I’m so excited & honored that I was selected as Orange County’s Featured Makeup Artist in ALTER Magazine! They asked me so many great questions. Here is the full interview:
Debra Johnson for ALTER Magazine
Okay let’s get some basic questions out of the way; how did you get started with makeup artistry and hairstyling?
I was working in the corporate world and needed a change. I’ve always been obsessed with makeup, even as a kid. I decided to follow my passion of makeup and attend the Fashion Makeup Artistry Program at Makeup Designory (MUD) in Burbank. From there I worked for MAC Cosmetics, Shu Uemura, and then branched out on my own with full-time freelance work. I just love it!
Do you have a specialty or niche that screams Debra Johnson?
Amongst those that I have worked with, I’m most often complimented on natural, clean, well blended makeup, and the ability to work quickly.
Are there any favorite or must-have products you recommend to your readers and fans?
Favorites: I love using a fan brush for applying mascara; it coats the lashes just perfectly.
Must haves: MAC Blacktrack Fluidline Eyeliner, Shu Uemura eyelash curler, and Ben Nye Final Seal.
Recommendation: Every girl needs a great red and also a nude lipstick to complete their makeup bag.
What is your favorite part of the job? Least-favorite?
Favorite: Being creative, meeting new people, sharing my knowledge to aspiring makeup artists and others through workshops, being part of a bride’s day, working with a network of amazing talent, and when clients say “I love it”!
Least-favorite: I have no complaints; I work for myself and love what I do!
You have already done so much as an MUA, what haven’t you done yet as a MUA, but would like to?
I’d like to do makeup for a feature film. That would be amazing!
If you could see your work published in any magazine, which would that be?
Who or what do you draw most of your inspiration from?
I always browse the latest beauty/fashion magazines to keep up on current trends. When working with clients, I typically pull inspiration from their natural beauty and go from there.
If you could land a celebrity client for the rest of the year, who would it be and why?
Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Beckinsale, Mila Kunis, Kate Moss, Miranda Kerr, Beyonce, Amanda Seyfried, Angelina Jolie, Keira Knightley, Cameron Diaz, Elle Fanning…do I really have to choose just one? I’d pick Victoria’s Secret Model Miranda Kerr. I think working with an “Angel” would be fun! Doing makeup for red carpet events, photoshoots in-studio and at the beach, commercials, and fashion shows would be a great variety.
How do you deal with clients who show you a magazine and say, “Make me look this!”
When discussing a particular look with a client, I start off by asking what they like about the look. If the client doesn’t have comparable features as the person in the photo, I explain the differences. Then I create a similar look that works for them.
If you were stranded on a deserted island and could bring any 4 things for personal use/survival/entertainment, what would it be?
Moisturizer with SPF, mascara, black nail polish, swiss army knife
Do you have any funny or interesting work-related stories you’d like to share?
While working at Shu Uemura, I had the opportunity to apply false lashes on Lady Gaga. She was dressed in a cute hoodie that was placed over her head, sweatpants, short hair, and had huge sunglasses on. She was with her mom and two body guards. I wasn’t certain it was her until she handed me her credit card to pay for the lashes and no…it didn’t say Lady Gaga.
Please share a favorite quote or mantra that you try to live by:
Do what you love and the rest will follow!
Blend, blend, blend!
Any special message you would like to share with our readers at ALTER
I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me through out the years with my makeup artistry career. Also a special thanks to my husband, Scott Johnson, also an artist, who inspired me to take the leap and follow my dream of becoming a Professional Makeup Artist.
♥ Debra Johnson Makeup Artist Orange County, California
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