When I first came across makeup artist Patrice Williams' model mayhem page (model mayhem is a premier casting and networking website for professional models, photographers, makeup artists, stylists, designers and digital artists) what stood out to me wasn’t her amazing portfolio full of an array of beauty but it was a quote in her about me section. “I truly believe that we all have someone flawless on the inside of us and when we can transform the outside to match the inside, then we become a ball of beautiful POWER.” Shop 4 Play would like to present our Inside Out Series where we focus on creatives who not only inspire people with their work but they inspire people through their work.
S4P: On your website http://patricewilliamsmua.squarespace.com/ you state that your love for beauty runs deeper than your love for making people look absolutely gorgeous. How did your love for beauty start?
PW: I was at a time in my life where I was involved with a network marketing company with the person that I was dating at the time. As our relationship started to go south, my business started to go south because I was so focused on making sure that the relationship stood strong, that I neglected my business. Because I felt like everything in my life was just going downhill, I started hating myself and the way I looked and the way I acted, and more importantly, the way that I felt. I was falling into a rut and a depression that I couldn’t dig myself out of. When I left the house, I would put on makeup because I believed that if I could convince my eyes that I was beautiful, I could convince my soul that I was. And because of the nature of the relationship that I was in, doing my makeup was also the only time where I truly felt that I was catering to myself and doing what I wanted without concern of what another person wanted me to be and how they wanted me to look. Because I felt independent and I had so much free will to do whatever I wanted, I knew that beauty was going to transform my life.
S4P: How has your artistry transformed from the beginning stages to now?
I actually still feel like my artistry is in the beginning stages. I’m constantly learning how to clean up or perfect or enhance different looks. What I can say, however, is that my artistry was very… CHUNKY and THICK when I first started. I did dramatic thick brows all the time on everyone and a super bold, winged out liner and eyeshadow. When I first started, that’s what I did on myself, so that’s all I knew how to do on other people. Now, I am cleaner with my work and more controlled. Of course, if a client wants drama, they’ll get drama, but I’ve softened my hand since starting.
S4P: On your website you also spoke about your artistry journey. What advice would you give someone on the same path?
PW: I recommend practicing on as many people as you can and don’t be afraid to photograph and post your work. The first face I did was HORRIBLE (in my opinion), but I was able to compare that same face to my work now and the transformation and growth let me know that I’m not where I want to be, but I’m also not where I used to be.
I would also say, don’t be discouraged or afraid to take free work. I’ve gotten most of my paid work from someone who saw a face that I did for free.
S4P: You are based in Pottstown Pennsylvania correct? That is a suburb of Philadelphia. How do you think the makeup industry differs from a suburb like Pottstown to a big city like New York?
PW: Pottstown, Pennsylvania is a suburb that’s actually about an hour outside of Philadelphia. Because Pottstown is such a small town, there’s not much of an “industry” here. The only local product that we can easily obtain comes from drugstores. If you want a taste of the industry trends, then there’s some traveling that needs to happen to stores like Ulta, Sephora, MAC, etc. New York is a melting pot with fresh, raw, and updated industry trends, far from Pottstown.
S4P: Do you believe that a MUA can have an amazing career without living in a major city?
PW: With the help of social media, I absolutely believe that MUAs can have great careers without living in New York, Chicago, LA, or even Philadelphia. You just have to be willing to travel to those major cities for client work or just to network.
S4P: Your instagram @patricewilliamsmua is composed of your work of your clients, but you also do makeup on yourself. How different is it doing makeup on others vs doing makeup on yourself?
PW: Oh my goodness, it’s completely different. You know every dip and crevice and curve on your face, so you automatically know how to hold different brushes to achieve desired looks on your face. The challenging part of doing makeup on yourself is when you are testing looks that you’re not familiar with, but since you know your own face, half the battle is already won. When doing makeup on someone else, you’re going into foreign land. You have to hold your brushes differently. Their crease won’t be your crease. Their cheekbones won’t be prominent where your cheekbones are. Their lips may not be as full or shaped like yours. This makes it very different, but also very beautiful at the same time. I could be wearing the same look as a client, but it will look different between us because we have different face structures.
S4P: “If I lived off of compliments, I would die off of criticism. Don’t depend on the opposite sex to tell you that you’re beautiful, you have to believe it for YOURSELF!!!” That is a quote off of one of your photos on your instagram page. How do you hope to inspire other women to be confident in their own skin?
