A COMMUNITY CONVERSATION: The Black Makeup Artist Experience

A COMMUNITY CONVERSATION: The Black Makeup Artist Experience

We are beyond honored to offer this very special program! A Community Conversation: The Black Makeup Artist Experience addresses the unique experience of our Black brothers and sisters in makeup artistry. This panel features nine important voices in our industry: Merrell Hollis, Bethany Townes, DeShawn Hatcher, La Sonya Gunter, Marietta Carter-Narcisse, Jessica Williams, Janice Tunnell, Denise Tunnell and Selena Miller.

We are so humbled by the opportunity to present this session and to listen and learn, with gratitude, to these amazing artists sharing their important perspectives. This unique session is available to view for free. | REGISTER TO REWATCH


Merrell Hollis

Merrell Hollis | @merrellhollis

Merrell may be known as a quiet storm in the pro makeup arena but his influence on our perception of beauty is nothing short of astounding. As a make-up artist and grooming expert, his creativity has catalogued mediums, models, innovators, celebrities and legends alike. His hands have effortlessly molded the images of an entirely new pop civilization of music, culture and the new black elite. His indomitable standard is precise but he disarms you with his smile, leaving imprints that have opened the doors to lasting relations.

Merrell is well known for his work with celebrity clients including Jennifer Hudson, Wendy Williams, Naomi Campbell, Diane Von Furstenberg and Kim Cattrall along with the talent at Sean Combs Bad Boy Entertainment. His cosmetic expertise has been shared with Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight and the CBS Early Show. Editorially, his artistry has graced the pages of Vogue, Harper's, Bazaar, InStyle, Vanity Fair, Essence, GQ, Details, Interview, Rolling Stone, People and Men's health. His work had also appeared in music videos for Sean 'P.Diddy' Coombs, Mary J Blige, Nelly, Usher, Faith Evans and Ludacris.

Throughout the decade, Merrell's consultancy within the beauty industry has allowed alliances with the leaders of Clinique, Bobbi Brown, MAC, Lancome and Versace. His work also appears on product packaging for L'Oreal Paris and Soft Sheen Carson in addition to also being on display in the company's advertising. He believes that good skin is foundation for great make up. Merrell is also a member of the American Cancer Society's advisory board. He feels that it is duty as a man to help uplift and support the needs of people of color and his community.

Bethany Townes

Bethany Townes | @bethanytownes

Bethany's fascination with the art of makeup began in 2006 with a small part-time job at a cosmetic counter. Never could she have imagined experiencing such an immediate connection to something as simple as applying mascara or rouging a cheek, or that it could evolve into her life’s passion and current full time career.

Quickly her part time job became her full time obsession, and after only a short time working at the counter and freelancing part time throughout city she realized there was nothing else she would rather be doing. Taking a huge leap of faith in 2010, she made the big move from her established government management career in Baltimore to pursue her new found purpose in New York City.

Maintaining the same curiosity and excitement that brought her to NYC, she is constantly motivated by the ever-changing trends and needs of the industry. By taking pointers from her time served as an Army medic, Bethany uses her professionalism, selfless service, and calming bedside manner to provide an amazing experience for every client. With a signature style of timeless beauty with touches of elegance and glamour, Bethany has become a highly sought after talent in the industry.

With the constant growth of the industry and the opportunity to share her talent at every corner, she now has her hand in several aspects of the industry including; television, music, commercial advertisement, brand representation, runway fashion, teaching large groups or even one on one lessons, and no matter how big or small the job Bethany still says “living your dream truly doesn’t feel like work at all!”

Deshawn Hatcher

DeShawn Hatcher | @deshawnhatcher

DeShawn's work can go from abstract edgy, to a quiet elegance, to super clean with a pop of color. Her obsession for you to see a beautiful model/woman and not the amount of makeup is what drives her skills.

