Bobbie Riley. This beauty mogul, celebrity makeup artist, and SFX artist who is also the daughter of 'The New Jack Swing' Genre creator, Teddy Riley; continues to take the beauty industry by storm with her ability to switch it up between glam, editorial, or giving you the gore and blood of special effects. Riley has been showing up and showing out, and wants to educate other upcoming artists about the business side of the industry. She says, "Bobbie Riley Beauty University was created enrich the artist and equip them with proper business tools as well as equip the everyday woman with the tools to take beauty into her/his own hands.”
Riley's zeal for the beauty industry shines throughout her W4TC sit down; as she drops valuable insight on where her passion comes from, how her mom’s lipliner was part of her introduction to makeup, how she stays humble, and doesn’t stop grinding because it's always “okay, what’s next.”
If being in the beauty industry has been the career path that you are destined to flourish in, then what are you waiting for? Class is in session, and taking tips from one of the best in the industry will propel you and your career to the next level. Learn how social media can be beneficial to your business, and even how to build your celebrity clientele.
Bobbie Riley Q&A
What was your first introduction into makeup?
My first introduction to makeup was my Mom’s chestnut liner and frost lipstick from MAC. I was obsessed with the smell and not much longer from there, in recitals in theatre; I was so intrigued by the makeup professionals, I just did not know I could ever be one.
When did you decide creating art in the form of transforming people and creating new looks would be your career?
My sisters introduced the idea of it being a career; but from a young age, I loved to paint and draw
Where does your inspiration come from when creating looks for things such as video shoots, magazine shoots, and content creation etc.?
My inspirations come from everywhere; whether it’s textures I see in fashion, blasts from the pasts, other artists or even paintings/sculptures.
Are there times where you look back at your earlier work and say to yourself, "what was I thinking?"
Hahahahah. Absolutely! I actually look at some work or some instances on set from even just three years ago, and sometimes cringe. Evolution is so important to me, and so is education and observation to improve.
Many people just see the glitz and glam side of the makeup scene, but don’t necessarily worry about the business side. Was that part of the reason you decided to start Bobbie Riley’s Beauty University?
Yes, that was the majority of the reason that I took on this responsibility of creating courses.
Bobbie Riley Beauty University was created to enrich the artist and equip them with proper business tools as well as equip the everyday woman with the tools to take beauty into her/his own hands.
What would you tell someone that wants to join your program, but is afraid that it might be like every other course out there?
I have purchased several courses over this time, while I’ve been doing case studies of my own on online courses and master classes. That fear is the common denominator of why most people don’t end up ultimately taking courses. What I will say is:
1. People go to college/trade schools and spend thousands, not thinking about the outcome or if they will truly learn what’s necessary and may not
2. Knowledge from people that have actually lived out what you’re trying to do, at any capacity, will help at some extent
What are some of the biggest lessons you learned when it comes to the business side of the industry?
-Showing up is a reflection of your character and your integrity
-It’s important to take care of back office duties on the front end, so that you aren’t pulling teeth for checks on the back end
-Dress how you want be addressed!
-Dress how you want to be addressed!
Social media is a big influence in almost all industries. How can an aspiring artist use social media to their advantage when trying to build a following?
Social mediums are a chance to give your audience a feel for who you truly are. I believe that artists are also hired for their persona just as well as their artistry so showcasing this gives others the opportunity to get to know you.
Was there a significant moment while building up your business that you just sat back and said "I made it?"
Nope! And I don’t think that I ever will, it’s always on to the next thing for me. I mean typically in the middle of jobs you're going so fast, it almost feels like an out-of-body experience anyway; but after it’s over, it’s not “popping bottles," “I arrived..” especially if you’re a freelancer. It’s “okay, what’s next?”
What are some tips you can give to someone that wants to build up their clientele, and start to add celebrities to their resume?
To get underneath someone who is doing it; whether it’s virtually or in person, and take trade work with models and photography professionals that showcase your vibe.
I didn’t realize that there are so many routes that can be taken when entering the world of beauty. Not only can you create amazing glam looks, but you also create special-effects looks. Why did that side of the industry appeal to you?
OMG! I love the blood, the gore, the intricate shading... the art of SFX really intrigues me. It gives me a chance to think outside of the box and get a little zany, whereas glam has bounds and needs to be more neat.
For people, like me, who admire makeup, but aren’t sure where to start or even how to apply makeup; what are some tips that you can give the "makeup challenged" who want to enhanced our beauty a little, but are not sure where to start?
-Skin is everything. Get your skin right, and any makeup will set. You won’t need to layer as many products to get the desired look.
-Glow/health radiates what’s going on within. So, it’s so important to eat healthy and affirm yourself. If you don’t feel good, you won’t look good no matter how stunning you are.
-Find your winning product; the one thing that makes you feel the most beautiful. For my sister's friend, it's blush. For me, it's LASHES!
You use so many different cosmetics products on a daily; in the future, will we see a Bobbie Riley cosmetics line?
I sure do. Potentially... I’ve been tossing the idea around; but I’m more of someone that cares for innovation, so it would definitely be something that isn’t currently out there.
Many have said that the pandemic has been a blessing in disguise, have you seen it in the same light?
It has been a major blessing for me. Honestly, when the stay-at-home order first happened, I was on a major job; probably one of the biggest in my life, and it got shut down. It really gave me a chance to rest, and just take a pause to reflect... you know? Be a little more still & really refine the person I am inside and out.
What have you manifested for the future of your career, and your brand?
Abundance, impact, and a legacy to leave.
Who has been your favorite celebrity client and why?
That’s hard to say. I can say my favorite brand to work for was Refinery 29, for my client Reign Edwards. We are good friends; so, it being such a victory for her made me elated. However, it’s a publication I look at so often; it was kind of surreal, not even something I could believe. (Hehe)
Where can our readers follow you and stay updated on all your future ventures?
Check out my website:
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“Bobbie Riley Beauty University” — this program isn’t like the typical beauty schools you normally hear about.
Bobbie Riley Beauty University and Beauty High is only program that's creating a unique experience addressing topics and issues that are not covered at beauty counters, in technical/artistry courses or in the cosmetology programs for state board tests.
(Beauty High) is designed for the clients at the counter who just want to learn all there is about their own beauty needs and what to look for and (Beauty University) is for artists that are trying to break into the industry and desperately needs direction to figure things all out - umanagementpr