Real Opinions from Real Artists: Monifa Mortis, Should I Go To Makeup School?

There are many roads that lead to becoming a makeup artist, what’s most important to know is that all of them start at lots of different points but essentially lead to the same place. In this series “Real Opinions by Real Artists”, my goal is to share the wealth of knowledge from artists you know and the ones you SHOULD know.

In the year that I have been in New York, I have been exposed to an array of artists and what was most valuable to me is the knowledge that they shared.

The first topic for this series, we’re focusing on the question of makeup school. Has someone ever asked you “So what makeup school did you go to?” and you’re left with an awkward silent pause, or you confidently and boldly say I didn’t go to school with a reply of “oh, nice”

I’ve had several people ask me “Should I go to Makeup School” and because there is no right or wrong answer, I wanted to dig in deeper to help you with this question. Many artists are self taught, but everyone learns differently, a class room setting may or may not be for you..

The first artist I interviewed, is one I am honored to feature on my blog. Monifa Mortis has been a heavyweight in the industry for over 15 years. A fantastic artist, educator and speaker. She is the holder of a Bachelors of Science in Fashion Merchandising where she graduated from of The Laboratory Institute of Merchandising in Manhattan, New York. She has touched the faces of countless celebrities you might know, Alicia Keys, Jill Scott, Queen Latifa to name a few. She has had her work grace the pages of magazines like Marie Claire, Essence, Cosmopolitan. I was blessed enough to hear Monifa Speak on “Finding Your Niche” at Crystal Wrights Packagaing Your Portfolio Workshop. (that’s another post!) I was so moved by what she had to say, it compelled me to share her insight with you.

Monifa Mortis Celebrity Makeup Artist Advice NY makeup artist

Jaleesa: Do you think its important to go to makeup school?

Monifa: It believe it depends on what you are seeking to learn and what is your personal learning style. If you thrive in a classroom environment and need more interactive teaching techniques then perhaps formal training at a makeup school would best suit you. Also, if you are seeking to learn more complex forms of makeup such as airbrush or special effects makeup then a beauty school would provide an advantage.


Jaleesa: Did you go to Makeup School? Why or Why Not?

Monifa: Was it seen as necessary to you? I did not go to makeup school.  I am completely self taught. It was not seen as necessary to me because I was working as a makeup artist and earning income before I even decided to pursue this full time.  My friends liked how I wore my makeup and were willing to pay me to do theirs – voila! A freelance career.   I also have a bachelors in Fashion Marketing, so a lot of my college experience (art history, history of fashion, color theory, fashion design, etc.)  provided me a great foundation to build my career on. I am also a die-hard beauty junkie from way back!

Be sure to follow Monifa on Instagram at @monifamortis. She will also be at The Power of Beauty Trinidad in May, an event all makeup artists in Trinidad should be sure not to miss.

Stay tuned for more of Real Opinions by Real Artists.