Not many parents will actually encourage you to dye your hair blue, but Maryam Maquillage didn’t grow up in your typical household, either. The daughter of a graphic designer father and textile designer mother, the New York City–based makeup artist and full-time blogger was enrolled in performing arts schools where she dabbled in painting and singing. Yet her parents wanted her to be “more outgoing” with her creativity, she recalls. “I found it hard to compete with them. When your parents are so into the arts and they’re kind of kooky, you want to find your own voice.”
For Maquillage that meant mastering ready-to-wear makeup looks, which the self-taught artist began to experiment with at age 12. “I started looking at my face as my canvas and experimented with different looks I liked from music videos or on actresses, whether that meant being gothic or trying to look like one of the members of TLC,” she says, laughing. Soon, she became the “go-to girl” for makeup at her high school, with friends literally lining up for every picture day and school dance. Her audience eventually expanded to Facebook years later, and—in 2011—to her own blog, which draws nearly 100,000+ visitors per month.
Although she admits that natural, ready-to-wear looks are her specialty, you can often find Maquillage donning rainbow-colored wigs at her local karaoke bar and sporting eye-catching nail art on her ten “mini canvases … nail art is one of my top 3 favorite things to do in life,” she says. “I actually sometimes feel sad when I finish painting my nails, like ‘wow, my moment is over.’” We have a feeling there are plenty more “moments” to come from this pro, who gave us more beauty dirt about her first-ever makeup purchase, an early dalliance with Sun-In, and more!
Definitely. I grew up on the European side of Russia, in St. Petersburg, so technically I’m a mix. Being Eurasian has opened me up to different cultures and the ability to meet different people, and that’s where I get a lot of my inspiration. I love people and how diverse we all are. I actually went to college for international relations and communication, which has helped me hone in on my makeup skills too—that's given me access to different characters. It has also helped with my blogging and dealing with an international audience. I also love to travel and recently returned from Southeast Asia, which inspired a new tropical look I put together.
I would say my fellow bloggers. There are so many talented people and I love that we all have a voice and a different way of looking at makeup and beauty. Also, my mother is a big inspiration. She’s ridiculously talented—her sense of color is amazing. Sometimes I question whether she is really the talent in our family and if I’m just kind of riding her coattails.
I’ve actually never dyed my hair! The only real product I’ve used to change the color was Sun-In back in the day. I was born with dark, black hair, and once I hit puberty it lightened a bit. I wanted to see how light I could get it.
I’m in love with hair extensions. I love adding some volume and length. Also wigs—I have a closet full of them at home. On the one hand, I’m the normal, straight-edge, ready-to-wear makeup girl, and on the other side I really love getting into characters …That’s what makeup and wigs are for! Not just to make yourself feel beautiful, but also for experimenting and finding that spark within yourself.
Experimenting with different eyeliners to create creative, picturesque eye looks. But really I try to do a little of everything, not just for my own aesthetic, but to also please my audience and respect some of their wishes for what they want to see.
I was 12, and it was a baby blue Hard Candy nail polish. I remember it being such a huge thing after Alicia Silverstone wore it in the Clueless years. Everyone wanted it, but [at the time] it was expensive and I had to save up for it. I loved it and wish I still had it!
L’Occitane Divine Collection skin care, Too Faced Primed & Poreless primer, Lime Crime Uniliners and eyeshadow palettes, Lancôme Color Design 5-pan shadow and liner palettes, Anastasia Lavish palette, SweetPea and Fay Artisan liquid lipsticks, House of Lashes, and Inglot Cosmetics Pro Nail Art Spangles.