Who is Sir John? The world may know him as Beyonce’s makeup artist, which is indeed #FACTS, but to me he is so much more! I had the pleasure of speaking with him about his career and just positive life lessons. He is not just a man standing with makeup brushes and eye shadow palettes. He is the guy who is responsible for allowing Queen Bee to slay on all of her projects for the past 7 or 8 years. Sir John is a motivational speaker and an inspiration to everyone around the world. If you are wondering what made me change his title to a motivational speaker it’s simple, just read my interview with him below. Before you read the interview let me do a recap on how I was able to connect with Sir John.
I am constantly on social media at least 2-3 hours out of my day looking for another opportunity or event to attend #BLOGGERLIFE. Sir John actually was at the top of my feed that day because he did an Instastory. I quickly slid in his DM’s like a groupie LOL. I’m totally kidding! I sent him a professional message and he responded and said he would do an interview with me. He gave me his managers contact information and the interview was set up for January 18th, 2018 at 6:00P.M.
I wanted to share how this interview happened in order to keep you encouraged. No matter who you are or where you are in your career anything is possible. The funny thing is the day of our interview I didn’t even have a voice recorder in order to record our phone conversation. I literally had to use the library resource managers phone just to record the interview. Always remember anything you want in life can happen if you just take the necessary steps in order for it to manifest. Imagine if I was too afraid to send Sir John a direct message my readers would have never had the chance to read this interview. It would still be just a thought in my head that never blossomed. This year I want all of my readers to go for what you want and let nothing hinder you. So what if you don’t have all of the resources you need. God will supply your source if you just allow him to lead and guide you. I want to end this post with one of my favorite scriptures from the bible. 1 Corinthians 12:7 New International Version (NIV) “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” I hope my interview with Sir John inspires you and fuels your passion to reach for success. I wish you many blessings to come.
Until Next Time,
My Exclusive Interview with Sir John
C.Y.C.- Where are you originally from and how old are you?
S.J.- I’m from Buffalo, New York and for my age let’s just say I’m a 80’s baby.
C.Y.C.- How did you begin your makeup career?
S.J.- I went to school for art history. I have literally been painting my whole life since I was 6 or 7 years old. Basically makeup came to me by mistake and it was easy. Makeup wasn’t something that I sought out, it found me. My first job was at MAC cosmetics. It organically happened I needed a job and someone knew I could paint. Then I transferred to New York with MAC when I was 20 years old and the rest of it just kinda rolled into play.
C.Y.C.- How did you actually start doing celebrity makeup?
S.J.- That’s a big difference. When I was around 24 or 25 I started assisting other makeup artist. I quit makeup when I was 23 and I started doing the windows for Barney’s, Bergdorf, and Gucci in New York. Then I met a friend of mine who was Pat McGrath’s assistant at the time. He was like ” Hey man you should meet this lady, her name is Pat and I think that you would really like to work with her.” I finally met Pat and she needed an assistant. I got hired as her assistant and I became one of many. I had a trial period and I did one show and she liked it. She asked me not long after to go to Italy to work with her at the Italian shows. I met her in Italy and I really didn’t have any money to get there or a place to stay, but I made it work.
Then shortly after I met Charlotte Tilbury. Charlotte was my mentor for a while and she still is to this day. I started doing celebrity makeup when I was 28. I noticed that celebrities like to select people from the fashion industry because they have an eye of refinement. They know what they are doing, so they don’t have to train you. From there the rest was history.
C.Y.C.- How did you become a L’Oreal Brand Ambassador?
S.J.- L’Oreal came about in 2014. At this point I had already had 2 tours down with Beyonce and some other projects. They called me and I actually interviewed for it 5 or 6 times and then I got the job. It was a multi-year contract and it’s been great.
C.Y.C.- What are the next steps for your career? Where do you see yourself five years from now?
S.J.- I will have my own products. I will be doing the same thing that I’m doing now, just less day to day makeup for people. The most successful people always push back the finish line. When you get to a place where you are like OMG this is where I wanted to be five years ago and you realize you are there, you just have to keep going. Keep pushing back the finish line for yourself. When you do great things other opportunities will come to you and the universe will meet you half way. That search for newness that you begin to seek will always reward you with more.
C.Y.C.- What has been your biggest challenge being a makeup artist so far?
