Trinidadian-Born Makeup Artist Jaleesa Jaikaran Shares How She Broke Into the Beauty Industry, Her Advice for Aspiring Artists and the Makeup Product She Can’t Live WithoutJune 12, 2020
How did you get into makeup? Tell us about your journey.
I was helping with the organization of a fashion show in Trinidad and they kept asking me to walk in the show. After much resistance, I gave in and was told I needed to buy my own foundation. I was pissed about that. My view at that time was that foundation was heavy and cakey. I bought the foundation, though, and immediately fell in love. I started buying new makeup when I got paid and would practice every Sunday by watching videos and researching everything I could find. [During] this discovery phase is when I started my YouTube channel.
I eventually decided to take a makeup class, but I never actually finished the course. I didn't know I had a natural knack for it. After a year of assisting my coach on jobs, I started booking my own shoots and eventually started working for MAC Cosmetics. I spent a year and a half in Trinidad and travelled with the brand as a product specialist before realizing I wanted to move to NYC. I interviewed and moved with the brand in 2013. I stayed with the brand for a little over three years and started assisting more established artists part-time, most notably, Kabuki. I became the first assistant and did Fashion Week and ad campaigns. Now, I have been freelance full-time for the past few years working in fashion and beauty while also creating content around my love for makeup.