by Keiyana McIntosh on February 15, 2023
Do y’all remember taking the school pictures where you held the sign that read, “When I grow up, I want to be (fill in the blank)?” Many of us forgot about our childhood dreams, but that is not the story for makeup artist Briah. Her love for beauty peaked early in her teens, and now she owns a beauty bus! Passion and determination helped Briah turn a childhood dream into a successful career.
Briah wrote down her vision and made it plain for her beauty company, Arijee Makeup, in her marketing class at Prairie View A&M. Since then, Briah has gone on to servicing many women throughout the U.S. In fact, you may have seen some of her work featured at the Essence Festival, eOne, the BET Experience and New York Fashion Week to name a few.
She continues to utilize tools to help her excel in the beauty industry, and these tools have landed her internships & work positions within her career. In true MUA fashion, Briah lives by the motto, “Wake up and do your makeup.”
Keiyana: What events took place in your life that has impacted the woman you are today?
Briah: The most impactful event that created the woman you see today is growing up in a single-parent household. Experiencing that with my mom gave me my strength today and helped prepare me for motherhood now with my son.
Keiyana: I grew up in a single-parent household too, so I respect and admire that. Tell me, when was the moment that you realized you were sold on having a future in the beauty industry?
Briah: Though it wasn’t good or professional at the time, my interest in makeup took off in middle school. As I continued practicing, I knew that the beauty industry would work in my favor, especially when I attended college. When I attended Prairie View A&M University, I began building a clientele as a makeup artist. I would do makeup for faculty and staff, pageants, and graduation. I knew then, this was something I needed to pursue and keep going.
Keiyana: So, following up with that, when it came to beauty, what was your perception of yourself growing up?
Briah: As a child, you expect to have some insecurities, but I don’t recall having any insecurities to where I felt I needed to look a certain way than who I already was. I enjoyed doing makeup because it was fun and made me feel free. I loved playing with the colors and trying different ideas, like a winter wonderland theme. Of course, wearing makeup gave me confidence, but makeup is not where my self-confidence lies. For me, makeup was never about trying to hide or mask anything but about being free and creative with a blank canvas.
Keiyana: What has been the difference in your business from when you started until now?
Briah: When I first began doing makeup, I did not have a direction. I just enjoyed doing what I love, but at the same time, I did not know what type of makeup artist I wanted to be. I look at it like a doctor. There are different types of doctors. You have anything from a podiatrist to a labor and delivery doctor. It is the same thing with specifying what kind of makeup artist you are. When I first began, I was doing makeup everywhere-- in talent, to fashion shows and video shoots. That is not to say that I do not dabble in other industries, but now I feel like I have more of a niche for my brand as a makeup artist. Now, I focus on event makeup which can include set makeup, bridal makeup, and trade shows. However, now I feel I have more of a direction and know my audience better.
Keiyana: Looking at your work I would agree that you’ve found your niche. With that being said, how do you keep your skills relevant and stay motivated?
Briah: That can be tough because sometimes it gets hard, and I experience self-doubt. However, I keep my skills relevant by purchasing a class or a one-on-one with another makeup artist. I believe, perfecting your craft and taking classes is the best way to stay motivated. I also find myself on Instagram looking for inspiration. I love watching different makeup artists and how they create looks. I try to see if that would work for me too. I also watch a lot of YouTube for inspiration. I love watching makeup shows like 'Glow Up' on Netflix because it keeps me on my toes creatively.
Keiyana: That is awesome! Tell me about a makeup artist who inspires your artistry.
Briah: One of my favorite makeup artists in Houston is Alaina Saulsaberry, owner of Color Du Jour Makeup. She is a well-known makeup artist who owns her own studio. I love her work because she has a clean brand and glam. I would also like to add Sir John. He's more of a seasoned makeup artist, well-known in the beauty industry. I admire his creativity and success as well.
Keiyana: Paint the picture for our audience. What type of experience can women expect to have with Arijee Makeup?
Briah: I'm going to come with good energy and make it a fun experience while we share stories. You are going to get the glam experience that you need. Sometimes you might feel a look is good for you, but I will give you what you need because I know what will look well for the occasion. For instance, if you're having a photo shoot, I understand the style of makeup you need for the photo shoot, video shoot or editorial work, etc.
Keiyana: Earlier you mentioned that you're a mom. As a mompreneur, how do you manage a healthy work-life balance?
Briah: Honestly, I am all over the place (laughs). At first, it was difficult because if my mom was unavailable to watch my son, he would have to come with me to all the makeup appointments. Now, I have a bit of a routine where I wake up early, take my son to daycare, and set out a task list for myself. I try to focus on making sure I make a weekly task list of three things to make sure I hold myself accountable. I don't overdo it, and I don't under-do it, only three things. Once I do that, it's easier to keep my baby where he needs to be. After I accomplish the things I need to do for my brand, I zone into the needs of my household. I take care of any chores that need to be done and spend time with my son. It's a lot, but we get it done.
Keiyana: What goals do you plan on achieving in your business and life within the next three years?
Briah: I would love to have another bus in a major city or somewhere close to Austin or San Antonio. Originally I am from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I would love to have one in Louisiana, but in New Orleans, since it is a flourishing city. I would love to have a team and become the first beauty bus franchise where I would have a manager or team running it in one of the cities I mentioned earlier. I also have a goal to do Fashion Week yearly. I was fortunate to be a part of fashion week in the past; it was a good time, but I want to be able to do more, along with worldwide events outside of Houston.
In my personal life, I want to make sure I am doing well with motherhood and providing a house for my son and me. I also want to continue living happily, as I already am.
Keiyana: Since it's Black History Month, tell me someone that has inspired your life and why.
Briah: I have two. Of course, my first choice is my mom. She has taken care of my brother, sister, and me effortlessly. She did a great job with us! The older I get, the more I realize how much she sacrificed. It truly touched me and made me feel like my mom did her thing!
My second person may sound cliché, but I would say Michelle Obama. I love Michelle so much. She was the first black First Lady in the United States, which showed us that black women could be in positions where we are in leadership roles, and I love that!
Keiyana: Following up on that question, tell me the significance of what being a black woman means to you.
Briah: Being a black woman is significant because we play a factor in so many roles. We are strong, independent, successful wives and mothers. Though there are many things that we play a role in, it is okay not to be strong. It is okay not to have complete independence and want help. It is okay if you are having a bad day as a mom.
I find it incredible how women can play all these different roles. I see us as superwomen. It is due to these reasons that black women are knocking it out of the park. Women are exercising, taking care of their kids, and creating businesses. We are getting promoted in our jobs while prioritizing self-care, and with everybody in the soft girl era, I love it! Women are flourishing, especially black women.
Keiyana: As we wrap, tell our readers what they can look forward to seeing from you and where they can find you on social media.
Briah: You can look forward to seeing more success with Arijee Makeup in the next couple of years. Be on the lookout for another bus in a city near you. We will be hosting more events and delivering kids' parties soon.
We will be focused more on doing things in groups and nursing homes to give back to the community because that's what the world needs. If you're in a position to bless somebody, I think you should be a blessing and go out and serve.
On behalf of Foundation First, we want to thank Briah for sharing her inspiring testimony!
Stay connected with Briah and her company, Arijee Makeup by clicking the links below.
Facebook: Arijee Makeup
TikTok: The Life of Arijee