I’m new to the makeup scene; mascara and a defined eyebrow is about as far as I will go, sometimes I’ll dabble into blush and it looked great (I think). Flawless skin, vibrant lips, Bambi lashes and mesmerizing eye shadow has always intrigued me, but I’m a bit of a Plain Jane in that department so I admire from afar; quelling my inner makeup siren. Watching the pros armed with their makeup belts, fluffy brushes, with a gentle, yet precise hand is fascinating! So how do they do it? What does it take to be a makeup pro? Emmy Award winning makeup artist, Julia Davis speaks of her journey to becoming the magnificent makeup whiz she is today and discusses her new makeup line-Julia Jovone.
Julia is a Chicago native that has a deep history in the makeup world. She received a prestigious accolade in 2009, a Daytime Emmy for her work on One Life To Live, she has worked on Law & Order, photo shoots for Vibe, OK and Ebony Magazine and currently does makeup for ABC’s newest show The Chew. Did I mention she has dolled up Tika Sumpter’s face? A mother of 3 boys (yes with all of her girly glamour), Julia’s path to becoming a renowned makeup artist wasn’t easy, but faith and her strong will to follow her dreams has kept her going. Read on for the exclusive interview below.
eclechick: I read that you’re a Chicago native, currently residing and working in New York. What made you move from Chicago to New York?
Julia: I visited New York and fell in love, it felt like home. I was doing makeup on the side back home, while working an office job in Chicago. I had a love hate relationship with my job. I had gotten really popular with doing makeup in Chicago but I wanted to step it up; television, fashion, theater…you know? I told my mom that I made a plan and in March 2004 I was leaving; and that’s what I did. I came to New York with my son, no family and just one friend. Leaving behind an office job, for a retail job (I left an office job to work retail.laughs). But I was where I wanted to be and I was happy. I stepped out on faith.
eclechick: That’s amazing, especially the fact that you stepped out on faith. I know a lot of people that want to do something, but their faith just isn’t strong enough to actually take the plunge and do it. You made your plan and went through with it.
Julia: Thank you. I’m so happy and so blessed and so grateful. There are so many people out there that want to do things. They question their thoughts. You have to give it all to God. It’s not easy to do now, it takes time. I left my job, a beautiful 2-bedroom apartment and moved into one room in Brooklyn with a roommate; I’ve never done anything like that in my life. I had those days when I thought, “Oh my goodness. What’s going to happen tomorrow.” But I never wanted to go back home… That’s how my journey took off.
eclechick: How did you get into makeup?
Julia: At around 8 or 9 years old, I would play around in my mom’s Avon samplers. She always ordered Avon and she would receive samples, so I would play in it all of the time. I would always look at my mom and say, “Wow, Mom you’re just so beautiful.” She had an office job and she would go to work looking beautiful. When I got into my teenage years, I would do my girlfriends’ makeup before we’d go out skating and to house parties. I then realized that after doing their makeup, I didn’t have a lot of time to do my own, so I told them (I was kind of upset), “I’m going to start charging you $10.” They happily paid me $10 (I was thinking it was too much).
eclechick: Your friends obviously loved your artistry, which is a huge indicator that you were a natural. Did you attend a makeup school?
Julia: Well it started out as trial and error, my girlfriends’ were my canvases. I would look at Vogue and other fashion magazines, but Essence was my all-time favorite. I looked up to Susan Taylor, I called her Auntie Suzie *chuckle*. But no, I didn’t attend a school, I worked for MAC and attended some of their makeup classes and eventually visited New York where I learned additional makeup techniques from Diana Ross’s makeup artist from the 80′s. After that I took more classes in order to become certified.
eclechick: When did you discover that you wanted to have your own makeup line?
Julia: It was in 2000, when I visited the school in New York. I wanted to have my own line, because as I said previously, I love playing in makeup, it’s my passion. Why not play in your own stuff?! I had been exploring colors but not really pushing myself, I’m a person that takes my time with everything. Between 2000 to 2010 I was working on my dream. In 2010 my grandmother passed away and she had asked me to do her funeral, as I said before I’m not a planner, I always felt like I wasn’t good at planning anything. But my grandmother called on me, so I did it. Everyone loved what I did, it was beautiful. I knew then, that I could do it. I changed the name to Julia Jovone in July 2010 (her first name was Julia and my middle name is Jovone), I wanted to have her in it too.
eclechick: Wow! That push drove you to step out of your comfort zone and really produce. When can we expect to see the line and what does it consist of?
Julia: It was supposed to launch last year, but I’m not in this business to make money. Of course, eventually I will, but it’s my passion, I want to take my time with it. I’m doing this because this is my other baby. I’m taking my time to enjoy it and perfect it. It means a lot to me, not for popularity but because I love this! Right now it consists of products for eyes and lips (lip glosses, lipsticks eye shadows), building up to foundations and powders. Right now my main focus is the eyes and lips. As a woman, your main focal point, the sexiest part of ALL women are our eyes and lips.
eclechick: Yes, take your time, make sure it’s perfect. I’ve noticed that people that are actually doing what they love to do and are very passionate about what they’re doing are not doing it for the popularity, people will see that. It all comes full circle.
Julia: Right and that’s what I want, I want people to know me, experience the line; my passion.
eclechick: Is your makeup line geared towards women of color?
Julia: My line is for everyone; it’s for the darkest of the berries to the lightest of the peaches or pears. *laughs* It’s for everyone!
eclechick: I’ll definitely be looking for the lip glosses! I’m ready for the Julia Jovone debut. There are a couple of questions from eclechick readers that they wanted to ask you. The first question comes from Dewaynia. For television should the makeup be more dramatic or less dramatic?
Julia: It depends on the scene, the character, the storyline. Doing television and film, you have to know the story and character. However, when you are doing live shows, for instance, a talk show, a lot of the shows are shot in HD. You may have to apply a little heavier than usual, especially if you have flaws, you want to be able to cover that up.
eclechick: Charmaine asks for Beginner Makeup Tips. How can she achieve a simple, polished look?
Julia: Ok. I’m going to call her look, a basic, classic look. Not overboard, just polished. Use a tinted moisturizer, a good concealer, you can use powder (but you don’t have to), mascara (don’t leave the house without mascara) and a tinted balm. There you have it! This is perfect for someone that doesn’t wear makeup all of the time.
eclechick: Is there anything you’d like to say to people that want to go after their dreams or step out on faith? Words of wisdom.
Julia: “Love yourself enough to be able to meet yourself. Be prepared to encounter a new you. Love yourself deeply and honestly… Trust yourself.” If you don’t believe in yourself or love yourself; how do you expect for someone else to?