Her work has been featured in Elle, Vogue (MX), Redbook, Zink, Runners World (cover), Harper's Bazaar, WWD. Clients: Rocawear, Nixie Cosmetics, Cotton Corporation, MasterCard, Boost Mobile, Panasonic and celebrities: Beyonce, Tom Cruise, Vanessa Williams, Gaboray Sidibie, Anette Benning, Cynthia Rowley as well as her work for fashions shows for Tory Burch, Tommy Hilfiger, Philip Lim, & Christian Siriano. DeShawn has taken her skills to the tents and has been Key/Lead Artists for several Fashion and runway shows in NYC. She has taken her business skills along with her makeup and become a beauty director for major corporations fashion events, as well as, a Guinness Book World Record holder as the Beauty Director for Cotton's Inc., 24 Hour Runway.

She has been creative director for Nixie Cosmetic Fall Beauty Ad Campaign and artistic director for editorial shoots. When not working in fashion you can also find DeShawn's work on TV shows from E! to NBC. As of 2019 you can find her work on HBO's Documentary The Apollo.

She is a sought after speaker and educator for top industry events, and a columnist for two national beauty publications along with her blog DeShawnLovesMakeup. There she share's industry help to her fellow artists 100k and growing. You can watch DeShawn on her Youtube channel 200K+ views, where she shares more business then beauty information for her fellow fabulous makeup artists.

As of 2019, DeShawn has collaborated with Graftobian Makeup, one of the leading industries professional makeup lines for TV/Film and Beauty. With Graftobian DeShawn created the industry's first internationally best selling Multicultural Foundation Palette for People of Color "INCLUSION."She is the author of Assisting Rules! The Ultimate Guide to Assisting Makeup Artists and Hairstylists in Beauty, Fashion & Print, sold all over the world.

Lasonya Gunter

La Sonya Gunter | @lasonyagunter

La Sonya didn’t initially set out to be a makeup artist. In fact, the makeup department lead on HBO Max’s Legendary discovered her craft while still a singer-songwriter, transfixed by the transformative nature of a well-made-up face.

Honing her talents while working with M.A.C. Cosmetics, Gunter found a bridge between her two passions, becoming Billy Porter’s makeup artist during his Tony Award-winning run in Kinky Boots, and later, part of the Emmy-nominated team on NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, where Gunter helped craft the look of Brandon Victor Dixon’s Judas Iscariot.

A favorite of Porter’s, Gunter’s gifted hands are also behind some of the gender-fluid style icon’s most memorable looks, including his appearances at the 2019 Tonys, the Love Ball and his Diana Ross-inspired look for the Season 2 finale of Pose. And who could forget Porter’s show-stopping 2019 Met Gala entrance, carried onto the pink carpet as a gilded Egyptian Sun God?

Marietta Carter-Narcisse

Marietta Carter-Narcisee | @mariettacn

Marietta is an internationally renowned educator, and veteran celebrity makeup artist with a passion for sharing beauty that’s apparent in everything she does - whether she’s standing with a color palette in hand, brush poised before a famous face ready to be made up, or lecturing before a classroom, training a whole new generation of makeup artists.

Carter-Narcisse launched her career as an assistant wardrobe stylist to her younger brother, during The Commodores’ 1983 European Tour. Through him, she met and toured with Natalie Cole as her image consultant and personal assistant. This led to a string of hit music videos, commercials, television shows and a successful career as one of the most sought-after makeup artists in motion pictures. She has amassed an extensive list of film credits that include John Singleton's BET project Rebel, Lifetime Television’s remake of Beaches and Lifetime's 2015 movie Whitney, Sparkle, Baby Boy, Eve’s Bayou, Tina: What’s Love Got to Do With It?, Malcolm X, Boyz ‘N The Hood, Ghost,and numerous others.

She holds a Master of Science Degree in Higher Education and current cosmetology licenses in both California and Florida. She is a voting member of the prestigious Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a member of the Make-Up Artists & Hairstylists Branch Executive Board, a member of the Make-Up Artists & Hairstylists Guild I.A.T.S.E Local 706 – and a master educator for Make Up For Ever's Film & Television Academy at Cite du Cinema in Saint Denis, France. Carter-Narcisse has also authored two books pertaining to the film and television industry--The little Brown Book - Buzzwords & Lingo - TV, FILM, PRINT, RETAIL and The Official Film & Television Weekly Planner, now in its sixth year of publication.

