#BakingBeauty: Makeup Artist Saisha Beecham on the Secret to Longevity in the Industry

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With all of the COVID-19 related anxiety and uncertainty, The Tease is bringing you uplifting stories from women who are #MakingHairstory, #BakingBeauty and #DoingItForTheCultuHer. Learn how these influential women are breaking barriers, disrupting their industries and empowering others to do the same all month long.

Celebrity makeup artist Saisha Beecham has lent her talent to some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. Whether it’s for editorial spreads, commercials, TV appearances or music videos, Beecham can do it all. Although she has a background in art, she prefers to use her talent to paint faces. Beecham’s incredible makeup artistry can be seen on some of our favorite celebrities, like Taraji P. HensonJanelle MonaeCamila Mendes and many more. 

We had the opportunity to speak to Beecham about her career and how staying humble produces success.

The Tease: How did you get started in the beauty industry? 

Saisha Beecham: I kind of fell into makeup while chasing [the] actress dream. I started doing makeup on the side, while I was a stylist in a salon, for extra money to move to LA, and makeup immediately took off for me! I think my artist background helped me fall right in like I belonged. I also paint and draw. 

How would you describe your relationship to makeup? 

I have a great relationship with makeup! It literally takes up a large percentage of my life, and I love every bit of it. I love coming up with new fun ideas for different clients. One of the best things about my job is that it is completely different every day! 

Women are often discouraged from sharing their accomplishments, but we want to hear about them. List some of your career highlights. What are you most proud of? 

Well… I actually have recently added “Award Winning” to my title! That is very exciting! I won the 2020 Debra Denson Award for outstanding achievement in makeup at the Hollywood Beauty Awards. I also have this feeling of honor being on the team for Black Panther. So many of my people were proud of that movie, and it’s so great working with its star, Chadwick Boseman. 

What are the biggest challenges you have experienced within the industry and how did you overcome them?

I’ve always really loved my industry, but I have learned from a few challenges. I’ve learned that you have to be a good businesswoman in this industry, and you have to know your worth and professionally demand respect. I had a lot of people take advantage of my kindness in the beginning of my career, so I learned to handle my business and negotiating more professionally without my feelings involved. I think people appreciate working with someone who respects themselves. If they don’t, then you probably shouldn’t be working with them. 

What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned throughout your career? 

Ha! One of the biggest lessons I learned very early on with my 2nd celebrity that I’d ever done makeup, Kandi Burress. I learned that no matter how excited you are to try out new ideas, don’t try them ALL at the same time with your celeb clients!! Back in 2004, I had so much going on with her makeup that it was confusing. I realized that’s what Test/Spec shoots are for, and I started trying out new ideas on models before my celeb clients. I was fortunate to learn that at the very beginning. 

Are there any women in the industry who inspire you or your work? If so, who? 

This question is so hard for me because I am inspired by so many women in my industry for different reasons. As a businesswoman, I’m inspired by none other than Pat McGrath! She is the most successful makeup artist of all time and she’s a black woman like me! She shattered every glass ceiling and she’s a great makeup artist. I’ve been really into what @nikki_makeup has been doing on IG. Her work has inspired me a lot lately. But I love so many artists! 

Do you have any words of wisdom for other women within the beauty industry?

Stay humble! Stay professional! Stay consistent! That’s how to have longevity in this business. Well the humble part doesn’t always seem to be necessary, but it’s just appreciated! 😉

What’s next for you? 

Well, the COVID 19 pandemic has changed my “what’s next,” but I’m okay with it. I’m working on becoming more active on my YouTube and doing more classes and/or online courses, as well as teaming up with my daughter, Shailah Leshé, with her YouTube videos. But [I’ll be back to] always keeping busy as soon as the virus dies down. The good thing about our industry is that the productions HAVE to eventually happen, so lots of premieres and junkets [are] coming soon!