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Conversations with the Inspiring Shalisa Smith

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shalisa Smith.

Shalisa, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I have always loved the entertainment and arts industries. I knew, from a young age, that I wanted to work in a fast-paced field that would allow me to express my creativity, as well as work with interesting and influential people.

Once I graduated college with my degree in Public Relations, I couldn’t quite find a job in my hometown that fulfilled my passion and dreams for the future. In this time, I become interested in the beauty industry. I played in makeup a lot during college, and practiced on my dorm-mates and Sorority sisters. This practice turned into strong enthusiasm.

After working briefly at as a salon receptionist and boutique manager in the interim of my PR job search, I was recruited by a manager at my local MAC Counter to work as a makeup artist. My time with MAC allowed me to learn more about the beauty industry, sharpen my skills, advance in certification levels and build a clientele.

Upon parting ways with the company, I built name for myself as one of the more notable makeup artists in the state of Wisconsin. I have been blessed ever since with travel opportunities high profile and celebrity clientele, and a booming bridal business all under my name, Shalisa Elizabeth Artistry.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road to success is never easy. I have learned a lot, and have grown so much since I first started in makeup, 8 years ago. When I started in makeup, it was right before the surge in social media and makeup influence. There was barely a “YouTube,” and no “Instagram.” Back then, makeup artists were successful by skill and by name.

With hard work and a humble attitude, I was able to build my clientele, just by showing how passionate I was about makeup. I practiced, and honed in on my craft, creating a signature look until I was comfortable to call myself a “professional.”

Along the way, I’ve realized that my PR skills have helped to define my business and brand today. My advice to any woman starting a journey in pursuing their passion is to stay passionate. Don’t let anyone define your brand but you. Know what makes you special, and use it. Growth comes in knowing your worth and acting on it. Never settle until your dreams are within reach, Also, do what you love.

I have a lot of people to thank for supporting me along the way, including friends, clients and especially my family. I know that Shalisa Elizabeth Artistry would not be what it is today because of them, as well as the love I have for what I do.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Shalisa Elizabeth Artistry story. Tell us more about the business.
I always view makeup from a more creative perspective, and I use it as a vessel to express my passion for all things GLAMOROUS. Driven by my desire to make the world a little more beautiful, I use my public relations background to create a customized styling experience for my clients. I believe natural beauty can be enhanced using makeup and mastered using trends, but must be individually tailored to effectively compliment a client’s sense of style. No “cookie-cutter” makeup here!

I would say I’m known for chic makeup with a soft touch. I look up to celebrity makeup artists who remain top leaders in the industry for effortless beauty and have modeled my makeup style to follow in their footsteps. I try to remain a chameleon in the industry, and allow my versatility to set me apart as a talent that can work with a wide variety of clients ranging from celebrities to business leaders to your every-day fashionista.

I am most proud of how far I have come as a brand. I’ve gone from having a kit that comprised of a one-bag-setup serving bridal clientele on weekends, to now working for myself full time, traveling the country to work with the most interesting and influential people. I knew that I was beginning to live my dreams when I was hired by Emmy Nominated Actress, Producer and Writer Issa Rae, creator of HBO’s “Insecure.”. She was a personal hero of mine, and to say I have done her makeup is an honor that still cannot believe is mine. My talk with Issa on “taking the professional leap” is what really lit a fire under me to go full force with my business. And I have never looked back ever since!

For good reason, society often focuses more on the problems rather than the opportunities that exist, because the problems need to be solved. However, we’d probably also benefit from looking for and recognizing the opportunities that women are better positioned to capitalize on. Have you discovered such opportunities?
As the queen Beyonce would say, “who run the world, GIRLS!”

This is a motto I live by. Although most industries aren’t set up to benefit women professionally, they are nothing without us. Women continue to break records and barriers by being brilliant, intuitive and strong.

I think that there is no opportunity that a woman can’t handle. By nature, we give life and know how to cultivate it. I love how women take that skill and apply it to their professional endeavors. We literally breathe life into any profession and make it the best it can be.

I see no ceilings for women, we were put on this earth to make thing happen.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Anthony Anderson, Lynn Yati, Jessica Smith, Front Room Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Donna Smith

    September 11, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    WOW! This young lady sounds truly amazing. I can hear her drive, passion and determination for what she does. Love the article!

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