When it comes to beats, editorial makeup artist Jaleesa Jaikaran likes skin to look like skin. And she should know as she garnered her tutelage under the grand empress of maquillage, the ultimate completion perfector—the legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath. You can catch the work of Jaikaran in haute fashion publications such as Vogue, Elle, Glamour, and L’Officiel. When Jaikaran is not behind the scenes on set, you can usually catch her in front of the camera filming content for her YouTube channel or behind the mic dropping all sorts of knowledge on all things beauty on her podcast.
Below, EBONY caught up with the fresh New York-based beat master and grilled her on her journey on becoming a makeup star.
EBONY: When did you realize you wanted to work within the fashion and beauty industry?
Jaleesa Jaikaran: I was living in Trinidad at the time and started buying magazines every time I got paid. I first fell in love with photography, then the gorgeous clean beauty makeup. After that, I became obsessed with learning about the industry and how to get in.
What’s the deciding factor in accepting a job?
There are so many, but most of all is if I want to do it. I always want to show up in the spaces I believe in—whether it’s the project, the creatives, or friends that I want to support.
You have a YouTube channel and podcast. What made you shift into that digital space?
Well, I started my YouTube channel over 10 years ago when I first became interested in makeup. I wasn’t a makeup artist when I started but as time progressed I shifted my focus on developing my professional career and with that I wanted to share the stories of people that I met along my journey as a Caribbean woman navigating such a huge industry.
What are some of your favorite Black-owned brands?
Oh my gosh! How long is this article going to be? Haha. Uoma Beauty for starters; Ami Colé, 54 Thrones; Pattern Beauty , and Range Beauty. I obviously love these brands because of they are quality products but I stan the founders; they are all inspiring and changing the beauty industry one step at a time.
What job did you work that you would consider life-changing?
There are two that I would consider life-changinge, but one of them wasn’t actually a job. It was a test shoot some friends and I put together that eventually landed in Paper magazine. The shoot celebrated Black beauty and different shaped afros. That job put my work in front of a lot of people and essentially booked me PMG terms and clients.
The second one was when MAC Cosmetics came to my apartment during quarantine (safely of course!) to shoot an ad. It opened my mind to the possibilities as a creative and really was only the beginning of me being talent on set.
Who are some clients you’d like to work with in the future?
There are a few celebrities that I personally love their style and beauty choices and frankly just continuing to work with my current clients and going forward with those that align.
Where do you see your brand in the next 10 years?
I’m always going to be in the beauty industry, in some way or the other. I wish I had a crystal ball, but how it manifest itself is sometimes way different than we imagine. I see myself as a beauty pro, sharing my expertise on multiple platforms in front and behind the camera.