How Danessa Myricks "Accidentally" Became a Makeup Artist, Photographer, and Brand Owner

"What was your big break?" It's a question people often ask of celebrities, but at Allure, the beauty professionals and brand founders are the celebrities. In My Beauty Break, we'll dig into the behind-the-scenes details — the money, the aha! moments, and the mistakes — of the biggest brands in the industry. The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Danessa Myricks is your makeup artist's favorite makeup artist. When she launched her namesake brand years ago, her color cosmetics could be found at pro stores — and in the kits of any artist who wanted to create a "look" (and not just the everyday fresh face). Her unconventional products were for unconventional (and striking) makeup. 

All this is quite ironic when you consider that the self-taught Myricks calls herself an "accidental makeup artist."

If we rewind time, her career started as a sales and marketing director for a company that published hair magazines. "I was the corny nerd girl in the corner," she tells Allure. "There was nothing cool or trendy about me at all." She would often see makeup artists come in for shoots and marvel at their vibe and the joy and creativity radiating from them. After some years on the job, the magazine owner announced the company was closing and Myricks had 30 days to figure out what she was going to do next.

"I was 30 at the time," she says, "so it wasn't like I was fresh out of school or anything." But, after a moment of reflection — and a minor freakout over what she would do next — Myricks saw she had the opportunity to follow her passion. That passion was (and still is!) makeup artistry. Thinking back to that time, she says, "I wanted to be excited to wake up every day and be passionate about what I'm doing. Freedom was always something that was this carrot in front of me — just being free with my time, with my lifestyle."

So, Myricks did what any nerd would do — she hit the books to learn all about the ins and outs of makeup artistry. Her former employer's connections would eventually lead her to some of her first (unpaid) gigs, which soon turned into paid ones, which then turned into masterclasses, which eventually led her to start her own brand. 

Fast forward to today, and you can now find Danessa Myricks Beauty on Sephora's shelves.

We spoke to Myricks about her journey, how she built her brand, and some of the challenges she's still facing as a brand owner — ones that she is happy to endure as the architect of what's turning out to be a beautiful legacy.

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