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Make up your mind to make your success: Julia Davis

SHAUN ARTS Special to the AmNews | 10/26/2011, 6:55 p.m.
Make up your mind to make your success: Julia Davis

Julia Davis, 34, is a Harlem-based professional makeup artist and the first Black person to win an Emmy in the makeup category with her makeup team at ABC's "One Life to Live." She has watched her life grow, from being a new New Yorker in 2004 to becoming an ambitious professional who has applied the lessons she learned in the Big Apple.

Born and raised on the West Side of Chicago, Davis discovered her dream career while playing with her mother's Avon makeup. She was unknowingly learning the combinations of colors and skin tones that would later guide her interests.

"I felt like my whole journey made sense when we won the Emmy for makeup. That was when I really felt like I was accomplished as far as a career in makeup artistry goes," said Davis.

Recalling her first day in New York, Davis told the AmNews, "I was ready to try something new. The sounds, the busy cars, people walking fast, the many cultures, it was all new for me and completely different but in a good way."

"It was rather challenging when I moved here to New York. I was a single parent with dreams and with a kid with dreams, and no family here. People thought I was nuts moving here because I was going after my dreams of becoming a success story and at the same time being a parent."

While in Chicago, Davis did weddings and stage plays and worked at MAC, but when she first moved to New York, "It was very competitive," she said. "I thought working at MAC in Chicago would easily guide me into working at MAC in New York. However, there was a waiting list in New York to work at MAC, so, I had to find a job in retail, which I did not really want to do, but I had to survive.

"I had a chance to learn about the customers. I was able to learn the beat of the city because a lot of people dress off their moods or emotions, and New York is chief in fashion. So, working at these high-end clothing stores kind of made me social and more talkative. Some people are shy when they find a new city or land, especially as big as New York is. I just used the fashion retail sale jobs as a stepping-stone to pave a way towards becoming a makeup artist.

"A lot of clients or actors and actresses talk to their makeup artist about their day and their lives when they take a seat in the makeup chair. I look back at the conversation skills needed to sell retail fashion and how that job built me into a skillful listener when a person takes a seat in my makeup chair."

As for the excitement in her profession, she added, "No matter if I am doing a photo shoot or doing ABC's 'New Year's Rockin' Eve,' I feel like the end result means something to me, something to my name. I am using my skills to continually learn this profession."