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Coloring Outside the Lines: Howard Student and Makeup Artist Lauren Brown Wins American Influencer Award

By Ashleigh Fields, Campus Editor

Photo Courtesy of Lauren Brown

Vibrant splashes of color, intricate shapes  and an  eccentric personality bring a blank canvas to life through a modern sense of art. School of Business student Lauren Brown has boldly chosen to color outside the lines and within her physical frame as a blooming make up artist.

“I got my first makeup kit at the age of three,” said Brown.

Before she could walk, Brown was portraying the inner thoughts of her imagination directly on her face by practicing different styles of makeup in her kitty kit. At first, it was just a hobby. But as time went on, she developed more care for her craft.

“I made an Instagram page for my makeup looks as a junior in high school,” said Brown. “I started to practice more and trying different techniques, I consider my makeup a visual art form.”

Taking pictures was instrumental in documenting her growth, but also a cruel reminder that every new look brought a lesson. Brown’s peers didn’t always support how eclectic, experimental and expressive she was unafraid to be. 

“I’ve been doing colored eyebrows since high school, and I remember because people used to be really mean about it,” said Brown. 

However, she was advanced. In 2020, the colored eyebrows trend surprisingly took social media by storm. Her forward thinking is one of the many reasons why her platform has progressed into a possible career. Currently, she is majoring in entrepreneurship and was hopeful to make a living working in hospitality. But Brown claims that derogatory racial comments from large name makeup artists and brands inspired her to start her own line of products.

“There are a lot of brands that are intolerant towards black people and black creators,” said Brown.

This treatment encouraged her to build connections with Black-owned businesses like Pat McGrath and to continue to use her platform as a voice of reason for those who felt unheard. When asked to name her favorite makeup artists, Alyssa Ashley was the first name Brown mentioned. 

“People don’t really teach influencing. It’s new,” said Brown. “But Alyssa Ashley definitely demonstrates the level of quality I want to bring to my work.”

In addition to practicing creating art at a high caliber, Brown also works to maintain a high level of professionalism. As a member of the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, Psi Tau chapter, she says she has evolved a lot due to her membership. 

“It grew me in a way I wasn’t expecting. There is a large focus on brotherhood,” said Brown. “By joining I gained more creative and business-minded people to bounce ideas off of.”

This group not only schooled her on marketing techniques but also became a family she could rely on for support.

“Howard loyalty goes crazy,” said Brown.

She discovered this for the first time two years ago when she announced her campaign to join the Sephora Squad. Brown made it to semifinals but did not make the official cut.

“It kind of discouraged me from asking to be nominated for the American Influencer Awards, but I decided to push myself and I made it,” said Brown.

She won the Emerging Creative Makeup Artist of the year at the third American Influencer Awards presented by MGM and hosted by Frankie Grande and Kandee Johnson on December 6, 2020. The show was streamed on AIAawards.com and YouTube, honored influencers and creators for their inspiring work across makeup, hair, skincare, nails, and more on social media platforms. 

The awards are powered by the USA TODAY NETWORK and coordinated with the American Influencer Association. The winners were selected through a public voting period from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31, with more than 4.5 million votes cast.

Her followers on Instagram, known as “the rag dolls,” her Psi Tau family, and Howard friends are beyond elated that she is investing her innovation in such a creative field. Her originality has solidified her as a staple when it comes to emerging makeup artists.