If you were to ask her where'd she see herself in 10 years, Jaya Jstar would have never imagined she'd be so heavily involved in makeup. The Baltimore native had been in a singing group and modeling. She'd only been thrusted into the cosmetic craft when the makeup artist for a fashion show she was hosting called out. Her work, however, grabbed the attention of influential people around her city. Opportunities started flowing in and it was a pro bono gig at Gaudenzia, a drug and alcohol treatment program, that became a turning point for her career. Below, Jaya discusses the moment she decided she wanted to pursue makeup, some of her past work experience with celebrities and what's trending in beauty. Check it out:
Aliya Faust: Tell me about the moment you decided this was what you wanted to do.
Jaya JStar: I'll never forget. I was doing this lady's makeup and she turned around and looked at me crying. She was like, 'I've never felt so beautiful before about myself. I just want to get my life together. You've given me so much hope. I just want to get my kids back…' That touched me. I was like if I can touch people like this doing makeup then this must be what God has planned for me to do. So I started to pursue it and here I am.
I actually learned about you via Lil Mo's Instagram page. How'd you begin doing work with her?
I'm not one of the makeup artists who talks about who I work with, so because she's from the [D.C., Maryland, Virginia area] and I'm from the DMV, everyone thinks I got my start from her. But I started out working with a lot of different rappers for videos and a lot of R&B artists. I forgot whose photo shoot it was, but they hired me and she was on set. I was also working on Yandi from VH1's Love and Hiphop and Mo saw my work on her and she was like, 'You do everybody's makeup, you're the bomb, I gotta have you.'
Who are some other celebrities you've worked with?
Yandi Smith, Dirty Money, Danity Kane, Chante Moore, Claudette Ortiz, Kelly Price, Paula Campbell, H-town, Pretty Ricky, Waka Flocka, whole bunch of people.
Do you have a signature style?
Everyone else tells me it's the highlights I do. And the eyebrows. But I don't paint everyone the same. My preference, I like a clean, natural face. A clean glamorous face.
What are three products/brands you recommend for every day use?
I'm a Mac girl. I use Mac cosmetics face and body Mineralize moisturizer for face and body, Mac Studio Fix Fluid foundation and Mac Mineralize Skin Finish.
Jaya on what's trending in beauty:
I love the smokey eye. If you're just starting out, I wouldn't give a dramatic smokey eye. I would give a more natural look. I was first taught how to do it with a cheap eye liner from your typical drug store or hair store. Line it really thickly and just blend it out. There's so many techniques and different ways to do it. You can do a daytime smokey eye, an evening smokey eye, a settle smokey eye, a more dramatic smokey eye…
Personally, I'm not a fan of ombre hair. It doesn't look professional to me. I'm more of a conservative type. I was brought up like, 'too many colors in your head, people won't take you seriously in corporate America.' Now, blonde hair works for certain people. But it's not for everybody.
Pink and dark lipstick
I hate dark lips, but that seems to be the "in" thing right now. I'm a pink girl 24/7.
Follow Jaya Jstar on Twitter and Instagram @jayajstar.
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