I asked a make-up artist why make-up is so important to girls

It empowers whoever wears it, and they do it for themselves, and no one else


From memes about “taking girls to the pool on a first date so you see what they’re like without make-up” to snarky comments calling people “fake” for liking to wear a lot of it, the issues and arguments around make-up are often less based on personal preference and style and more on female empowerment and categorizing women based on how they choose to do their face. It’s always seemed to me that people do not wear make-up for other people – groundbreaking, I know – they wear it for themselves.

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But I’m not an expert. Kelli Smith, on the other hand, is a licensed make-up artist. She’s got over 9,000 followers on Instagram and has been perfecting her craft since her junior year of high school, before attending college at Kean University . Her love of make-up began in childhood at just 10 years old. She seemed the best person to ask on what the big deal was in girls wearing whatever make-up they like.

Why did you decided to become a licensed makeup artist?

I decided to become a licensed makeup artist because I felt it was my calling to help others well as empowered by makeup as it makes me feel.

Is it a tough industry to be in?  Have you ever had high profile/celebrity clients?

It’s a very tough because there’s so much competition and different styles of makeup.  My biggest clients were models around NJ and Manhattan.

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Why do you like makeup?

I like makeup because I feel it’s the best way to express yourself. There are so many different moods and styles that the artistry is  endless. It’s not just 3D art it can change your confidence level from a six to a 10. It’s enhancing your own beauty to feel your best.

What to you think about the stereotypes that people wearing makeup to impress others? What about the stereotype that wearing a lot of makeup is fake?

I think the stereotype that make-up is used to impress others, is as far off as you can get. No one would put so much time, effort, and education into something that is only to impress others. Sure, it’s nice to present our self-expression to other people, but it all comes down to the way it makes someone feel. A lot of people who believe that stereotype don’t understand the art, expression, and skill behind it.

The stereotype that wearing make-up is fake is actually way more far off than makeup being used to impress. If anything, I think someone’s  make-up makes them more real. Take me for example, my natural face is very plain, bland, nothing that has a wow factor. Myself, is someone who is very wild, and loud, and rebellious and I show that in my makeup. The matte face, dark smokey eye, bold, red lips,  represents myself and who I am as a person far much better than wearing nothing at all. People forget makeup isn’t an illusion it’s an enhancement of your own beauty that’s already there.

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What’s the industry like as a community?

I think the make-up community is full of women and men who want to share the confidence and power that makeup has given them with other people which is absolutely beautiful.

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How does make-up make you feel?

Make-up makes me feel like myself. Not in the aspect of ‘I don’t feel beautiful and makeup makes me feel beautiful’, makeup just allows me to represent who I am on the inside and show it on my face. As someone who identifies and is licensed as a make-up artist, make-up makes me who I am.

What would you say to people who are self conscious about make-up?

I would tell people who are self-conscious to do with they like and rock it. If you want to go bold, go bold because you’ll feel bold. If you want to go classy, you’ll feel classy. If you want to look like a rockstar, you will feel like a rockstar. Don’t be self conscious about enhancing the best parts of you and sharing it with the world. ever.

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What are your plans for the future?

I want to use my industry to make a difference. I want to inspire as many females and males as I can with the power of make-up. I want to help anyone who is insecure about their appearance to feel as empowered as I do when they learn to express themselves through the art of makeup. It’s more than just a hobby, it’s my lifestyle.

Make-up isn’t for others.  Make-up is for yourself.  It’s about having fun and feeling good about yourself. It’s empowering.  Never listen to people who say you don’t need  to wear makeup or that you are fake because you wear it.  Wear make-up because you want to and because of how it makes you feel when you wear it.

Fleek the brows and wing that eyeliner.  And don’t let anyone tell you that it doesn’t look good.