In 2016 she received Best Contemporary Makeup Nomination: Whitney for Mini Series (MOW) Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Local 706 and was honored by Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC) for her contribution to Makeup & Hairstyling for Film and Television. In 2014, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Barbados Music, Fashion & Film Awards. Carter-Narcisse was also featured on WPLG Chanel 10 “Holiday Makeup Looks”, and “Oscar Winners Always Thank The Academy But Who is The Academy?”. She has also participated in tributes remembering the late Whitney Houston on south Florida’s channels 2, 4, 6 and 10, Ebony, Allure and Essence Magazines, The South Florida Sun Sentinel, On Makeup Magazine, Makeup Artist Magazine.

Passionate about film making and giving back, Carter-Narcisse has lent her hand to the budding film industry in Barbados by consulting, producing, training and doing makeup and costumes with local Barbadian film makers Alison Saunders’s Panama Dreams; and Marcia Weekes’s Chrissy, Vigilante – The Crossing and Errol Barrow: Freedom Fighter. Most recently, she produced the soon-to-be-released Step by Step Productions’ feature, Joseph: A quest for Identity.

Jessica Williams

Jessica Williams | @jessica_theartist

Jessica is a professional Makeup Artist with 25 years in the television/film, theater, and entertainment industry. She is the Key Makeup Artist for NBC’s Chicago P.D. and Assistant Makeup Supervisor for the Broadway musical Wicked. Her work includes Chi-raq, Southside with You, Empire Season One, and assisted on Chicago Fire and Chicago Med.

Jessica is the co-owner of Last Looks Chicago, LLC., a career and economic development initiative that creates a pipeline of next generation industry professionals (Makeup Artists, Hair Stylists, and Barbers) for the film, television, and theater industry. Her e-book, “It’s Makeup, Not Rocket Science” is a step by step “how to” on makeup application and skin care.

Jessica created Work Behind the Scenes, an online webinar course designed for makeup and hair creatives who want to work in television/film and theater. She made it her mission to train the next generation of makeup and hairstylists on set etiquette and help increase their chance to work on production sets.

As a firm believer in giving back to the community, Jessica uses her craft by doing makeup for Reel Beauty, a not-for-profit organization for inner city teens. She also speaks to incarcerated young women and spearheads hygiene collection drives for women’s shelters.

Janice Tunnell

Janice Tunnell | @janicetunnell

Janice is ushering in a new day in the world of beauty. A celebrated makeup artist, Janice is leveling the playing field for women of color to achieve their highest level of beauty with an arsenal of beautiful color palettes and the coveted knowledge of how-to use them. Tunnell's background spans many facets of entertainment including film, television, print and videos and she is bringing her tricks of the trade to the world for everyone to enjoy.

Janice's goal, as a makeup artist, is to teach her clients how to achieve their greatest level of beauty through knowing their skin well enough to select the best shades and understanding application techniques to achieve a stunning and flawless look. As a makeup artist to the stars of film and television, Janice consults with clients whose livelihood hinges on their looks. She boasts an impressive list of film credits including, The Wedding Crashers, National Treasure, XXX 2: State of The Union, The Gospel, Step Up I & II, The Visiting, Stomp the Yard I & II, The Notebook, and more. Tunnell's experience in television includes high profile programs such as The Grammy Awards, The Stellar Awards, The Preakness Stakes for ESPN, The NBA All Star Games, BET, MTV, VH1, HBO as well as several noted commercials.

Her clients include Carmello Anthony, Brandy, Destiny’s Child, Kerry Washington, Laz Alonso, Yolanda Adams, Dan Marino,Gabrielle Union, Idris Elba, Kmart, Nike, NAACP, Budweiser, and Brand Jordan, just to name a few. She also has assisted some of the greatest makeup artists in the industry, including, Reggie Wells, Oprah Winfrey’s personal artist. When asked why so many film studios and celebrities trust her expertise, she explains "For me giving advice and helping people is the most joyous thing in the world. When I'm called to do a job, I do it with perfection, but what I like to do is leave my clients with the knowledge of how to do it for them selves in everyday life. I make clients 'beauty experts' in their own right."