PW: I hope to inspire women to be confident in their own skin not necessarily by putting makeup on their face, but by the conversation and the message that can be on my heart for that particular person. Many women that come to me are moms that don’t have time to apply makeup or women that never thought they actually could wear makeup. Because confidence comes from the inside out, I like to take the time (when I’m applying makeup) to just talk… to get to know the person and learn what brought them into my chair. Many times, the reason that they want to look beautiful stems far deeper than the event that they are going to on that particular day or night. I don’t think it’s by coincidence that I work with the clients I work with. I believe that God chose me to give women encouragement through conversation first (so their inner self can feel beautiful). Then, when they look in the mirror and see physical beauty, transformation happens. When spiritual and physical beauty sync, that’s when confidence is ignited.
S4P: As of recent a few models have spoken out about the lack of diversity in the fashion industry. In particular model Nykhor Paul who interviewed with the Huffington Post on her views of the industry (http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/10/27/nykhor-paul-model-black-beauty-angry-black-woman_n_8357268.html). Do you feel that there is a lack of diversity in the industry?
PW: I believe that there is a lack of diversity in the industry, but I also believe that the industry is taking steps to bridge that gap. Of course, when I go to a store to buy shades for African American clients or even for myself, there’s a wider array of Caucasian-catered shades than there are African American friendly shades. What I wish the industry would understand is that if there can be five, ten, or fifteen shades of “ivory”, there can also be the same amount of “ebony” shades available. African Americans aren’t born in two shades.
But like I said, there are strides that are taking place. For example, I was interested in the Too Faced Born This Way foundation when it first came out, but they only came out with a handful of shades and they didn’t have a color in my shade (and I’m of a relatively lighter African American complexion), but I just saw that they are rolling out new, darker shades, which I think is awesome. I also have to give honorable mention to brands such as MAC, Makeup Forever, and Lancome for having such a wide variety of shades. So the potential for a full shift is there and I think we will see it to pass sooner rather than later.
S4P: Paul believes that if the influential people at the top speak up that the industry could change. What do you think the industry needs to cause change?
PW: I don’t full disagree with Paul. But, I do believe in the power of those that are also at the bottom (consumers). I think that if there is more consumer support (from all races) towards those brands that can cater to all women, those at the top will have no choice but to get in line with that the supported brands are doing. So, we have to be careful not to look at the people at the “top” as gatekeepers. We have power as consumers because our money and our marketing and our support keeps them successful.
S4P: Do you believe that beauty has a particular face that defines it?
No way! And I say “no way” because we all have different face structures and skin tones. What may be physically beautiful to or on someone else, may not be physically attractive to or on me. Also, I don’t believe that beauty is defined by the face. It’s defined by the spirit. The face is just a bonus.
S4P: How would you define beauty?
PW: I would define beauty as an outward display of inward elevation.
People don’t care to take care of themselves physically or spiritually because something good died in them and something evil rose up and let them know that there’s no hope for confidence for them. It pains me when I hear women, or even men, say that they don’t care how they look… EVER. Taking pride in your appearance is not a superficial act. It’s a declaration from your spiritual man to your physical man that says “I’m totally fleeked-out (yes, I said fleek – I had to at least once) on the inside, so outside, I command you to LINE UP!”.
S4P: You have a diverse clientele. As a black MUA do you feel like you have to set yourself apart from everyone else?
PW: As a black MUA specifically, I want to make sure that those who are interested in becoming clients of mine know that I’m not just skilled on African American faces, but I can cater to ALL races. I try to set myself apart from other black MUAs by making sure that I have a balanced clientele and that I advertise the balance in my work.
Now, as an MUA alone, I feel that I have to set myself apart by what I bring to the table as a person, rather than just as a makeup artist. Because the industry is so, so, so saturated with makeup artists, it’s important for me to leave my clients not only looking better, but feeling better than before they sat in my chair. If they feel better because they look better, that’s great. But it’s my goal for me to ignite and bless your spirit man (self), not just your physical man.
Stay Tuned... for more with makeup artist Patrice Williams. In Part II learn what "Natural Glam" means and what fall trends go well with a vampy lip!
Know someone that inspires you and should be featured in our Inside Out Series? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag them on our instagram account @shop_4play.