How Falling Into Foundation Gave Me Just That—A Foundation!

It was May 2007. Against my parents’ wishes, I moved to Dearborn, Michigan after completing my Master’s Degree to be with my boo. He was going into his 2nd season with the Detroit Lions and we had been painfully doing the long distance thing for a year. My practical West Indian dad, who already couldn’t understand why I didn’t get a degree in nursing, medicine or law (ya know a “real job”), almost shit himself. My prim and proper mama gagged when she thought about how she “was going to tell people” I moved to be with “ a man”. I promise y’all we laugh about this stuff to this day!


Anyhoo, I went to support my boo and begin a career in broadcasting. In my mind, it made perfect sense — go to a smaller market, work to build my reel, and move whenever he switched teams. But the recession hit, work was nowhere to be found in The Motor City and my pride would not let me just chill at home. I was getting depressed and did not want to hear the “I told you so… You should have…” spiel I was likely to get from my family. Devale, my boyfriend at the time, is always  so good at getting me out of funks with some tough love. He told me point blank that I was in control of my happiness and path and he would be around to support me however. So what else do you do when you’re depressed and dismayed? Your girl took to the mall! I always dipped and dabbled in makeup, so a trip to the MAC store doubled as a therapy session for me. A compliment by an artist this particular day turned into an interview and BAM! Ya girl was a WHOLE makeup artist!

Now listen, I respect the craft. In a time where everyone with a box was a MUA, I really wanted to dive in and learn the technical side of the industry. You know, how to dissect the face and study each part of it. I desired to learn about color theory and undertones, both of which can make or break anyone as an artist. I lacked formal cosmetology training and had no degrees or certificates in the field. What I did have was a knack for it, customer service experience, and that New York hustler mentality. 


I started at MAC Cosmetics as a part-time makeup artist. The thing I loved the most about this company was the hands-on training that I received upon hire. When I tell you, I was in makeup bootcamp — it was just that! The visual learner in me was thriving and I grew more and more comfy. I was like “ SIS?! You really about to bust down this smokey eye real quick WITHOUT that raccoon effect?!” *SHOOK!* 

Truth be told, I was working the counter part time but while there, full time peeping management and how they moved. I was absorbing the business side of things and asked to be exposed to things like the revenue calendar, profit and loss reports, and everything “back office”. Mainly because I wanted to be well-rounded as a team member, grow in rank and salary (mo’ money mo’ money!) and high key, thought about branching off on my own as a freelance artist. After a 2.5 year run in retail, I took a leap of faith and decided to take a bet on myself-- for me, for my family and for my pockets! Never looked back… be continued.

With Love,

Kick it with Kay below! Ever felt stuck in your career path? How did you navigate this stagnancy? Did you take a leap of faith at any point? Let me know where you are today!

Khadeen Ellis26 Comments