Meet Whitney McElvy of Beauty By Whit
My love for makeup and beauty honestly didn’t start until my sophomore year of high school. I was about to get my braces off and I wanted to go back to school with a subtle new look to compliment my new smile, so I thought I’d try out makeup. I can remember studying YouTube videos for hours! Just trying to learn how to do simple winged eyeliner, so I went to Target and picked out the cheapest but best liquid eyeliner I could find. Let’s face it I was only 15, with minimal money so I had to remember I was ballin’ but on a budget lol. I went home after that and stood in my bathroom mirrior, re-watching winged eyeliner YouTube videos again and again, practicing until I felt like I got it right. That’s where my passion for makeup began! By no means were my skill in makeup anywhere near a professional level when I started, but I was motivated. Motivated so much that I made it a goal of mine to learn something new about makeup every year and to master it. Whether it was learning how to do my foundation, eyeshadow, eyebrows I was determined to learn and make makeup my own, my own style that is. Growing up as a kid I’d always dream’t about becoming a doctor, a pediatrician to be exact, but that all shortly changed after entering high school where I found my true passion, art. I took every art class my high school had to offer until I graduated and I feel in love with painting. I ended up going to college to study fine arts, I started at Grossmont Community College where I got my Associates Degree in Fine Arts. I then transferred into San Diego State University where I graduated from last spring and received my BFA degree. Throughout college I got hired at Sephora, where my skills, knowledge, passion and love for makeup grew even more. I had started out as a cashier then I was promoted to a beauty consultant, where I later became a certified artist. While working there I’ve learned more about makeup than I had ever expected to. I not only learned to perfect makeup on my self but on others as well. With the support, generous compliments and touching encouragement of my amazing Sephora co-workers doing what I loved never felt like real hard labor to me. That’s when I knew being a makeup artist would be my forever career. My dream is to be a professional makeup artist and work on movie sets or T.V shows, shoot even to do runway shows for fashion week! I know this is only the beginning for my makeup career and God has blessed me with opportunities I would have never thought of, I’m excited to see what else is in store!
My makeup journey has been a blessing. I say that because I’ve been able to be educated so much about the craft and I’m still learning more and more till this day! Which is what I’ve always wanted most from makeup, is to know as much as I can about it. I feel like you can never stop learning about makeup, especially if you’re wanting to apply it on others. For example, say you’ve been booked to do makeup for a photoshoot, eight out of ten times you won’t know what your model will look like. Meaning you won’t know their facial features, skin type, or even complexion. So as an artist you have to be prepared for anything but also comfortable and confident in working with different facial features, complexions and skin types. So give yourself a lot of practice with different people. I’ll admit also throughout my journey I did experience a creative block for a long period of time. I ended up taking a break from posting my looks on social media for about a year, because I felt like it was starting to consume too much of my life. While being a college student working two jobs at the time, I didn’t need any more added stress on my plate. I also noticed I started posting my looks for all the wrong reasons. Through my time off from posting on social media, I was able to realize my real reason for posting my looks. It wasn’t for likes but that I simply just wanted to share what I loved to do with the rest of the world. Whether people didn’t like them or they loved them either way I couldn’t let all of the social media hype consume who I was as a person. I had to keep reminding myself that if opportunities were to come from social media that’s amazing, but if they don’t it still wasn’t going to stop me from pursuing my dreams of becoming a professional makeup artist. My advice to anyone looking to learn more about makeup, do it! Have patience and practice it day in and day out, or even just whenever you have time, but know that practice is key to a craft like this. Use social media as a tool to help get your work out there, but never let it consume you. Stay humble!
I’d say what I’m most known for, throughout my makeup journey, is my passion for creating fun, colorful and vibrant eyeshadow looks. Being African American, and not seeing many black women wearing vibrant looks because of certain shadows not being pigmented enough to show up on our skin, made me even more motivated to keep creating them once I figured out how to. I would say social media had a lot to do with influencing me with my eyeshadow looks and even wanting to do them at all. I became inspired by certain influencers and self taught artist who were creating eyeshadow looks so that they’d be perceived in a fun, dramatic, or glamours way. It made me so excited and eager to try the new trends of makeup because I felt makeup was now entering an era where people were starting to accept it as art. So I began to make makeup my new medium in art. It’s funny because I never knew how much my love for painting would then grow and transpire into a love for makeup. With social media being a platform where I could share my passion with others, it’s also been able to give me numerous opportunities, experiences and connections with other amazing artists. Which has only left me hungry for so much more on this journey! I’ve had the opportunity to create editorial looks too and showcase them in fashion shows, magazines, photography portfolios, collaborations, clothing lines and much more. I’m most proud of my latest publication in an online magazine called Shuba, where I had the chance to collab with an a dope model, stylist and photographer. And also my latest interview publication with SD Voyager Magazine! Opportunities like these have helped to enhance my portfolio in ways I could have never imagined and I’m excited to see what’s next!
Success is what you make it. As cliches as that sounds, but it truly is, and as I’ve been getting older, I realize how clear and true the statement is. Everyone lives a different life and everyone has a different journey God is leading them on. What I find important to remember about success, is to not let it consume you but to let it be a part of you, like an accessory. Meaning to not let yourself get so fixated on other people’s lives and their success, but yet focus on what truly makes you happy. Put your all into achieving those long term dreams of yours and promises you’ve made to yourself. Doing things that are only going to help enhance you and better you as a person in the end. Success isn’t determined by how many commas you have in your bank account but how great of a person you can really be throughout your lifetime. I feel like it’s determined by having fulfillment in the small things. All in all, success is fulfilling your purpose while on this earth and in this lifetime.