She's had a banner year that includes everything from being Empire's leading beauty maven to landing the cover of Hollywood Life, but Taraji P. Henson's go-to makeup artist and beauty bestie, Ashunta Sheriff, is much more than beautiful face and some serious beauty chops. She's also a scholar with a BS in cultural anthropology from Howard and a masters from NYU. She's a mother, a powerhouse, and an entrepreneur who's built a beauty empire—pun intended since she is also responsible for all of H.C.I.C, Cookie Lyon's beauty looks—and she never shy's away from a challenge. And, she's got a few tips for how you can rev up your beauty engine to power into 2016!
"Don't get so complacent with trying to be pretty-pretty that you forget to be fierce—you should never be afraid to be fierce."
Chances are, if you name a star, Sheriff has worked with them; from Alicia Keys to Lala and Taraji P. Henson, the makeup artist to the stars has a client list as long as her knowledge is vast. She went from corporate America to MAC, to working under some of the most influential leaders in the beauty and entertainment industry including big names like Pat McGrath, Laura Mercier Vincent Luongo and Sean Diddy Combs. She is equal parts hustler and aritst; when she stopped by the ESSENCE mag offices to chat with us she had actually just returned from a week-long EMPIRE press junket in Japan How's that for beauty and a boss?
She's all about self-love, great skin and not hiding your fierce. To live you best life in 2016 Sherriff believes women need to embrace their natural beauty wholly, though she does admit that she keeps three beauty looks on speed dial for moments when she wants a little pick-me-up. When in doubt, she believes these three go-to beauty looks never fail: No Makeup-Makeup, Classic Old Hollywood, and a Vampy-Fierce look— because pretty is great, but fierce is unstoppable.
No Makeup-Makeup: dewy skin, nude lips, lush lashes and full brows completed with a nude lip.
Classic Old Hollywood: Matte red lips, polished skin with a velvet-y finish, paired with a groomed brow and bold lashes.
Vampy-Fierce Look: Gorgeous skin paired with a smokey eye or a dark lip.
For success in life, Sheriff shared a myriad of tips, but one that she stands by in particular, focuses on balance. "Find balance between making time for yourself, your children and your goals," she states, "I know it sounds crazy, but you have to make the time. Sometimes you have to be adamant about choosing yourself because you have children that need you or you may just need time for yourself." The jet-setting entrepreneur and mother of two likes to center herself through writing and building dream lists. She's a firm believer in taking risks, writing things down, walking in purpose and being fully present in the moment, and believes that tranquility always comes where the ocean meets the shore.
Curious about what 2016 looks like for beauty maven, Ashunta Sheriff? We've got high hopes that she'll be nominated for and win an Emmy for her work on Empire, expand her beauty line "Perfect Blend by Ashunta Sheriff" and so much more!