Bronwyn Isaac
September 06, 2017 3:00 pm
Courtesy of Mickey Williams

It’s rare and refreshing to meet someone you immediately connect with. So, when I found myself joking and chatting with the celebrity makeup artist Mickey Williams at a product launch for Eco Tools, I immediately knew I had to interview her. During the course of her career, Williams has worked behind-the-scenes for television and movies, award shows, musical concerts, political events, and various makeup launch events — and she’s still got new sights on the horizon.

Given her wide portfolio and unconventional career path, Williams seemed like an ideal artist to introduce to readers who love all things beauty and crave the inside scoop from a working makeup artist in the industry.

Williams shared how she first started, her love for all things beauty, and that one time she did Anthony Weiner’s makeup.

Courtesy of Mickey Williams

HelloGiggles: How did you first become a makeup artist, was this a path you wanted since childhood?

Mickey Williams: I stole my mom’s makeup and buried it in the backyard as a kid so she couldn’t find it, it was completely crazy. I ate her lipstick before I would give it back to her. My mom said I was too young and that I needed to stop, and it was a love affair for me, I was like, “well if we can’t be together, then I’ll bury the makeup in the backyard.” I’ve always had a relationship with cosmetics and once I realized I could make money doing it, I was on board.

HG: What were some of your first gigs when you started out?

MW: It was really hard, I knew I needed a portfolio in order to get into makeup school and to show that I had artistic aspirations. I really didn’t wanna go into beauty at first, I wanted to do blood and guts and special FX. There really weren’t women doing special FX, so I had to jump between New York and LA, and it was very male dominated — it actually still is. I didn’t make any money, but that helped me later in my career because I knew angles and shadows, what to make bigger, and what to make smaller. I learned how to do all of that from special FX.

HG: What is the next big event you’re working on?

MW: I’ll be working The Emmys. I’ll be doing an Emmy wrap-up because I’m hosting a show now too, so I’ll be doing a wrap-up for an ABC broadcast. I’m also shooting social content that is all over the web.

HG: How did you get into doing makeup for political events? Is there a difference in the feeling and process of working The Emmys and working a United Nations event?

MW: I think the first question that everyone asks is, “who is the most famous celebrity you’ve ever done?” I don’t get mad about it, but my feeling is — celebrities are beautiful or quirky, I’m not taking anything away from their talent, but they’re made to be out there and to look presentable every day. Conversely, some of the people in politics have been affected by horrible things, or they act as huge leaders, those kinds of people are the most riveting to me.

As far as how I got into working political events, I was pretty lucky. I was working for CNN doing daily jobs, whenever I wasn’t working on film or on a shoot. I would work in makeup rooms for news, so I did that off and on for about 12-15 years, and I ended up working with Charlie Rose and he had a lot of those people come through there. That’s how I ended up working with the Clintons.

HG: Who was the politician that left you the most starstruck?

MW: Oh man. Benazir Bhutto, she was Pakistani and she was running for president and her husband was already put away, and she was murdered the next week. She was such a lovely woman. She took her hijab off and she was so stunning and she loved makeup and was such a girly girl. I was so proud of her for everything she was doing, and her husband was so corrupt. When you met this woman, you just knew she was trying to save the world. She was the first woman to run a Democratic government in a Muslim-majority country. She was such an inspiration to so many people.

HG: With the knowledge you’ve learned, would you ever consider going into politics?

MW: Definitely not, they have the hardest job. There are people whose whole job is to position against them and say no. As you know, I have to deal with enough people like that every day. Can you imagine if you were trying to make a difference and someone did that to you every day?

You know what’s hysterical? I did Anthony Weiner’s makeup for his Mayoral bid that first year against Bloomberg. I was working for Bloomberg and said, “I don’t want to do this” and they were like, “he’s never going to win, just make some money.” It was the weirdest scenario, I was at Weiner’s parent’s house doing his makeup while he was surrounded by high-school friends.

HG: What’s your favorite part of being a makeup artist, is it picking the color palettes or is it seeing how people respond after you doll them up?

MW: I think it’s the art. I think everyone feels better when they do a little art. There isn’t fear in it for me, I think a lot of artists get fearful while doing a makeup job because of who the person is. Everyone has always said I have a nice energy, and I can feel that with people. It’s the interaction, really, and when I’ve done someone’s makeup a few times I can be like, “Oh my gosh, look what I’ve found you!” I think it is color, the interaction, and the art.

HG: Do you have any products that you use all the time that you love?

MW: I’m obsessed with Charlotte Tilbury lip colors. They sent them to me and I don’t even use them on anyone else, I’ve just kept them for myself. There’s the Hollywood Lips, which is so velvety and I don’t feel like my lips are peeling at all afterward. I’m using the It Cosmetics Confidence In A Compact, and it’s like a balm that you can easily apply. I put that on when I’m going out to host an event, it has the most beautiful transparency to it, so it looks like your skin but it doesn’t move. Plus, it has SPF.

HG: What are your goals for the future, do you feel like you’re already living the dream?

MW: Definitely not. My biggest goal right now is to become completely, fully versed in social media, because people keep telling me, “you’ve gotta get more followers, you have to learn the game.” So, even after years as a makeup artist with websites and a portfolio, I’ve got a lot to learn. I’ve also got a single-product line coming out soon. It’s going to be something that’s not out there right now, so that’ll happen within the next year.

You can keep up with Williams by following her on Instagram or checking out her website.

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