Janice Tunnell earned a degree in Accounting & Business Management from North Carolina State University and studied makeup at Von Lee School of Aesthetics. She honed her skills working with various cosmetic lines such as Bobbi Brown, Tony & Tina, and Smashbox Cosmetics. She also has offered her masterful skills at several New York and LA Fashion Week events. Janice along with her sister produce and host, Beauty Talk, an online radio show and web series, that both seeks to inspire, educate, and uplift.

Denise Tunnell

Denise Tunnell | @denisetunnell

Denise is raising the bar in the world of beauty. An accomplished makeup artist and aesthetician, whose expertise is grounded in the science of healthy skin, is leading the movement for women of color to empower themselves with the basis of true beauty, the best and most flawless skin they can personally achieve.

Tunnell's goal, is to help all women reach the epitome of their natural beauty with consistent proper skin care, which minimizes the need for makeup as a "cover-up". She says, "All women are beautiful, but some have trouble identifying the best way to take care of their skin, my philosophy is when you tap into the beauty within, it creates a natural glow that is so gorgeous you only need a touch of makeup to enhance it. That may sound strange as a makeup artist, encouraging clients to use minimal make up, but my dream is that all women will discover their highest level of beauty and that is only possible with great skin care."

As a makeup artist to the stars of film, television and popular music, Denise consults with clients whose livelihood hinges on their looks. She's worked with artist such as Terrence Howard, Taraji Henson, Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon, Boris Kodjoe, Breckin Myer, Tichina Arnold, Lonette McKee, Columbus Short, Chris Brown, TI, Vivica A. Fox, Josh Henderson, Meagan Goode, Kathy Najimy and Tess Harper to name a few. She has worked with NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox News Affiliates and boasts impressive film credits including No Good Deed, Fast & Furious, Insurgent, Stomp The Yard, Addicted, ATL, Big Fish, Idlewild, The Fighting Temptations and Hustle & Flow. When asked why so many film studios trust her expertise, Tunnell explains "When you see a film, the actors are magnified 1000 times larger than life on that screen. What I do with skin care, makeup choice, as well as techniques of application, is to create the look of flawless skin and everybody wants that look. The good news is I teach clients how to achieve that look everyday."

Denise Tunnell earned a degree in Accounting & Business Management from North Carolina State University and studied skin care at The International School of Skin and Nail Care in Atlanta. She honed her skills freelancing with cosmetic lines such as MAC, Bobbi Brown, Paula Dorf, and Giorgio Armani. Denise currently writes for her beauty blog 'Beauty Talk' as well as other publications.

Selena Miller

Selena Miller | @4444miller

Selena is a professional makeup artist, over 25 years, she has applied makeup and worked with, on some of the most famous film, tv, music and entertainment stars in the world.

Her bookings have allowed her to create looks in every entertainment medium, from feature films, music videos, soap opera’s, stage, theater, print, commercials, magazines and tv shows.

You have seen her makeup artistry on major film stars, rock stars, and celebrities such as: Johnny Depp, Celine Dion, Leonardo DiCaprio, Woody Harrelson, Jessica Chastain, Elizabeth Hurley, Shaquille O’Neal, Wesley Snipes, Winona Ryder, Damon Wayans, Mariska Hargitay, Tiger Woods, Laura Linney, Brandon Frasier, Julia Ormond, Justina Machado, Daniel Henney, Kelly Ripa, just to name a few.

Being a professional makeup artist is just one of her many talents, she is also an, eyelash extension technician, licensed skin care expert, licensed nail tech, a certified fashion and color consultant.

Selena also teaches makeup artistry, color analysis, eyelash extensions certifications, runway, fantasy, glamour, period, character, film, high def, TV, prints, stage and a makeup career consultant.


For more information about this program or to register to rewatch please contact kenya@thepowdergroup.com