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Meet Jamila “Mila” Renee Johnson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jamila “Mila” Renee Johnson

Hi Jamila, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
From a really young age, I gravitated towards anything related to beauty and cosmetics. I loved magazines, makeover shows, and rifling through my mother’s vanity. I’d mix “beauty potions” together and force people to be my “clients.” Sorry family! As I got older, I did makeup on my friends and family for their dates or special events but never considered doing it for a living until 2016. I had the opportunity to do makeup for a designer friend who was being published in a magazine. I felt too nervous and inexperienced, so I’d made the decision to decline. Before I could, my friend Candace, who has always pushed me, told them I’d do it! At the shoot, I knew this is what I was supposed to be doing. I dipped my toes into the beauty industry through retail. I left my family’s business and worked for Ulta Beauty to familiarize myself with products. A few years later, I began working for the Estée Lauder company at MAC Cosmetics. I’m not going to lie, I totally gave out my card and stole clients when my boss wasn’t around! I knew I wanted to strike out on my own. And now I can proudly say I’m going into my third year of being a full-time makeup artist and business owner.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Hell no! Any entrepreneur will tell you that running your own business is never smooth sailing. Makeup artistry is very expensive, so one of the most difficult parts is affording the products, brushes, and equipment needed for quality service. Especially when you’re first starting out. The most challenging obstacle I’ve had to face during the pandemic has been maintaining clientele. With weddings, prom, events, and productions canceled, work has been more sporadic. But I feel blessed with the work that’s come my way. I still had the chance to work on some very cool projects.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
Every makeup artist has their own style. Everything isn’t for everyone. I’m known for what I call “enhancement makeup.” The more trendy term is “soft glam.” My goal is to enhance the features you already have and make them shine. I’m dipping my toe into more edgy editorial looks. I’d love to be featured in a fashion magazine one day. Actually, let’s put it in the universe. I will be! I’m most proud of the energy I exchange when I’m working. Makeup is extremely intimate, I’m only a few inches away from someone’s face, and there’s so much physical touch involved beyond the face (body makeup, tattoo coverup, etc). People really open up in my chair, and I’m honored that my clients treat me like a good girlfriend. What sets me apart is that I look at my job as a ministry. Ministering confidence, self-care, faith, resilience, love, or whatever that person needs. I truly care about my clients and have actually become quite close to a few of them.

We love surprises, fun facts and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
You wouldn’t know it, but while I’m very nice and approachable, I’m actually quite shy and introverted! I’ve just pursued creative careers that would suggest otherwise. As a kid, I really wanted to be a stand-up comedian. I come from a funny family and my father exposed me to comedy at a young age. He owned a night club and gave a lot of well known comedians their first gigs. Stand up is one of, if not THE purest artforms we have left. It’s on my bucket list to do a set one day! And meet the greatest comedian alive, Dave Chapelle.

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Image Credits

J. Vladimir

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