She's perfected the makeup looks for celebrities such as Aretha Franklin, Ava DuVernay, Misty Copeland, Tracee Ellis Ross and Chris Tucker. She helped to launch Queen Latifah's makeup line in 2006 and worked with her for three years. She oversaw the makeup for the Miss USA pageant in 2006. And she's done it all while living in Ellicott City.
Maeion Bryant’s rise as a celebrity makeup artist actually started as a model in her native Seattle in the early 1980s. From there she worked at makeup counters at Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus while taking gigs with advertising agencies and various publications.
"I started enjoying working more behind the scenes," she says.
She moved to Maryland with her husband in 1985, and she quickly built a network in the area, landing celebrity clients primarily through word of mouth.
"Most of my clients are from referrals," the statuesque 60-year-old explains. "That's what happened with Aretha. She was here [Baltimore] in 2011. A friend of mine referred me for the job."
It was also word of mouth that led Covergirl to hire her to oversee the makeup artists for the 2006 Miss America pageant.
“That was interesting,” she says as her head full of box braids bounces with each giggle. “That’s all I can say.”
Procter & Gamble connected her with Queen Latifah the same year to help brand the entertainer's makeup collection. “I was in charge of making sure it was in the public eye,” Bryant recalls.
Three years ago Bryant launched Mobile Beauty Connections, an MTA service bus-sized mobile unit that she brings to everything from sweet 16 birthday parties to weddings. The vehicle, which is equipped with a television and refrigerator, can fit up to eight people.
“It was something that my clients wanted. They thought it would be great for me just to come to their door,” she says.
Five looks to try this season
Though most women request a natural look, Bryant says, “there seems to be no rules when it comes to makeup.”
This fall and winter, she recommends experimenting with retro-inspired eyes, metallic shimmer and even Swarovski crystal accents.
For these five looks, Bryant used the same airbrushed foundation — MAC Prep + Prime 24-hour Extend eye base and contoured with BH Cosmetics Studio Pro Palette. She used MAC concealer under the eyes, and eyebrows were done with I Envy by Kiss all-in-one brow pomade.
Retro eyes and berry matte lips
Inspiration: Actress Tracee Ellis Ross, who Bryant did the makeup for in 2014 for BET.
Getting the look: To perfect the retro look, Bryant created a dramatic cat-eye with Fifty-Fifty liner by Palladio Beauty. Instead of adding false lashes, Bryant opted to use a few strokes of IT Cosmetics Superhero volumizing mascara to achieve fullness. For the bold berry lip, Bryant used MAC Retro matte liquid lipcolour. She began by using a lipliner. She recommends adding the liner layer by layer letting each layer dry before adding the next. “It gives a beautiful matte finish,” she says.
Where to rock it: Showcase this look during daytime events, says Bryant.
Gold metallic eyes
Inspiration: Designers Akris, Jill Stuart and Ulla Johnson.
Bryant created the metallic gold eyes with MAC liquid gold dazzle shadow. She also used “Blinking Brilliant” with “Shimmer Wine” in the crease above the eye. She completed the look by applying MAC Kohl crayon pencil liner along the lash line. For the lips she used MAC’s Retro matte liquid lipcolour in “high drama.”
Where to rock it: A date or a girls’ night out on the town.
Inspiration: New York Fashion Week fall/winter runway looks from Tom Ford and Carolina Herrera.
Getting the look: Bryant used MAC Eye Kohl eyeliner along the lash line and below the inner lash line to shape the eye and create the moody effect. The smoky look was achieved with matte shadow by BeautyCounter in charcoal. She layered MAC Grand Illusion glossy liquid lipcolour in “polar fleece” on top of that. (You can apply a dab of the liquid lip color across the lids with your finger and blend, she advises.)
Because the eye is so bold, use “try again” clear lipgloss from MAC’s Aaliyah Collection.
Where to rock it: An evening special event.
Inspiration: Actress and singer Jennifer Lopez, plus Kate Spade’s fall fashion collection
Getting the look: Bryant used Shadow Beauty Counter palette’s copper color on the lid, espresso color in the crease and eggshell under the brow. (Use sparingly so that the emphasis is on the crystals.)
She applied MAC Hyper Real Glow palette above cheek area and to the center of the nose. For the lips, use MAC’s Retro matte lips liquid lipcolour in “high drama.” Randomly place clear Swarovski crystals and an accent red crystal with lash glue around the lid of the eye.
Where to rock it: A New Year’s Eve party.
Bold ombre eyes
Inspiration: Fall 2018 runway looks from Noon by Noor, Tadashi Shoji and Adam Selman
For this bold ombre color, Bryant used MAC’s Eyeshadow in “chrome yellow” and “new crop.” Apply the yellow eyeshadow to the outer corners of the eye and “new crop” to the inner corners, blending out into the yellow. Bryant recommends that you choose your favorite two matte colors within the same family of hues to personalize the look.
She lined the lip with MAC Liptensity lipstick in “double fudge” and filled with MAC Grand Illusion glossy liquid lipcolour in “polar fleece.”
Where to rock it: A concert or a fashion-related event.