written by Palak Patel
There are a lot of things that happen behind the scenes of a major production. From television shows to music videos, movies to photo shoots, one person experiences it all: Unique London. Unique is a celebrity makeup artist who has been in the business for over 20 years. It wasn’t always Unique’s dream job to be a makeup artist. Prior to stepping into her dream, she was employed at JP Morgan while trying to become a doctor. It was also during her time at Lenox Hill Hospital, where she worked as a candy striper; that she discovered her true calling. “I would help around on each of the wards,” stated London. “A lot of the patients were used to looking a certain way. It was one of those moments where I was like “I can help you”. She then began doing makeup for the patients. She learned that it was a great way to help them because if they looked better they would feel better.
Soon enough Unique found herself out of work and on welfare. While out looking for a job, she came across a costume store named Abracadabra. The owner gave her a chance and Unique found a job as a special effects makeup artist. From there she met people, made connections, and honed her craft until she found herself working with MTV. Over the years Unique has accumulated a large client list: Santana, Queen Latifah, Michael Ealy, Terrence J., Denzel Washington, among many others. “I love working on Adrianne Bailon, Melanie Fiona and Emily B.,” gushed London. She said she would drop anything for them.
Unique finds her everyday activities very important. “Every single thing I’ve done in make-up is an important accomplishment… Every experience, every mess-up. It’s all part of the experience” states London. The shift in her career truly came full circle when she was acknowledged by one of music’s greatest artists to ever perform. “A pivotal moment for me was meeting Michael Jackson. He said to me ‘You do a very good job’ and that was amazing”.
Unique says it’s important to know the business before being successful in makeup artistry. “Know that you are behind the scenes,” stated London. “You need to learn etiquette, learn how to approach a person and act on set. I read anatomy, history, chemistry, aromatherapy, and psychology books. The first love is skin care and remember that sometimes less is more.” She says the most beautiful and timeless looks are the most simplistic.
With everything Unique does, it’s crazy that she has time to work on some upcoming projects. “I’m so freaking excited that I’m teaming up with two celeb makeup artists to create an amazing make-up studio where we will also teach people how to be in the business,” stated London. She is also excited to work on her own make-up and skincare products that she makes at home and to write her book about makeup and skincare techniques.