Temptalia had the pleasure of interviewing Toya Smith Marshall, aged 29, who works as a freelance artist with her own company Makeda Make-Up Artistry. She’s been working as an artist for three and a half years, and she works in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area. She is a graduate of the Von Lee International School of Aesthetics. Toya also runs her own beauty blog, The Life of a Ladybug, which makes for a great morning read.
Temptalia: What surprises you most about working as a makeup artist?
Toya: How stressful it can be! You haven’t seen pressure until you’re faced with an anxious, nervous bride and her 11 bridesmaids who all have different ideas on how you should make them look beautiful!
Temptalia: What’s your favorite way to achieve the perfect natural look?
Toya: The perfect natural look is different for everyone, but, by and large, concealer only where you need it (usually under the eyes and around the nose), a dusting of powder, some highlight under the brow and on the cheekbones, a healthy pop of blush (peachy-pink is a great color for most, but on women of darker hue, a saturated apricot or darker orangy-red works well), and sheer glossy lips. Carmindy got it just right and I love her book, The 5 Minute Face – every woman who seeks the “natural look” should buy it!
Temptalia: What feature do you love to accentuate?
Toya: Again, each woman is different. I really look at a client to see what feature stands out. For some women, it’s the lips – beautiful, full lips should be played up with gloss. For women with quite expressive eyes, experimenting with shadows that bring out the color of the eyes and adding false lashes or lots of mascara is interesting and fun. For women with round, youthful faces, adding a bright color to the apples of the cheeks accentuates that healthy, young look.
Temptalia: Do you love working any specific brands or lines?
Toya: Well, I’ve been a MAChead for quite a while. But I don’t just stick to MAC. That’s part of why I became a freelance artist, rather than work for a particular brand. I have products I love from all across the beauty brand continuum and I want to use them all! Besides MAC, I love NARS’ blushes, CARGO’s blushes and bronzers, Bobbi Brown, KLS, Stila, Laura Mercier, Mally Beauty, L’Oreal … the list goes on and on.
Temptalia: What are three important skills required to be a makeup artist?
Toya: Patience, creativity and a sense of whimsy. You have to be able to call up unbelievable patience when you are faced with a client who may not see or understand your vision – you have to be willing to explain your ideas and also understand that make-up is a very personal thing – your idea of beauty may not gel with the client’s and that’s okay. It is our job as artists to not only get our vision across, but also to make our client feel her most beautiful *and* comfortable. You have to be creative enough to be able to interpret the trends without becoming a slave to them. And, most of all, you have to have fun! This is just make-up, not brain surgery. It’s not meant to be serious. You have to be open to having new ideas occur and come through – that’s how trends are started and how great artists are made, I think.
Temptalia: Could you share your three beauty tips you could not live without?
Toya: 1) Highlight your cheekbones and brow bones. This gives your skin such radiant beauty. 2) Find the perfect concealer for your needs and skin type/color. Concealer is what makes me presentable on the worst of days. It’ll change your life! 3) Wear blush – every day! It wakes up your face and makes you look fresh and healthy, even when you’re dog tired.
Temptalia: What’s the best part about running your beauty blog AND being a makeup artist?
Toya: Having practical experience on a wide range of women. I think it gives me a unique perspective. I test products, not just on myself, but on other women, so I know what works and what doesn’t.