• Corynne Corbett

Mimi Kamara: Why She Took a Step Back to Move Forward & Working With Celeb Clients and Beauty Retail

Updated: Jan 14

Makeup artist and Educator Mimi Kamara went to college intending to be a psychologist. Before she graduated, she decided to take her love of makeup and decided to make it her profession. And she succeeded. On this episode, Mimi shares her career ups and downs and the lessons she's learned along the way.

She was so determined to work in the beauty industry that when she presented her makeup portfolio to the store manager at the MAC outpost in SoHo and was told that the only thing available was a cashier position, she gladly took it. She explains how working at several MAC stores was like going to school. But it was also akin to "Showtime at the Apollo," where your talent matters. She started her freelance makeup career because one of her clients saw something in her. And it grew from there because each satisfied customer referred someone else. That is how she came to work with Keke Palmer, among others. Along the way, she quietly assisted a well-known makeup artist to hone her skills even further.

Mimi explains what she learned from working in beauty retail, why she continued to do that work even while becoming known as a celebrity makeup artist. She thought about things like health insurance and 401ks as she made her decisions. "I stay in my own lane because the traffic is better." But even though she excelled at her work as a store manager at a luxury beauty retailer, she also had to deal with microaggressions and other unconscious biases. The social justice reckoning inspired her to speak up at her then company.

Now that she has set out on her own, Mimi is determined to carve out her career on her terms. She explains that it was important for her to be real with herself and cut out the noise to discover what she really wants. If you want the real deal about being in the makeup game, this is the interview for you!

Follow Mimi on Instagram @mimikamara.

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