I’d like to introduce you to my friend Ashunta Sheriff. She and I worked together at a beauty counter at Henri Bendel in New York City for a couple of years. She’s moved on since then to do huge things throughout her 18-year career. Ashunta has an amazing list of celebrity clientele including, Alicia Keyes and Taraji P. Henson on the Fox network’s raging hit, “Empire,” to name just a few.
Christy Girlington: Ashunta, can you walk me through a normal (if you can call it that) day in your life?
Ashunta Sheriff : A typical day – ha! I wish I knew what that was. However, working on TV we have a call time and I usually arrive 15 minutes before to center myself and grab a juice or something to eat. I set up my station for Taraji and I consult with the show’s costumer to see what she’s wearing for the scene that day. After makeup, we head to set and work a 12-to-14 hour day. Then I head home meditate and go to sleep. It’s pretty regimented working on a TV show, which is different from what I was used to running N.Y.C. streets for fashion shows, clients, ad campaigns, and red carpet events. It was very hectic and now I feel like I have a life, L.O.L.
CG: I know you have two children now, an exciting career, and a huge list of celebrity clientele. How do you balance it all?
AS: I have an amazing support system. My mom is my rock, and while I’m in Chicago she is caring for my kids and I talk to them everyday. I meditate and I stretch which helps with anxiety. I’ve incorporated working out four days a week which really is giving me the energy I need to work these long days
CG: After so many years of being in the beauty and fashion industry, and working with top brands, why did you create your “Perfect Blend” product?
AS: I felt there was a void in the market. I always used two foundations to lift and sculpt both my clients and my own makeup. I also prefer to work with creams because there’s room for blending and quick changes. Perfect Blend is emollient and it’s a semi-matte finish so it looks like gorgeous, glowing skin.
CG: I’m asked all the time what products are in my makeup kit, what three products in your kit can’t you live without?
AS: I can’t live without:
• Perfect Blend Dual Foundation stick
• Dior Exstase Black Mascara
• Kate Sommerville Quench Oil
CG: Knowing the importance of prepping the skin and seeing the magic you create on magazine covers and on television, how do you prep the skin for the iconic “Ashunta Glow”?
AS: My signature glow I would say is I really speak to my clients about the importance of hydration and drinking water. We start there because skin care is inside out. Regarding products I love products from “Skynn by Icelandic,” Kate Sommerville, SK-II, and Dior Skin. Always after finishing makeup use “Model in a Bottle” sensitive skin formula and it gives a wonderful glow to the skin.
CG: As a makeup artist I’m a little over the “social media makeup artists’” tutorials on highlighting and contouring. What is your philosophy on the trend and what advice would you give those artists?
AS: I had issues at first when social media first started, but I admire them now because they truly have no rules to beauty, which is in alignment with my beauty philosophy. I love their use of color because they’re uninhibited. I would say that as an artist whose starting out you should study the artist who have paved the way before you. You should know trends in makeup from the past, period makeup, and study constantly. Being amazing on social media is great however for long-term success more depth is required in terms of knowledge of this business.
CG: Okay, girl. You know I’m obsessed with Taraji and “Empire,” and I must ask you about what it’s like working with her and the cast.
AS: I can’t say too much more then this – I love my “Empire” family! My department head Beverly Jo Pryor is truly an amazing teacher and mentor. They are all amazing and Taraji is a wonderful client, friend, and sister. I feel blessed to be here.
CG: What’s next for Ashunta?
AS: Expanding the Ashunta Sheriff brand moving into the world of YouTube vlogging and doing more teaching. I love giving back to aspiring artist.
For more information on Ashunta check out AshuntaSheriffBeauty.com.
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