Celebrity makeup artist and grooming expert Merrell Hollis believes that good skin is the foundation for great make up. His artistry has led to alliances with such major brands as Clinique, MAC, Lancôme, and Versace, and his work appears in product packaging and company advertising for L’Oréal Paris and Soft Sheen Carson. Originally from Georgia, Mr. Hollis’ fascination with couture fashion and makeup began at an early age and he received his degree in Fashion Marketing and Design from American Inter-Continental University. In addition to numerous other celebrity clients, Mr. Hollis serves as the personal makeup artist to media personality and talk show host Wendy Williams.
Explain your morning routine with Wendy. How long does it take for you prepare her look? Does one inspire the other?
The start of my day with Wendy is rather chaotic. She sits in her make-up chair at around 8am while 6 or 7 producers rush in to go over Hot Topics and you know how Miss Wendy loves herself some Hot Topics! LOL. So visualize Wendy in a makeup chair in her robe, eating her breakfast, sipping tea through a straw, and flipping through magazines while her entire staff preps her and I’m trying to apply a lash and foundation. Ugh!!!! Lol. Seriously though, I’m not complaining… I’ve never felt so comfortable! I can truly say Wendy is home for me. Here are my quick and easy steps in preparing Wendy before she hits the TV set:
- Step 1. Apply Make-up For Ever HD Powder, which works great for TV because it set’s the foundation without looking too powdery/dry and keeps a natural sheen to the skin.
- Step 2. Add contour/highlight with Make Up For Ever’s Pan Cake Powder Foundation. When working with bright lights sometime it blows out the definition of the face so it’s best to contour/highlight to reinforce definition. The pancake powders work best for me because they are full coverage and you can use them wet or dry. It’s also an extra barrier to keep the oil from breaking through while under those hot lights.
- Step 3. For the “Icing to the Cake,” I add blush, shadows and then finish off with lips using a multitude of products. I’ve recently fallen in love with INGLOTS shadows and chubby lip pencils. For blush I love NARS. They have truly hit the mark with their cheek color. It takes me about 30 minutes to complete her transformation.
What comes first: the hair or the make-up?
Actually her hair and make-up are applied at the same time. Antwon (Wendy’s hair stylist) and I try and kill two birds with one stone! Wendy gets very antsy in the chair after 30 minutes.
What inspires you to create her look?
I can find inspiration in just about everything, from Antwon curling the wig a certain way to a colorful pattern on the carpet. It really depends! I follow trends in Allure, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar magazines and attend Fashion Shows in NYC and Paris to see what’s being used on the runway.
Do you follow the trends or create your own?
I do follow trends but I like to put my own twist… if I don’t, the “Look” is not complete in my eyes and not original.
Who are some of your other celebrity clients?
I’ve been so fortunate to work with some amazing talent, Diddy, Usher, Faith, Matthew McConaughey, Ciara, Naomi Campbell, Alek Wek, Christina Milian, Kim Cattral, Joy Bryant, Mary J Blige, The list goes on…
How do you tailor each celeb’s look so they don’t all look the same?
I tailor my clients look by their individual personality… A look that they can pull off without looking like they tried too hard.
Where do you see your career in five years? Will we all be carrying Made By Merrell blush and eyeliner kits in our bags?
That is my goal – to hopefully one day launch my very own cosmetic line. Maybe I can convince Wendy to be my spokesperson! Ha! How fabulous would that be and god willing I’ll be celebrating my 8th season working with Wendy on the show.