By editor-in-chief Shawn Chavis
Keisha Willis is not your average makeup artist. Her specialty: clean, beautiful makeup. Her objective: To make skin ‘glow.’ This talented former model provides makeup and hair styling for celebrities & VIPs, photo shoots, runway, film, television and several other projects. Keisha has worked with several celebrities and VIPs such as Judge Glenda Hatchett, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Chip Wade- HGTV, Paul Wharton, Isis(ANTM cycle 6), and Sandra( ANTM cycle 12). Her work has been featured on BET, FOX 5 News, TV One, HGTV, magazines and runways. With all of her accolades and achievements, I found Keisha to be very down-to-earth and I was so pleased to have had the pleasure of speaking with Keisha about her passion for beauty.
BM: Hello Keisha, we are thrilled to be speaking with you today. Please share with us how you got started as a Makeup Artist?
KW: Thanks for this opportunity Shawn. I love your magazine. I started in this makeup world originally as a model. I received some training on makeup from my former agency so I put those skills to use during fashion shows that didn’t have a glam squad backstage. Several of the other models would ask me to do their makeup too. I should have charged them…LOL. When I stopped modeling I wasn’t ready to leave the whole industry so I started doing makeup and it grew from there.
BM: Your career sounds so interesting and exciting. What types of special projects are you currently working on?
KW: Wow, I have a few things in the hopper, I am contemplating opening up a makeup studio in a shopping center with a partner; I’m also about to start working on a new magazine with one of the hottest photographers in the DC area- Jazzy Productions. I just finished doing a Barbie inspired shoot with them earlier this month- that was fun! I also have video shoot next month with a great new group- Da Coop.
BM: With all of your projects putting such high demand on your professional time, how are you able to achieve work-life balance?
KW: Ha, is there such a thing? All of the lines are blurred right now. What I’ve done is incorporated my family into my work life. My daughter assists me on several shoots and I run all of my major business decisions through my husband to get his input. He’s so supportive and pushes me to greater heights.
BM: Who would you say has inspired you during your career? How has this affected your growth as an artist?
KW: I think my first MUA I fell in love with is Kevin Aucoin, whose book I still have entitled “Making Faces.” Others that have inpsired me are Sam Fine, Billy B., KJB. I really, really love Mally Roncal, I just smile when I say her name; not only is she extrememly talented but she has a wonderfully infectious personality; so bubbly and she dresses so cute- I really don’t like the all black thing all the time…I want to add some life into this world, just like Mally! Taking classes and reading Crystal Wright’s book “Hair, Makeup and Fashion Styling Career Guide” was so eye opening.
BM: If you could work with one ‘dream client’ who would it be and why?
KW: Do I have to pick just one? I have a list…Ummm well if I had to pick one I would say Michello Obama. Her style and grace is unmatched. It would be an honor to work with her.
BM: What are your favorite three “must haves” currently in your makeup bag and why?
KW: Well, I LOVE my Urban Decay eye shadow pallet- the colores are amazine and so well pigmented; another would be my Smashbox highlighter(I’m sorry I don’t know the exact name of it but it is in a circular container)- this highlighter is amazing! I love highlighting and this stuff catches the light so awesomely. And lastly, I’d have to say my Graftobain foundation pallet…I love this stuff! Can I squeeze in my Q-tips? I so need those to clean up those smaller areas.
BM: Wow! Love it! Your makeup bag sounds like a lot of fun. Keisha, it was such a pleasure learning about you and how your business inspires women through beauty. We wish you the best in all that you do.
KW: Thanks again for interviewing me Shawn, I’m always honored when someone takes an interest in my work- I put my heart into it.