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Tasha Reiko Brown

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The Violet Files

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The makeup artist, mother, and Committee member on how Sam Fine, Jill Scott, and traveling the world changed her life.

Written By
Patty Tortolani

In celebration of Black excellence, VIOLET GREY spotlights the creatives, brand founders, and entrepreneurs making an immeasurable impact on The Industry.

For all that Tasha Reiko Brown has going on in her life, she’s remarkably serene. Among the industry’s most in-demand makeup artists (clients include Alicia Keys and Gabrielle Union-Wade), Reiko Brown is as passionate about the details of her craft (applying highlighter is “painting with light”) as she is about opening doors and creating a community where others can flourish. Here, she reflects on career milestones, including the song that changed her life.

  • 01

    VIOLET GREY: What do you love most about your job?

    TASHA REIKO BROWN: What I love most, is that it allows me the opportunity to work with people who are absolute masters in their craft, whether it is a hairstylist who has just gotten to a level of excellence, a stylist who is a fashion historian, or a director whose eye changes the way that you view cinema. The precision with which they execute their craft is so inspiring, and it pushes me to do more.

  • 02

    VG: You've had an incredible career. Are there any milestones you are most proud of?

    TRB: One of the milestones I am most proud of is all the travel that I’ve done. I don’t know if that’s a milestone per se, but it is an aspect of my career that I am excited to have gotten to do. It allowed me to show my son the world and hopefully, it helps him better find his place in the world. Another incredible moment will always be watching Jill Scott sing “Strange Fruit.” Her voice was so full of passion, purpose, and hope. It was so transformative. The fact that I made it so far in my career to do Jill Scott’s makeup, and then for some reason, she opened her mouth, and she sang “Strange Fruit”—completely changed the course of my life.

  • 03

    VG: What role has mentorship played in your career?

    TRB: The role mentorship has played in my career—and that it should play in everyone’s career—is essential. A lot of times, due to generational access, you are forging a path where you haven’t seen someone go in that direction before, so there’s no clear-cut way to get to where you want to go. So having a mentor, and finding someone with whom you can connect in their journey to help you along your journey is so important. For me, it was Sam Fine. It was the first time I saw myself reflected back at myself. How lucky are we that he is such a gracious, elegant, and kind artist? And not only was he successful, but he made sure that he left the door open behind him. And he developed tools so we too might be as successful as him.

  • 04

    VG: Do you mentor?

    TRB: Yes. Sam Fine is a huge inspiration as to why I mentor people as much and as often as I can. It takes so little to give someone an encouraging word that if they look up to you it could make their day. It could be the reason why they push on and go forward. I think there are so many beautiful up-and-coming artists. There’s Kasha Lassian. I think she’s fantastic. She’s a breath of fresh air. If she needs anything, I’m definitely a phone call away. If you get to a place in your career and you shut the door behind you, and you turn the lock, and you took nobody with you, you decided you wanted to be one of one and most special. I think there’s no honor in that. I feel like it is your obligation to lift somebody else up. If you’re blessed enough to get those opportunities, there is enough work for everyone, so bring somebody else along for the ride.

  • 05

    VG: What is the product your friends always ask for advice on?

    TRB: My friends ask me most about complexion products. I think everyone is searching for the holy grail of beauty, which is what your version of beautiful clean skin is. Everyone wants a flawless complexion because it's what gives you confidence. So my friends always want me to walk them through that process and ensure that they are using the best coverage for their skin at all times.