It's crazy how life works. Ever since I interviewed Jackee last September, we have become good friends. We had even discussed moving to New York together. We were both inspired and determined to make it to the city by the summertime but we were both unsure of exactly what we were going to do. We decided to pause the idea for the time being. Fast forward to August, after everything that happened I decided I needed to follow through with my plan and disappear to New York for a month. I bought a plane ticket, rented a loft in Brooklyn and left. Two days after settling in, I noticed Jackee posted a Snapchat story in geotagged in Manhattan. Turns out she had bought her ticket and moved that same week, living just a few blocks away from me.
Either of us barely knew anyone in the city, so it was comforting to see a familiar face with a mirroring soul. She helped me find peace in my one month getaway and I helped ease the transition of her move. We were sitting on my roof one night talking about life, overlooking the Manhattan skyline and she said, "Look at this, we're here. We said we'd do it and we did it. No matter what happened, we did what we said we'd do. We have to remind ourselves to give ourselves credit. We have to remind ourselves to be thankful."
Jackee's drive and positivity always inspires me. She's a constant reminder that whether you're a successful creative freelancer or you're still paying your dues, if you're doing what you love to do, keep going. One of the most powerful and fulfilling things in life is knowing you’re being true to yourself. And if you’re positively influencing others along the way, more power to you.
Read her interview:
I met Jackee almost three years ago when she was working at MAC. It wasn’t one of my happiest birthdays, but she did my makeup, made me feel glamourous, confident and beautiful as ever. I really needed that, that day. Ultimately, I loved her energy, both as an artist and as a human being, so we stayed in touch. It’s been so inspiring to watch Jackee grow since then – from hustling at MAC to hustling as an evergrowing freelance makeup artist, working on photoshoots, music videos, movie sets, just as focused and motivated as ever. I interviewed her last September:
What inspired you to leave MAC and focus on freelancing?
Basically, the money and just the lifestyle, I guess. The lifestyle of being my own boss and not having to answer to anybody. I don’t have to clock in. I can say “yes” or “no.” I can live my life how I want to live it. I feel like the money is a lot better. It caters more to the life I want to live as far as being my own boss and not being under anybody. I still have a long way to go obviously, I don’t have my own company yet.
What’s your favorite part of being a makeup artist?
Making people feel good. A lot of people, surprisingly even the most beautiful people that many look up to, a lot of them are not comfortable without makeup. Makeup is a big part of the entertainment industry.. People walk in with their heads facing down and when they leave they have their head held up high because, you know, it’s kind of a security blanket. Not that it should be, not that I promote only feeling beautiful with makeup, I don’t. I don’t think that that’s true. But I love to make people feel good.. I love that people trust me. A lot of the times I’ll ask, “What kind of look do you want?” They’re like, “I trust you, just do what you wanna do.” Then I feel good, because I think, “Okay, they know that no matter what I do, they’re gonna feel good and feel comfortable.” I feel like I get to be creative, I get to let out a lot through my art. I’m an artist. It’s basically like painting a canvas; my canvases are peoples’ faces.
That’s an important point – It’s not only about the makeup, but the confidence?
Yes, women should really be confident in what they wear. For example, there could be a girl that can get away with blue lipstick and then there’ll be another girl that thinks she can’t get away with blue lipstick. So automatically, you are what you think; You think you look crazy, so you probably look crazy. But if you go out and you rock the shit out of that blue lipstick, nobody can tell you nothing. I’ve gone out with black lipstick and I felt like it was normal. Obviously some people thought, “Whoa she’s crazy” but I mean, being creative has no boundaries, being yourself has no boundaries. I feel like as long as you’re comfortable and you’re confident, you can really get away with any lipstick, any look.. It all depends on what you like. As long as you’re comfortable and confident. People will dig that shit.
Amen. On that note, was there ever a time you weren’t as confident about your career as you are now? Was there ever a time you wanted to give up?
I don’t think that there’s ever been a time I’ve wanted to give up. I think that I’m a tough person, I’ve been through a lot, so giving up is really not an option for me. I just think that being a freelancer, it is hard, but it has to do a lot with faith and living off faith and just knowing “I’m gonna be okay.” I have bills, I have things to attend to, I have a roof over my head that nobody pays for but me, I want my parents to be proud of me, I don’t want to ask for help, so in that sense, I know that I have to grind. I know that I have to hustle. I feel like it’s good to just know that you’re gonna be okay. You know there’s been months where I didn’t have a lot of money, or I didn’t make as much money as I wanted to, or I felt like I could have done better, but it didn’t stop me from being extra great the next month that came around. It’s always going to be challenging. You’re always going to have your ups, you’re always going to have your downs, but in the end it’s always worth it because you’re doing what you want to do, what you love to do. I could have easily gotten a 9-5 at Mac. Realistically, I’ve been freelancing for MAC for 3 years, so me getting a [full-time] position, I don’t feel like would have been that hard. You know, it was my dream for a while to work at MAC but I’ve accomplished that dream, and I feel like now it’s time to dream bigger. I feel like you should never stick with the same dream, just because you reach one goal, you shouldn’t stay there. You should expand, you should grow, and you should always want more for your life.
What are your dreams now?
Professionally – I want to open a Makeup Academy where it’s very small and secrete, only maybe take 10 students at a time, to where they’re getting the knowledge that they want, they’re getting the time. I definitely do want to do something like that eventually. I have so far to go, but I’ve come a long way.
Careerwise – I want to be well-known and inspirational. I want women to know that they’re beautiful either way [with or without makeup]. A lot of women struggle with that, being self-conscious, not wanting to be themselves, not wanting to open up. I definitely want to be a positive influence. If I can do that through makeup somehow; I’m still trying to figure out what I can do and how I can incorporate it, but I have faith, so that will take me further than anything else will.