Tiyana Robinson

From Broke to Booked
September 23 - Sarah Ashlock

FIRST THOUGHT: Beauty Biz School & Wearable Glam

If you want to be mesmerized, check out Allure’s video featuring a century of makeup trends in just a few minutes. In the 1920s, women would draw their brows very thin and drooping, like a sad, well-groomed clown. By the 1940s, lipstick was the focus, and the 1950s brought winged eyeliner to forefront. Once power suits and leg warmers came around in the 1980s, vibrant eyeshadow was also in full swing. And in the new millennium, we loved shimmery and frosty hues. Going through the history of cosmetics reminds me of how I used to feel in the early days of applying the stuff. It was fun. Today, forget about “needing” to wear makeup and have fun with it. Go outside your comfort zone.


If your winged eyeliner ends up looking like you’re a member of Fight Club, you’re not alone. There’s a reason why experts make a career out of it because it takes serious talent and skill to paint your dang face. Despite what the ‘gram might show you, not every makeup artist works exclusively for a Kardashian. About a quarter of them are self-employed, taking on short-term jobs that last a day or two. Like many freelance careers, it can be feast or famine.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Tiyana Robinson, makeup artist

You don’t have to go to beauty school to learn from some of the best makeup artists in the biz. Instagram and YouTube have revolutionized beauty and I, for one, am here for it. For the professionals, though, there’s a lot to learn after becoming certified. Tiyana Robinson is not only a talented makeup artist but also a beauty educator.

Based in Washington D.C., Tiyana became the talk of the city. Why? Because she created what’s dubbed “wearable glam” for women of color. Other makeup artists weren’t providing red-carpet looks for women of color and Tiyana became a skilled pro at it.

In college, Tiyana was a Division 1 athlete and studying chemistry. Her hope was to be a cosmetic chemist, so she could formulate better products for women of color. She transitioned to political science and psychology before packing up her Honda Civic and taking on a new job at a beauty startup in a new state.

Like everything, Tiyana didn’t become an expert overnight. She spent three years working with influential makeup artists before perfecting her business. And that’s just what being a makeup artist is. Like the stat suggests, makeup artists are often their own accountants, PR firm, social media strategist, administrative assistant and so on.

That’s why Tiyana created an online school specifically for women in this industry. Called Makeup Mogul University, the tagline is genius: “…get your bachelor’s in getting booked, your master’s in being magnetic, and your PhD in getting paid.” Creating the first online business school for makeup artists means Tiyana is paving the way.

From branding to building your niche to setting out a clear vision for your company, Tiyana’s “university” gives women and men the opportunity to grow. One of the most interesting courses is by a lawyer, who gives students the ins and outs of contracts. One former student explained that even though she took the courses for herself, the strategies helped her freelancing husband too.

Beauty may fade but being a mogul like Tiyana is forever.


Michelle Obama said:

“The difference between a broken community and a thriving one is the presence of women who are valued.”

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