Over the past few years, the New York City-based British makeup artist Mimi Quiquine has taken the fashion and beauty industries by storm with her creative use of color on the runway or in vibrant images for print glossies and ad campaigns. She’s worked with fashion and beauty brands such as Puma, No Sesso and Milk Makeup. And, her celebrity clientele includes the renowned jazz artist Esperanza Spalding and popular rappers A$AP Ferg and Shygirl. So it’s only befitting that the recipient of Refinery29’s 2020 Most Innovative Makeup Artist award would want to establish her own beauty brand. Last year, she founded Maison Quiquine, which offers beautifying skin enhancers such as luminous balms and face oils. EBONY caught up with the maquillage and skin magician and dug into the inspiration behind her artistry and her latest venture as a beauty entrepreneur.
EBONY: How did you get your start in the beauty world?
Mimi Quiquine: I was living in Paris and found myself with a strong desire to make my childhood dream of becoming a makeup artist come true. I ended up moving home to London—that’s where I started assisting—and my career as a makeup artist really began.
What was the turning point in your career?
In the year leading up to the coronavirus pandemic, I had this deep urge to spend more time on myself and with my family—to deepen my foundation in this world. Once COVID-19 really hit, I began to reassess my life and prioritize things. I’ve met a lot of incredible women in my lifetime, and a common pattern I’ve noticed is a fear of taking time away from our careers to focus on ourselves or our families or on creating a family or [exploring] a personal passion. I had been a major victim of this ideology. But, during the pandemic, I was afforded the time to see that I could do all the things I had wanted to do. It was just a matter of believing and executing. So now I have my beauty line—and a baby girl due this month.
What made you want to establish your own brand?
I have always had a deep fascination with making my own concoctions, and grew up in a household that had a very holistic approach to caring for oneself. During my nearly 10 years of experience in the beauty industry, I had been asked countless times about skin care advice and what products I use. It got to a point where I felt that it could benefit others if I shared what I’d learned and the products I’d created for myself.
How would you describe your own beauty look?
It’s natural. I like to look casually groomed. I don’t wear much makeup—just a bit of brow gel, maybe a tiny bit of concealer (if I haven’t slept enough), and lip gloss.
When you’re not beating faces, what do you do in your free time?
I spend a lot of time with my husband and my dogs. We love to go on hikes and just get out of the city. I’m also heavily into films, so any opportunity I have to turn on my projector and watch a movie, I definitely take it. Most of my money goes into traveling. I have made it my mission to see as much of the world as possible. It’s such a blessing and a vital part of who I am. A lot of my inspiration for my work and my business has come through my travels. The excitement I feel when I go somewhere new is unmatched. It’s been a consistent thing in my life from as far back as I can remember; it feels almost as if my only connection to being a child is when I’m traveling.
What’s your favorite product from your line?
I love them all! They all have a purpose in my life. But, if I had to pick just one, I would say the Truth Serum face oil. It’s so lightweight and nourishing, it smells delicious, and it has important healing properties. It leaves you with a beautiful glow, is 100 percent natural, and is made by my own hands.
Where do you see yourself and your brand in five years?
I will be living between New York City and the Caribbean. I have spent my entire life going to Guadeloupe, the Caribbean island that my mother is from. I will use my time there to keep strong connections with my family, reset from the chaos of the city, and rest—because it’s essential. My new priority, of course, will be caring for my daughter and being the best inspiration I can be. My brand is an homage to my mother and a legacy for my daughter. I see my company going international and spreading knowledge about skin care as widely as possible.