S.J.- People marginalize you and try to put you into a box. They will say things like “Oh you are just a makeup artist” but I do so much more, or “Oh your a black guy so you can only do black people’s makeup”. I work on everyone sometimes I work on caucasians better than caucasian makeup artist. The biggest challenge outside of that is working for yourself when you are just starting out. You are not guaranteed a paycheck every two weeks, health insurance, or just a client everyday. You just have to have faith. You must have faith in your product. The product is your hand and the way that you make people feel.
C.Y.C.- What made you want to start teaching master classes? I see you have one coming up in Charlotte, N.C.
S.J.- The Charlotte class came about because I have a cousin who has a successful salon in N.C. so that’s the reason I’m doing that class. I want to keep it in the family and promote my cousin’s business. I have done master classes all over the world. I have done one in Dubai, Sydney Australia, Iceland, and I’m going to Amsterdam in March. What excites me is not so much domestic but international classes. I want to work with all women and address all women’s concerns around the world and not just in a smaller territory. Classes also increase brand awareness.
C.Y.C.- Your industry is so competitive and grueling so how do you stay grounded?
S.J.- I don’t believe in competition. I feel like competition is a theory that we shouldn’t even teach our children. I don’t believe it’s good to make children compete against anyone because really the only person you should be in competition with is yourself. The only thing I’m trying to do is be better than I was last year. It’s hard to top yourself if you are only competing with the man in the mirror. It is also a gift and a curse because being competitive with yourself can drive you insane if things are not going as planned. I put a ton of pressure on myself in my 20’s. Just remember to constantly realign your goals and take small steps toward them. I’m really secure in what I have. No one can do what I do! When I say that I’m not coming from a place of arrogance because I can’t do what they do LOL. I own my space and it’s really about reclaiming your time.
C.Y.C.- I want to talk about the Lemonade visual album. Beyonce was so beautiful what was your inspiration behind some of the looks?
S.J.- Honestly for Lemonade the inspiration wasn’t about anything. Going into a project with anybody you want to shine. I wanted to do something that was glamorous and beautiful. I wanted to have something that everyone would want to recreate, but the music wasn’t like that. It is a different time. We are walking into a different place in society culturally. The atmosphere is changing as you know. The music was a since of being woke and understanding a woman’s process and a cultural revolution that was starting to happen. It wasn’t about glam lashes and pink blush as much as it was about just making her soul come out. I wanted to give her architectural contours and matte skin. I wanted her to look effortlessly timeless. For me, I was like is this going to be boring? Just that minimalism made a emotional connection with her viewers that will resonate today and 10 years from now.
C.Y.C.- Who is your hero?
S.J.- My hero is my mom. She was a single mother who sacrificed it all. She completely gave up her life to make sure her two little boys had everything they needed. We were well dressed and well fed. My mother believed in nourishing the dreamers mind. By her not killing my dream is the reason I am here today.
C.Y.C.- What’s a makeup trend that you want to see go away?
S.J.- I’m tired of looking at people highlighting the tip of their nose. It looks greasy. I never understood how this became a trend. Next I would have to say women who wear heavy foundation. When women have too much foundation on and it no longer looks like skin, then I’m just looking at product. When someone walks up to you like that you no longer see them, you see foundation and not their complexion.
C.Y.C.- What 3 makeup products should every woman have in her makeup bag?
S.J.- 1. A black or a brown waterproof eyeliner.
2. A matte blush to contour your cheekbones.
3. A tinted moisturizer or a foundation to match your complexion. I recommend one foundation for summer and one for winter.
C.Y.C.- What advice do you have for MUA’s starting out?
S.J.- Assist other people and start with someone you really love. You can’t effectively lead until you can follow. So many people in our social media age they don’t want to follow anyone, but knowledge is to be shared. Find someone you like and figure out how you can make yourself useful. Don’t just ask for something. You have to appeal to someone’s self interest. Just asking for something willingly you will never get it. By appealing to something they don’t have, or by fulfilling a need in their area then you will always be useful.
C.Y.C.- I always end my interviews with a quote, so what is a quote that you live by?
S.J.- ” No does not apply to me.” I don’t believe in no. If someone tells me no it just means that I can’t do whatever I want with that person. If it’s really within my soul and on my heart then I’m going to do it. No one is going to tell me no. I am going to find a way to get it done. Just because they can’t see your vision doesn’t mean it’s not there. The dream wasn’t given to them. You can’t see wifi but you know it’s there! Someone has to have the vision. Don’t allow anyone to knock your vision.
C.Y.C.- Amen to your quote. You just blessed my soul and made my entire day. I live by that quote everyday as well. I feel like we are kindred spirits.