Starting with a passion for the Theater, Celebrity Makeup Artist Yolonda Frederick-Thompson ended up behind the camera as a force to be reckoned with. While attending Central Methodist University in Missouri majoring in Communications and Theater, Yolonda discovered that her true calling was to be a makeup artist and not her original plan of being a newscaster. “I would have to say the Theater was a big inspiration towards my appreciation for the art of makeup,” she explains. “This is definitely my calling as I love to create and it’s fulfilling to see how my creativity translates.”
She’s a multi-talented entrepreneur with a make-up and image business called Face-Value, Inc. which she launched in 1998. She has co-written screenplays with Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins of the former R&B group TLC and stays very busy with her celebrity clientele, including the likes of Jennifer Hudson, Ciara and Usher. We caught up with her while she was busy working the runway shows for Paris Fashion Week. Find out how she juggles her busy work endeavors, how social media has effected her journey to becoming a celebrity makeup artist and what JHud never leaves home without.
Do you remember your very first shoot or job as a makeup artist? Can you tell us about it?
Yes, of course! My very first job as a makeup artist was at Van Michael Salons, Inc., one of the largest salons in the southern region. I honed my craft there and had some really great experiences during my time in the salon. However in 1998, I stepped out on my own to freelance full time.
You are quite the entrepreneur with many projects and businesses. How do you stay grounded and present in each role?
I treat each new day and each new project as an opportunity to challenge myself to learn and grow. I never feel like I know everything about this business so this keeps me fresh and allows me to appreciate every job, opportunity or new idea that's been presented to me. I am about growth both personally and professionally because, really, they go hand in hand. When I reflect on all that I have accomplished as well as my current endeavors, I never forget how fortunate and blessed I am to get to live my dream. This is why I bring my “A” game to every job.
What do you love most about your job?
I love that each day, each job is different. I get bored easily so the fact that I may wake up in Shanghai, Paris, Los Angeles or NYC on any given day brings an exciting element to what I do from day-to-day!
How has the beauty industry as a celebrity makeup artist changed over the years?
Hmmm...I guess it's less exclusive. There are many more people out there calling themselves celebrity makeup artists. It's easier to get in the door nowadays primarily due to the opportunity for more exposure through social media and the Internet. It's both a good and a bad thing. Good because now talented artists have a bigger platform from which to showcase their work. And bad because, sometimes what you see on the internet is not a true indication of the level of talent and professionalism needed to survive in this business.
Your client, Jennifer Hudson, always looks amazing. Can you divulge any beauty secrets or favorite products that you use on her?
Well, these days Jennifer always says, "I don't go anywhere without my red lip!" So I would have to say we are living for Ruby Woo by MAC lipstick. It gives you that perfect true matte red lip.
What are some of your own beauty secrets on maintaining healthy skin?
Right now I'm really loving Murad's skincare line. I cleanse and hydrate every morning and night. Oh, and my daytime moisturizer always has at least an SPF 15 or higher! But more than that I try to work out, drink lots of water and get my rest.
If we rummaged through your purse, what must-have products would we find??
[laughs] If you looked in my travel bag right now you would find a hodge-podge of random products. I love my travel-size Degree deodorant, L'Oreal True Match makeup in C6, Dr Marc Yune's Formula 13 serum, CVS eye brightener roller pen, Murad moisturizer SPF15, Sally Hansen "Blue Me Away" Nail Color, Finishing Touch Smile teeth whitening pen, and ion Daily Solutions silk drops for my hair.
What’s next for you?
What's next for me is my makeup compact I designed called "Glam Or Ring". I recently had it prototyped and it's amazing! I can't say too much right now but it's super exciting. I've been working on this for some time now and to actually see it happening is a dream come true. I can't wait to share more details. So, be on the lookout for "Glam Or Ring" - it's coming soon...!
Yolonda Frederick-Thompson is repped by crews inc. To view her portfolio, click here.