Celebrity makeup artist career

From the Experts

Meet the Global Beauty Instructors: Merrell Hollis

Celebrity makeup artist Merrell Hollis is one of the new instructors to QC Makeup Academy. As an instructor of the Global Beauty Workshop, Merrell takes you through a variety of techniques and looks for deeper skin tones.

Merell is the Makeup Artist of TV Host Wendy Williams, and grooming consultant and makeup artist for all the artists at Sean Combs’ Bad Boy Entertainment. His work has been featured in numerous avenues including Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone and more! His work has also appeared in music videos for Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Nelly, Usher, and on dozens of other celebrities.


Watch the video below to learn about Merrell and his amazing career as a professional makeup artist!


What sparked the passion of makeup artistry in you?

Watching my mom get ready for work. I would stay at home by myself, and when she would leave I would play with her makeup. I was always fascinated with whatever women did to make a man look at them more.

How I got into the makeup industry is a tricky situation – I had a best friend who was doing a video in Atlanta for this group, 112. They were my favorite music artist group. She told me that she was going to Atlanta to be in a video, in about 1995. I was 16-17 at the time. My mom went to work, I dropped her off, took the car, and drove both of us to Atlanta. I was parking the car and tried to figure out how I was going to get on set. The only thing that I can truly remember is thinking about how I’ve heard in movies “Makeup!” – so I thought I’d be a makeup artist.

I went and bought a little $5 set of brushes, and I snuck on set. The security guard didn’t even check me, he just let me go. I went in and was walking all throughout the hotel. Someone alerted Maurice Beaman, my mentor at the time, that there was this little young boy walking around on set pretending to be the makeup artist.

He told me that they were ready to call the police after he found me. He told me that I had to work for him for free and that’s the only way that I would be able to get out of this trouble. So, I ended up working with him all day, learning all the ins and outs, got to meet 112, and all these celebrities.

Right before I was going to go home, he took my number. He pretty much taught me everything I know. He’s who showed me into the industry.

One time, he was overbooked, so I ended up doing 112 – they were my first celebrity group to date.

He truly taught me everything – time, client-artist relationships, etiquette, set etiquette like how you interact with your peers, being friendly to every single person on set, from the grip to the cleaning person, everyone is completely equal. He would bring in cakes, pies and sweets to all the crew members and joke with them – and that’s how I’ve always been.

Learn more about Merrell’s career as a makeup artist and find out what you’ll learn in the Global Beauty Workshop!

Katie is a blog writer for QC Makeup Academy, where she provides advice to makeup artists and stylists. Katie's tips and career insights range from networking to creating exciting initiatives for new businesses.

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