By Calynn M. Lawrence

When you think about people who are deemed to be successes in the fashion and beauty industry, you can easily draw famous names such as the photographer Nigel Barker, curvy supermodel Tyra Banks or celebrity hair guru Vidal Sassoon. The list goes on.

But, do you ever think about people in your own realm of everyday life who are making big moves in the industry? Well, you’d better start. I had a chance to interview Makeup maven and fierce fashionista, Naava Ramirez, about her climb to success and her story was quite interesting! Here’s what she had to say.

How did you get your start in fashion and what made you pursue the industry as a career?

I’ve always loved everything style, fashion and beauty. Even with “bad” fashion choices, they make you who you are. They are the foundation for your aesthetic character. When I was younger, I was awarded a full semester scholarship in California to study fashion design. Although I did not jump at that opportunity for personal reasons, I still continued my studies in my hometown and began seeking local industry opportunities.

One of these was plus sized modeling. Although I was a newbie with very little knowledge, I loved the camera and was able to book work while I was in college! An associate of mine, Wil Nor of @photoanomaly, was a new photographer on the scene. His work was hot for him to be so novice to the industry. We partnered on many projects and built our portfolios. This later on led me to get noticed by larger brands, who later offered me work as well. After hanging up my hat as a model, I was offered a job as a model manager by Sugar Plum agency and that was how I started to learn the business end of the fashion-beauty industry!naava ramirez, makeup artist, all my friends are models

Tell us more about how that experience working as a model manager benefitted your career?

Even though I quickly learned that being a model manager was not my calling, I am grateful that I was able to gain that experience. It is a lot of hard work, long hours and heavy responsibility. All of which skills are translatable to entrepreneurship, which I would later on pursue. Things like booking photographers, casting models, interviewing and auditioning, catching 3 a.m. flights and dealing with corporate politics were all valuable skills.

What did you do once you left your role as a Model Manager?

I freelanced and did different projects both the fashion-beauty world and the entertainment world. One of my best experiences was when I worked on Way of War starring Cuba Gooding Jr.  It was a valuable experience because it taught me how to buckle down and push through even when I was at my worst. I got extremely sick during the production yet still managed to do a good job on set!  I was also in school again, and working a retail job at Lane Bryant. So you could imagine that I was under a lot of stress.

How did your past factor into you becoming such a talented make up artist down the line?

Well, working in retail as a stylist and a makeup artist led me to realize that my passion was real. I worked as a Lead Lancome makeup artist and Foundation specialist for a small period then moved to Mickael Kors being a stylist. I had sold $8000 worth of product in one day and was given recognition for such a large sale! I went on to work  lucrative positions in the field such as being a makeup counter manager at high end luxury retailers until I had to leave my career because I had children and had gotten married.

How did you transition back into the industry after having to sacrifice time to raise a family?

It was difficult for me to land high paying employment now that I was a wife and mother because I had to prioritize. My family came first. So, I realized that instead of working for other people, I needed to just start my own business. From there, I became an entrepreneur with my own styling company, Youtube channel and blog as well as branding myself as a freelance makeup artist. My clients have been steadily acrewing and they all recognize my dedication and diligence. My ability to not only dress you, make you up and send you on your way feeling chic and sharp is my secret weapon. My personable skills, craftiness, passion for fashion and business savvy have all played a part in my success in the industry!

What advice would you give to those seeking to get started in the fashion-beauty industry?

To those wanting to get into this industry, don’t ever stop! I say this from experience,long leaves of absence can be detrimental to your career. Months are like years in this industry. If you have the faith the size of a mustard seed along with talent and skill, you will find your path to success and be able to have a part in the industry.

What’s next?

I plan on continuing to grow my business and my social media because that’s where my heart is! I’m working on some other projects Beauty related so keep an eye out! I know that entrepreneurship was the right choice for me because I could have done a million famous faces or dressed a thousand Jessica Biel’s in retail, but it wouldn’t amount to the satisfaction that I obtain from helping the every day people I encounter with my business.

Check out her Youtube & Instagram for more inspiration.

naava ramirez, all my friends are models, makeup artist, beauty