Karen M. Julkes talks overcoming colorism and how makeup artistry empowers her

Karen M. Julkes talks overcoming colorism and how makeup artistry empowers her
Karen M. Julkes

What inspired you to become a makeup artist?

Actually, my inspiration initially came from a place of insecurity. I was teased as a young girl about being dark-skinned and I had a speech impediment. As a teen, I began to play in makeup to feel pretty. I never felt pretty like the other girls, so makeup allowed me to mask the real me. But as I matured, I realized that me being unattractive was very much so a lie. So instead of makeup being a coverup, it became a way for me to be creative. And then in my late 20s, I realized I could use this as way to build up other women that may have dealt with the same challenges as myself. I wanted to make them feel beautiful but talk to them and encourage them to love themselves beyond the makeup!

What special skill does one need to pursue this line of work?

I would have to say faith, patience, and excellent people and networking skills, and the ability to reinvent yourself, and the desire to always learn more. There is no actual licensing required to be a makeup artist. However, I do encourage anyone pursuing this as a career to also obtain an esthetics license. Having the license will educate you on skin, add value to you and credibility. It will also keep you from being limited to just make up services. You can always take classes to perfect this gift, but these five components are what will carry you beyond your gift. Faith in God and what He’s equipped you with, patience while you’re building your business, one minute you’re hot and then you’re not, the ability to draw people to you and fearless when it comes to telling others about what you do, while supporting their cause, being able to acknowledge when it time to step it up, and ever learning new trends and what your guests want.

What makes your services so unique?

My services are unique because I want each person to have an “experience” with me. I no longer refer to my clientele as clients. If you come to me, you are my guest and it’s all about you. I deliver world-class service by listening to your needs, genuinely being appreciative of your business, and putting a whole lot of love and care into the services being rendered. I want my guests to feel relaxed, loved, and welcome every time.

At what point did you realize that you actually had the talent to pursue the field as a professional?

I realized my gift after I took a basic makeup class at London Eyes in Oak Brook. Makeup and making people beautiful was all I could think about. Soon after, I had the opportunity to work for Kena Battle and Pat Boyd. It went beyond just realizing I had the talent. It grew into knowing I had a sure calling to do it. It pushed me to vision myself as an entrepreneur and someone called to the people to use this talent to make a difference. The response and reaction from my guests touched me to my core and made me desire to please and showed me this was my calling.

What has been the biggest obstacle thus far?

Wow, well her name is Karen. When I first became a makeup artist in 2010, I was excited and nervous. By 2012, my clientele grew and so did my confidence, I found my niche. In 2012, I attended Dudley’s Beauty College in Chicago but after a few months dropped out. There were life challenges and I was pregnant with my second child, Addison. I wasn’t doing well with the pregnancy. Today, I am a proud mom of two, Xavier and Addison. But when I dropped out, life happened. I also just begun to feel I wasn’t as good as other artists. I wasn’t pushed to know that I could succeed in this business. I was told that I need to punch a clock and that killed my confidence and I allowed it. But the thing about self esteem is, it only involves self. I’m my own personal cheerleader. If no one else sees my potential and the vision, I do! So, here it is 2015 and can’t nothing stop me. I will be a movement. And a force by myself if I have to. Despite the doubt that had begun to set in, God saw me better and now so do I.

What does success look like to you?

Success looks like various things to me – A-1 credit, debt free, educated, educating and empowering others. Through my faith and success, I pray I can win souls for Christ while making the world beautiful in my own way. My mother and children “want for nothing.” People feel encouraged just because they my work, had a conversation with me, heard a speech I gave or read or heard an interview I gave. Christ simply shining through me and being able to radically bless others. That’s all success to me.

What has been your most proud moment throughout the process?

My most proud moments are when people go out of their way to trust me with their services and not only that but after they’ve worked hard, they choose to give Karen Michelle Julkes their business. When I do makeovers, women cry because they feel sexy and gorgeous, but then I get to tell them. I am enhanced what u naturally came in with, which is the truth. The moments are priceless to me. They give me so much life.

How has it been networking with other professional makeup artists?

Well, this industry can be cut throat and many don’t want to share what they know. But when someone takes time out to encourage me, its a true blessing. For example, Marcus Geeter, Triphena, Alex in Atlanta — blessed me — beautiful spirits.

Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

In a few years, I see myself as master makeup artist, master educator, traveling more, motivating. Above all, I’m just in a good place and able to go hard for my family and make the unimaginable. Please stay tuned. God has just begun.

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