The Makeup Artist

As a Makeup Artist in Orange County, there are always fabulous opportunities to create art and do what I love.

I was truly honored when Sarah Choi and Susan Hong from I61studio contacted me to do an interview to learn more about my art and inspiration. I would like to thank them personally for doing such a fantastic job on this story.

To learn more about me and my makeup artistry please click here!

Debra of Makeup By Debra

I61studio: How long have you been a makeup artist?
Debra: Officially since 2007. I was certified as a professional makeup artist in 2007 from MUD which is the Make-up Designory up in Burbank.

I61studio: Do you have a signature style?
Debra: I do. A lot of photographers call me based on a very well-blended natural style. Natural is actually a lot harder to do than most make up that you see because there is a lot of makeup but there is also a lot of blending involved.

I61studio: How long have you been interested in makeup?
Debra: Probably my whole life. I’ve always been interested in makeup. Every time I go to the mall, the first thing I do is go to MAC or one of the makeup counters. I would say I’m addicted and obsessed with makeup. It’s been like that my whole entire life since I was a kid.

I61studio: Were you the type of kid that would always get into your mom’s makeup?
Debra: Yes. I have pictures of that too. They bought me for Christmas once – when I was a child— a little makeup kit, and I have pictures with blue eye shadow and red lipstick – it’s so funny!

I61studio: How did your mom typically react to your “experimentation” with her makeup?
Debra: My mom was really cool about it. She would help me and teach me how to put it on. When I was 16, she took me to the Clinique counter to get a little lesson. It was very basic makeup, but it was great because it made me feel a little more confident among all the other high school girls. My mom is actually an artist herself, and so is my dad. So she understood what it is to feel and look good and learn how to do things.

I61studio: What were you doing before your make up artist career?
Debra: I graduated from college with a bachelor degree in business marketing and I worked for different companies such as Gund, which is a teddy bear company. And then I moved on to working for agencies – advertising agencies. I’ve worked on accounts such as Verizon Wireless, Time Warner, Cox Cable.

I61studio: How long were you in the marketing field?
Debra: I would say… probably all together about 10 years.

I61studio: What caused you to go from a well-established marketing career to being a makeup artist?
Debra: To be honest with you, I didn’t really find advertising or marketing that enjoyable. I always had a passion for makeup and I really never thought that this could be a real job until I started looking more into it. Helping people look good and feel good and teaching them how to apply makeup is I feel really important to someone’s life. It’s fabulous – Just to be part of somebody’s learning experience and make them feel and look their very best. I enjoy it a lot.

I61studio: How did you transition into being a full-time makeup artist?
Debra: Well, I actually quit my advertising job and went to school full time. I just left – I went full out. And then once I graduated, I got a job with MAC, and worked with them for a while, as a makeup artist, which was amazing. And then I moved on to Shu Uemura.

I61studio: What was the first large-scale project you did as a professional makeup artist?
Debra: I would say probably a fashion show that I did with Shu Uemora, when I worked with them. I did a fashion show at the Ritz Carlton – it was a charity event. I think that’s what inspired me. That’s when I saw the potential of what I could do with my business and as an artist.

I61studio: What things beside the color of a bride’s wedding dress do you take into account when doing bridal makeup?
Debra: I take everything into account from what’s going on the tables to the colors of the flowers to the bridesmaid dresses to what the groom is wearing … I take everything into consideration because you want that makeup to be flawless and to tie into everything – even the colors of where they’re getting married.

I61studio: Do you have a favorite makeup brand?
Debra: I actually don’t. I just go and I experience and try – I’m always trying new products – and I pick the best out of each line.

I61studio: Is there one celebrity or model you’d love to do makeup for?
Debra: There actually is! I love Holly Madison. She just seems so fun and so nice – I think it would just be a pleasure to do her makeup. She just seems genuinely cool and fun.

I61studio: What do you love most about doing what you do?
Debra: It just doesn’t feel like work – I think that’s the best part of it.


makeup artist
♥ Debra Johnson Makeup Artist Orange County, California

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