Pursuing Passions: Johnna Young breaks into the MUA business

By Cheyenne Brown

Johnna Young is a 22-year old self-taught makeup artist from Conyers, GA. She is a recent graduate from the University of Georgia where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Promotion & Behavior with a minor in Global Health. What started out as a hobby in high school, soon turned into a possible business venture after friends and family noticed her skills and began to ask for her services. She used this period as a time for learning as she did makeovers free of cost. 

In January 2018, Young decided to put a price tag on her services and pursue her passion as a makeup artist. Now, her clientele ranges from bridal parties, prom, fashion shows, birthday celebrations and more.

When did you start doing makeup? 

“I started doing my makeup sophomore year of high school. My mother and stepfather would always go on dates and leave my home alone. So, while they were gone I would find my mother’s makeup, put it on, and wash it all off before they got home.”

Who was your first client?

My mother was my first client. She was going to a holiday party for her job. She was so shocked at how good her faced look when I finished. She was surprised that I did not have her face looking crazy.”

Who were you most nervous to have as a client?

“Two people: Ja’Kyra and Enya. Ja’Kyra is an Orientation Leader and they had to take pictures for their official headshots. I knew the whole University of Georgia would see these photos, so I knew I had to make her makeup look perfect. Enya knows everybody and their mama. I knew that she would be posting on social media and if I did a good job on her that everybody would be inquiring about who did her makeup.”

What do you love most about makeup?

“I love how versatile makeup is. It can be used for many avenues like costume, glamourous, male contouring, editorial, etc.”

What are your cant-live without items?

“The Urban Decay De-Slick Setting Spray and the Fenty Beauty Instant Retouch Setting Powder in Cashew are my favorite products. I also always have to have some sort of high-light on my face.”

Drugstore or High-end makeup and why?

“High-end makeup. I can find a foundation that matches my skin perfectly when it comes to my undertones, skin type and shade.” 

What are some of your favorite makeup brands?

“Fenty Beauty, Cover FX and Black Opal. CoverFX products are free of parabens, gluten, fragrance and a bunch of other chemicals that irritate my acne prone skin. Fenty Beauty for obvious reasons, everything Rih gives us is quality. And I love Black Opal products for my clients, my kit is filled with their products.”

Who are your favorite beauty influencers?

“MakeupShayla is my all-time favorite. We have the same skin type and we are pretty close in complexion, so anything that has worked for her usually works for me. I have been following her for about 7 years now and I feel like we have built this connection. Jackie Aina is always great too because she is always putting brown girls on to good products that work great for our skin.”

Daily/go-to makeup routine?

“Eyebrows are a must. As well as, full coverage foundation, bronzer, concealer, and mascara.”

How long did it take you to begin your business?

“It took me about four years to actually start my business. I would always compare myself to a lot of young self-taught makeup artists. I thought that I wasn’t good enough or that my work wasn’t quality. One day, I had a realization that I did not want to work another retail job, so I finally began to charge for my work.”

Any upcoming plans for your business?

“Yeah, I actually have stopped taking paid clients and have been using my family and some friends for practice. Since I will now be going to school in Atlanta I want to build clientele there, preferably of older adult women. So I’ve been using my mom, aunts and grandmothers to work on aged skin. I also am trying to perfect my skin work to look more natural, similar to what a bunch of celebrities wear”

Any advice for anyone who wants to start doing makeup or start their own business?

“(As far as makeup) Do not get discouraged. I know it can be frustrating when you are constantly practicing, and your work may seem like it is not improving, or it is not perfect. But, every time you do practice, you are getting better. (As far as the business side) Do not be afraid of promoting your work whenever and wherever. You have to be confident in your craft enough to be able to stand on the forefront of your brand.”


The purpose of this interview was to encourage individuals to act on their passions. Do not let doubts of being successful hinder you from going out there and trying. When questioning if you should make your dreams a reality consider this: 

  1. Do not bite off more than you can chew, be sure that 
  2. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone
  3. You are your biggest supporter
  4. Use failure as a stepping stone not a roadblock


If you are interested in Johnna’s services feel free to check out her makeup page, @_paintJOb. If you have any questions about pricing and booking an appointment make sure to email her at paintjobbyjo@gmail.com.




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