We had the good fortune of connecting with Tiesha Williams and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tiesha, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
For as long as I can remember I have always been drawn to the creative process of Art as well as Entrepreneurship. As a young girl I was in love with (and still am) the idea of being able to provide a beautiful life for myself and for my family through doing what I love, music, makeup artistry and entrepreneurship. At the time, I had no idea that wanting to work for myself, create art and businesses that I love and get paid very well doing so, is Entrepreneurship. I did not realize the amount of risk that comes along with being a Creative and an Entrepreneur. All I knew was that successful people in the world are not afraid. They put themselves out there and they are not afraid to hear the word “no”.
I tested this theory at the age of 8. I sat in my room on a Saturday morning thinking to myself, “I want to buy candy, but I do not have enough money in my piggy bank. How can I make money? I’m only 8…Hmmm. What am I good at that someone would pay me for?”. It did not take long before the light bulb went off. “CLEANING! I am excellent at cleaning! But who can I clean for and what would I clean? I can’t clean strangers’ houses, mommy said not to go into strangers’ homes.” After a few moments passed another light bulb went off, “CARS! I can wash cars because that is an outside chore!” I set out into the neighborhood with my bucket, sponges, towels, and dish soap in hand, ready to make cold hard candy cash! I knocked on a few neighbor’s doors’ until finally someone answered. I said, “Hi my name is Tiesha, may I please wash your car for $8?” They quickly turned me down. You would think at the impressionable age of 8 hearing “No.” would have broken my spirit, but it didn’t. It lit a fire under me to not only keep going, but to add a less expensive service just incase the next neighbor said no also. So, I go and knock on the next door with an even more positive attitude and say, “Hi my name is Tiesha, may I please wash your car for $8?” The neighbor replies, “I’m so sorry sweetheart, but I don’t have a car.” With a huge smile I replied, “Ok, may I please sweep your porch for $0.50 then?” She said, “Yes of course!” I ran home, got the broom, and did the best porch sweep I had ever done, and she paid me! That weekend I made around $12 washing my first car and sweeping multiple porches! Back then I had no idea that I was taking a risk, putting myself out there to be rejected and learning (on the spot) how to pivot, readjust and KEEP GOING after hearing, “No.” This lesson translated into my adult life and allowed me to not be afraid of failure or taking risks.
Upon graduating from high school, I took my first real “big girl” risk by dropping out of college (after only months in) to join an RnB girl group and pursue one of my biggest dreams, Music. That risk led me to later being signed by an independent record label, Harmony House Entertainment. My group members and I went on to tour with American neo soul/RnB singer-songwriter, Goapele. We performed background vocals on Whitney Houston’s last project, the movie Sparkle. And we worked with Grammy award winning producers, Chuck Harmony and Rico Love.
A couple years later the group dissolved which allowed me to pursue another dream of mine, Makeup Artistry. After interviewing for a permanent position with M.AC Cosmetics, I was devastated to only be offered an on-call position. “On-call is not guaranteed, how am I going to pay my bills?” I thought. To much of my dismay, I decided to take the position. Shortly after taking the job I started my freelance makeup business and so many other amazing opportunities have since followed.
Risk taking and of course God’s guidance is how I got to where I am today. There is no great reward without great risk. Taking risks has stretched me far beyond what I ever thought I was capable of. It has allowed me to be in spaces with Artists who I’ve admired from afar who are now considered my peers. I would not be strong, resilient, resourceful, and creative if not for taking these risky leaps of faith. Each risk leads me from one steppingstone to the next which allows me to continuing elevating my artistry skills and my business. Never stop taking risks, it is the unofficial compass that will guide you to your dreams becoming your REALITY!
What are you most proud of in your career thus far and what has been the most challenging part of your journey?
Thus far I am most proud of starting my freelance business from the ground up and finding my esthetic as an Artist. I have always loved doing makeup, but I never thought I would make a career out of it because I could not afford to go to Cosmetology School. When friends of mine would say, “You’re so great, you should apply for M.A.C!” I was flattered but did not think it was possible because I had no official training. To now be a successful Artist whose work is being recognized is amazing.
I love creating editorial and beauty content that appeals to everyday women. It’s great to catch the eyes of a celebrity who wants you to glam them, but I am very passionate about helping real everyday women reach an elevated version of themselves through beauty education and content creation. I am so proud that I have figured out my purpose and how I want my brand, Tiesha Williams Artistry, to contribute to the world.
This journey has been incredibly hard to say the least. There have been some amazing moments and some extremely hard moments. Being an Artist is hard, but being a Black Artist is even harder. I have had to remain professional in situations where I was not treated fairly and discovered artists of different races and gender, being paid more than me even though I had/have a stronger skillset and more experience. I have had close friends (now ex friends), take advantage of my artistry and genuinely be upset if I would not work for cheap or free. I have had to fight to be paid rates that I deserve and constantly explain the why behind it.
On top of all those challenges, it has been a never-ending hustle and grind. The grind NEVER stops, but I must admit I love it! That love and passion for what I do has been the driving force that has always helped me get through those challenging moments. Along with my girls Zahrya and Nisie’s constant support.
This entire journey has taught me so much about myself. It has helped me grow into more than just a great Makeup Artist, it has helped me evolve into a businesswoman as well. I have learned to be strong and to be assertive. I have learned to walk away from people and jobs who do not respect my craft and business. And I have learned my worth as an Artist and to never compromise that. Most importantly, I have learned to never stop learning. By always keeping myself in the mindset of “I don’t know everything”, it keeps me very humble and keeps the world of Makeup new and fresh for me. I learn something new every single day and I’m inspired by something new all the time.
My hope and goal is to inspire as many people around the world as I can with my story and my Artistry. I want the world to know that my brand and story are meant to inspire, uplift, teach and touch in the most positive and genuine way. In conclusion, I hope that my story and my brand will inspire anyone who has doubt to take risks and TRY. It will put you on the path to your divine purpose in this world!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Since LA has any and everything one could think of to do, the options are endless which is so amazing! During a weeklong trip we would most definitely have to do an Escape Room! Not only are they challenging and great for the mind but it’s also a great bonding experience. Hiking Runyon Canyon and Eagle Rock Canyon because we love hiking. Thrift store shopping in Beverly Hills, spend a day at the Grove, Universal Studios, and Santa Monica Pier. I would try to score tickets to a taping of The Real as well as some good underground music shows. Hearing live music at The Sayers Club is mandatory! Sunday Brunch at the Omni Hotel, Saddle Ranch, STK, Roscoes Chicken and Waffles, Craig’s, and my favorite whole in the wall Thai place, JakkaPat just to name a few yummy eateries I love. Finally, we love to relax! Doing nothing together at the beach is also a great time for us. I’m not really into the whole being seen with or chilling with celebs thing so for me, experiencing new things with people I love and spending time with them are THE MOST fun and interesting things to do. Meeting new people during those experiences is a bonus!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are many contributing factors and people who I can attribute my success to, but there are two very key people I must shout out, Nisie Palacio and Zahrya Geban. These incredible and creative women have helped me take my artistry, business, and most importantly my mindset to new levels. They took my hand and showed me things in the makeup industry that I didn’t know. They have educated me tremendously and whatever they didn’t know we learned together. They have supported my business by bringing me new clients as well as inviting me to freelance with them on various jobs. They have supported me emotionally through the struggles of being a freelancer and business owner and encouraged me to keep going through those dark times. Zahrya and Nisie are very important people in my personal and professional life. I would not be where I am today without their generosity, selflessness to help me and their genuine love and encouragement! Thank you ladies, you are my angels!