How did that come about? You had this love for makeup, so how did the music tie in?
Well, that’s my second love, so I was trying to find a way to work both of them at the same time. I was doing my thing on the underground circuit, really making some noise and getting a following, so it was going really great. But, it was really at a time where the industry didn’t have a lot of faith in female artists. Female hip-hop artists weren’t really selling that great, so breaking through those walls was very difficult, but I had a good ride. I worked with LL Cool J, and I did some work with Trackmasters and L.A. Reid at Arista, but he wasn’t interested in signing female artists either. I worked with Ruff Ryders for awhile; this was after Eve. I worked with them, recorded with them for awhile… But I just started recording again.
Is it hard to marry the two loves–music and makeup?
They’ve always been mutually exclusive, where as I’ve always been trying to find a way to marry the two. I remember being in Hawaii with LL Cool J on the video shoot for “Paradise.” They needed somebody to do makeup, but I didn’t step up to the plate. I didn’t know that if I stepped up in that way, would it take away from me as a recording artist. I didn’t know how to marry the two, but I’m coming to a place now where I’m able to marry being an entrepreneur with my artistic side.
When did you start making your own products?
After working for MAC for so long, I sat down and looked over my résumé and sales and saw how much money I made for them over the years. It’s a phenomenal brand that has an extremely diverse clientele, but I just knew I could do it myself. I started researching manufacturers and visiting plants to start developing the line.
How long did it take?
I’m still developing it. The initial foundation is done; that has taken about five years. But it’s never-ending because makeup is a trend-driven industry. I’ll always be trying to find the hottest new shades, new textures and formulas.
What makes Ketta Vaughn stand apart from other makeup lines?
There’s never really been an African American-owned cosmetic brand that’s viewed as a for more than just African American women. It’s really hard for us to break down that wall of that. Being a Black brands are never viewed as colorless brands, so I’m really tackling the challenge of having a brand that’s not viewed that way. My clientele is already that way. So many Indian women, Caucasian women, Asian women, you name it. Now, I just have a challenge of doing that in the mainstream.
What are you five favorite beauty looks that are trendy right now?
I love smoky eyes. I feel like I will be in my coffin with smoky eyes! [Laughs] Smoky is always in, but also what’s in is really vibrant color. I’m in love with that. I also love a really great nude, glossy lip. And I love illuminating skin. Make it look like you’re walking on the red carpet!
What beauty trends do you wish people would leave alone?
I don’t know if it’s a trend, but I wish people would stop wearing foundation that doesn’t match. You can clearly notice that their face and neck are two different colors. And that irritates me because there’s so many options out here. I’m not going to act like finding the right foundation is an easy task, it’s actually really hard.
What female faces would you love to work your magic on?
Mary J. Blige, J. Lo and Beyoncé.
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