By Margarita Hirapetian
Makeup artist Samantha Mcdaniel thrives on stretching the limits of makeup. Take a look at her Instagram page, and you’ll see a variety of truly amazing creations that are like nothing you’ve ever encountered. Many people might think makeup begins and ends with eyeliner and shadow, blush and lipstick, but Samantha proves exactly how far makeup can go by adding unexpected details like gold flakes and lace or rosettes and pearls. The result is something that grabs you and doesn’t let go, forcing you to take a longer and closer look, and ensuring you won’t forget it anytime soon. In short, Samantha’s art stays with you.
From an early age, Samantha always felt drawn to art, loving “the idea of creating something out of nothing.” Ultimately, her love for art evolved into a love of makeup. But she didn’t truly start immersing herself in the world of makeup until she was asked to model for a student at the Blush School of Makeup a few years ago. As she recalls, “I walked in and saw all of these models with various different styles of makeup. Some of the different styles of makeup were airbrushing and painting, and it had me mesmerized. I originally was going to school under the guise of a criminal justice major, but knew I was in the wrong place. I was just in complete disbelief that one could go to school practicing makeup all day. So I immediately switched schools and enrolled at the Blush School of Makeup, and my journey as a makeup artist has only flourished since.” Changing educational plans can be daunting and scary, but clearly Samantha made the right choice.
Still, although she loved it and was eager to get started, she had to accustom herself to this new world. She explains, “When I first started practicing makeup, I just winged it. I knew nothing about what was going on my face or how to do it. I didn’t know I had to clean my brushes, or that makeup even expired. When I started going to school full time at Blush School of Makeup, I was shocked to see how much prep and work go into painting your face. I thought that since I used to paint all the time, I knew what to do, but boy was I wrong.” Despite this, Samantha continued to practice and learn every day, trying out better techniques and learning to leave her comfort zone. She admits, “Don’t get me wrong, I am still learning. There are things that I am still not confident doing, but that’s the whole point. There will always be room for improvement and learning, and I love seeing the progress being made.” Wise words. And no doubt it’s this perspective that has helped her go so far in her chosen sphere. Any artist worth her salt knows that she has to keep powering through challenges and roadblocks to emerge on the other, successful side. For example, here’s some invaluable advice she’d give any aspiring artist: “Don’t give up, and keep trying your ideas. It doesn’t matter how elaborate, how difficult, you just have to stick it out. Makeup is about expression. There aren’t rules surrounding what you can and can’t do, and you should exploit that to its fullest. And that’s the best thing about working with makeup. Don’t like it? Wash up and start again.”
Samantha has obviously been following her own advice. Although she had to work for free a few times in the beginning, it ultimately paid off big time. She recalls, “I worked my several first jobs for free and got my name out there, and I exploded. My phone and DMs are blowing up every day. And that’s just testament to how hard work and never giving up goes.” From humble beginnings to gratifying success, Samantha has had quite the journey, and it pretty much comes down to not only hard work and tenacity, but also a dose of courage. As she so rightly puts it, “You can’t be afraid to talk to people and ask. Because if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”
Of course being lauded and in-demand is extremely satisfying, but there’s something else that really makes it all worthwhile for Samantha, “I love making people feel beautiful and confident. Being able to help with someone’s self-esteem and helping them feel confident is just an indescribable feeling. I love the opportunity to work on individuals that don’t regularly wear makeup all the time. Watching them watch me transform them is always a precious moment. Hearing the audible gasps and them saying “wow” is why I love working with makeup. And everyone deserves to have that “wow” moment.”
Samantha’s art itself is a “wow” moment every time. Her work with lace (which also happens to be one of her most beloved creations) is absolutely brilliant, proving that her imagination definitely goes outside the box, or makeup palette, if you will. We can’t wait to see what she comes up with as she continues to create. And as she looks to the future, her main goal is to be able to create full-time, “Whether it is as a freelancer for fashion shows, a photographer, or just helping out teens with their prom makeup. I want to be able to practice what I love, and if I’m able to secure a job doing that, I’ll be happy.”
Don’t forget to check out more of Samantha’s work on her Instagram @samanthamcdanielmua, and prepare to be thoroughly impressed!