps, how much more are other women?

"Just as much as this is affecting me, it's affecting the people I take responsibility for making feel beautiful. If I'm down in the dumps, how much more are other women?"

What’s the biggest concern you’ve heard from women when it comes to beauty and being quarantined?

You see these videos, they have 50 different steps, an hour and a half 'Get Ready With Me', and women want to know, 'Can I look this fly, can I feel this confident without using so much time?' That's been one of the things I've been trying to do is debunk the myth that it requires 25 products, an hour and a half. But at the same time, it's OK, since we do have extra time on our hands if you want to explore. If you say you'd never wear red lipstick, now is the time. Nobody's gonna see you! Try it, wear it around the house and see how it makes you feel. You might be surprised!

What will each woman walk away with after a session with you?

They'll leave with a better understanding of their skin and their face shape. That's something I've been very strategic with talking about… knowing how to shop better. They'll also get digital handouts to refer to and reference when doing their makeup. Just something that makes it more than a one-time thing. They can implement it into their regular routine. My favorite part is that it's customized specifically for them.

"I always say skincare is just as important as brushing your teeth. If you take care of your skin, it will take care of you."

How important is it for us to still practice healthy skincare routines - even though we’re not outside as much, and our skin isn’t exposed to bacteria as much as it used to be?

I always say skincare is just as important as brushing your teeth. If you take care of your skin, it will take care of you. Who knows how long this social distancing this is gonna last. I would hate for, on the other side of this, for us to come out with even worse skin. Now is the time to really start buckling down and creating these routines, getting in the habit of doing specific steps, even if it's just starting with a cleanser and a moisturizer. If you're a person who doesn't do anything to your face, start now by getting in the habit of doing this, so when we do come out of it and you start wearing makeup again like you normally would, your skin knows how to react and bounce back. Even though we're not going out, even though we're not as exposed to the skin, skincare from A-Z, finding a good cleanser, using a good moisturizer for your skin type, all of these things are important. We're responsible for taking care of our skin, cleansing it, and making sure we're protecting it.

As someone who provides self-care for others, how have you practiced it yourself during your downtime?

Every day, or at least twice a day, I'm putting on a new mask! Just because. I've been experimenting more after realizing I'm actually resourceful. In the past, I've spent so much time getting my nails done. I can do my own nails! And even braiding my hair.

As much as I love a good lazy day, there's something about putting on lipstick and doing our hair with nowhere to go.

For more of Kierra, follow her on Instagram.

Featured image courtesy of Kierra Lanice

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A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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