Micaela Jordan: From Painter and Makeup Artist to the Head of Her Own Budding Creative Empire
Published Apr 02, 2014
Soft, neutral makeup with ombre eyebrows, done by Micaela.
We’ve already watched House of Versace a million times—and now there’s the House of Micaela to gush over. The latter would be the budding creative empire of San Francisco–based makeup artist Micaela Jordan, which encompasses both her freelance beauty work and fine art talents (she does custom paintings and drawings for various clients). “I like to call it ‘where art meets the canvas and the face,’” she says of her site and brand.
Studying painting was the first thing that helped Jordan understand the intricacy of makeup application. “Taking life drawing classes really helped me understand bone structure. When drawing the face you pay attention to all aspects of it in detail. This comes in handy when learning to contour and highlight.” She also credits color theory for her skill set. “If you really understand color and undertones, it will make a huge difference to you as a makeup artist,” she says.
Micaela working her magic on a model for a shoot.
In addition to her “House,” Jordan also works as a licensed aesthetician at the Berkeley, California spa Magnolia Salon de Beaute, where she specializes in eyelash extensions, facials, skin care, facial waxing, brows, and of course, makeup. “I keep busy to say the least,” she jokes of her hectic schedule, having learned early on the balancing act of multi-tasking from her days working as a barista. Now, she says, “I am truly blessed to be working with Marcia Walden [the owner of Magnolia Salon de Beaute]. She is a great mentor and believes in me and my work.”
And her top personal recommendation for other budding artists: find a mentor. “When you have a go-to mentor or professional in your field, you can just pick their brain and ask questions,” she says. “And then, never stop playing with makeup. Practice on as many faces as you possibly can. Every bit of hard work is worth doing [for] what you love.”
Read on to learn about that time Jordan did actor Shemar Moore’s makeup, her favorite beauty book, and the strangest requests she’s heard at the makeup counter.
Micaela did playful makeup on model Kiana Loi, photographed by Errisson Lawrence.
Growing up I always had an interest in it. Right before entering high school, I picked up Bobbi Brown’s book Teenage Beauty, and became obsessed. After doing just about everyone’s makeup in my freshman dorm room, I knew I should be getting paid to for it, and shortly after I was hired to work at a Clinique makeup counter.
Yeah, I was originally self-taught. I practiced on my friends and read lots of makeup books. Later, I went to work for Sephora for five years. It was there that I learned even greater techniques and developed my skills.
Boho-chic models with smokey eye makeup to match.
At Sephora, it wasn’t uncommon to come across a strange request every now and again. Usually it’s about covering something up: a young panicked girl asking how to mask her hickey, or someone asking for help in covering up a tattoo of an ex’s name. Needless to say I’ve had some good experience to give me the skills to cover just about anything.
Well, I must say that so far every celebrity I’ve come across on set looks even more amazing in person, like Shemar Moore. I wanted to stare for a very long time, probably with my mouth slightly open, but I assumed that would be unprofessional.
Micaela created a simple, golden look with a bold orange lip on model Candice Radcliff.
A Victoria’s Secret lip gloss in the eighth grade. After discovering I was allergic to it, my mother upgraded and bought me a Chanel lip gloss. The color was “Twinkle,” and for years it was my absolute favorite.
Two models made up by Micaela for an editorial shoot, shot by Andrew James Abajian.
Have you been experimenting with any new looks?
I remember seeing J.Lo wearing a daring yellow lip in one of her videos. I wouldn’t mind giving that a go.
I’ve definitely had some “oops” moments. Like accidentally smearing waterproof black eye liner on my client’s freshly finished face. Or slightly poking an eyeball with a mascara wand. Luckily most of my clients have a sense of humor.
My all-time favorite product has to be Make Up For Ever HD translucent setting powder. There’s so much that you can do with it, and it really helps your makeup last longer and your skin appear smoother. I also absolutely cannot live without a good waterproof eye liner. Stila’s “Stay All Day” Liquid Liner Pen makes me a very happy lady. Some more of my absolute favorites include Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Ash, Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Pencils, NARS Highlighter Blush in Albatross , and E.L.F. Bronzer Duo (which is only $3!).
Model Ambre Leigh in a clean look with some serious blue lips, created by Michaela.
I love following amazing makeup artists on Instagram for inspiration. I adore Samer Khouzami (@samerkhouzami) and am a huge fan of his work. Some other favorites are Lora Arellano (@lora_arellano), Eva Kim (eva_thediva_kim), Liz Castellanos (@makeupbyliz) , and Megan Martinez (@chaosmakeupartist).