I would love to meet a genie. Or find a magic lamp. Whatever. I’d wish for Claudia Mejerle Rogers to be my forever hair stylist and makeup artist. I know it’s a bit of a vain request but really, how many of us have mastered bronzer and a blowout? Without the straightening iron, I may or may not strongly resemble a poodle. But Claudia has the art down pat, with a stunning aesthetic and a seriously refreshing approach. Oh, and she’s super humble about her mad skills, so you have to love that, too. So in the spirit of November, thank goodness for hair styling products and Claudia!
NAME Claudia Mejerle Rogers
LOCATION Atlanta, GA
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND The University of Georgia, Degree in Advertising
COMPANY Claudia Mejerle
Tell me a bit about your work & how you got started. Goodness, it has been such an adventure to get to today. After graduating from The University of Georgia, I worked in account management for a marketing firm. It was a great way to learn business and to use my advertising degree. Within the first few years of being out of school, a lot of girls I knew were getting married and reached out to me for makeup and hair help for their big day knowing I had a love for beauty. Before I knew it, my weekends were full of hair and makeup for weddings. I felt encouraged to give my love for makeup and hairstyling more attention and grow a business doing just that. So I left my job in marketing to pursue a career as a makeup artist/hair stylist. I really didn’t have a clear plan as to how I was going to go about growing a business. Things just evolved naturally through being open to every opportunity, meeting new people and working really hard. Over the past several years I have grown from my beginning in doing weddings to branching out to commercial, editorial, promotional, corporate, fashion, beauty and portrait shoots. I continue to be open to whatever may be next!
Makeup is an incredible medium with endless possibilities. How would you describe your aesthetic? Where do you draw inspiration? I love beautiful, wearable makeup. I appreciate trends and creativity and playing with outrageous ways to apply products where the makeup really makes a statement. But I think the best makeup is done when someone looks at you and says “you look beautiful”—not “your makeup looks beautiful”. I think well blended, natural, glowy makeup is my strength. I love when makeup becomes part of the skin and doesn’t appear to sit on the surface like a mask. I find great fulfillment in making someone look like the best version of their self.
You have a serious knack for creating stunning hairstyles (the braids!). When you do both makeup & hair for a client, how does one influence the other? I am really grateful that I somehow have the ability to do both hair and makeup. I feel like I can really create a look by being able to do both. And hair absolutely influences the makeup and vice versa. Typically, if the hair is soft and romantic, the makeup will be too. But sometimes it’s fun to create contrast and pair that type of hairstyle with slightly edgier, grungier makeup. So really, the look and feel of the hair is carried throughout the makeup, or it’s just the complete opposite. Of course, there are no rules because hair and makeup is an art and there is no “right” way to do things. It’s all about playing with different looks and seeing which suits your style, wardrobe and the occasion.
What is your best tip for balancing your work schedule and personal life? When I first started my business, I thought “Yay! I am going to have such an awesome work/life balance now that I work for myself! I am going to have so much free time!” Wrong. Balancing my business and personal life is such a challenge because the two are so intertwined. What I do for work is such a huge part of me and the people that I work with feel more like friends than colleagues. It is really hard to turn off work and just rest and be present with my husband, friends or even just by myself. My best tip for establishing some balance is to learn how to say “no”. I definitely have not mastered this—I am still learning, but I know it is what I have to do to establish and maintain balance between work and my personal life. It has taken some time for me to get to this point because when you start a new business, you will say “yes” to every possible opportunity that comes your way. But after you have become a bit more established and you have more work than you have time for, you have the freedom and ability to say “no”. It’s something you have to learn to do. At first you feel like you’re doing something wrong or like you are lazy. I have finally realized I can’t do everything and I definitely can’t do everything well. I need to reserve my energy for work that matters. So, the work either needs to pay well or be a strong portfolio piece or fulfill a creative desire. Ideally, the shoot/job/project fulfills all three criteria. Unfortunately, making money is the priority, but when I can make money and satisfy a creative desire at the same time, I feel like I have struck gold.
What is the hardest lesson you’ve learned since branching out on your own? Your greatest moment? I can’t think of one particularly hard lesson I have learned. Literally, every single job I am on teaches me at least one smaller lesson. Everything from something I should discuss up front with a client to a better way to apply a product. I never feel like I have “made it” and figured everything out. I keep waiting for that moment, but I am guessing that’s never going to happen and I will always be learning and adapting.
My greatest moment…again, I can’t really think of this one particular amazing moment. But I am overwhelmed with gratitude and joy that I have had several great moments since I started my business. It’s always a great moment when someone gives you positive feedback. Compliments, “thank yous” and appreciation for my work will never get old. I have had some amazing moments on set where I am jumping for joy on the inside (and sometimes I am actually jumping up and down) with excitement for how awesome a model is looking on set while he/she is being shot by the photographer. Receiving visible proof of work (images and video clips) that I have done and that I am proud of is beyond rewarding. It’s a reminder that I am doing what I love and I ain’t so bad at it. Also, I have gotten to meet some of my most favorite people through my job and have gotten to meet some famous folks I admire on set. I am grateful for all of these smaller exciting moments that make my job really fulfilling.
Let’s go back in time a few years. What advice would you give yourself on the topic of entrepreneurship? I would have stressed to myself the importance of establishing boundaries and a routine. When everyday is different, it is particularly challenging to create some sort of rhythm. I am still trying to master this, but I wish I had really known from day one how much more organized, efficient and calm I would be if I did a little bit of something everyday to reach a goal rather than letting things pile up.
Fast-forward five years. Where do you hope to see yourself? I have made it a goal over the past year to start doing beauty tutorials. And have I done that? No, danggit. It is something I really have a passion for, but have not made a priority. It’s like I keep waiting for it to magically happen. I really love photography and video—I don’t have the talent to create it, but I want to partner with someone(s) who is excited about my vision and helps me make it happen. Enough of the excuses and just do it already, Claudia! So hopefully, in a few years, I will be blogging, putting tutorials out regularly and will have some sort of following.
Doing makeup is not something that comes naturally to everyone. I, for one, have never mastered the art of eye shadow. As a bona fide expert, what quick & easy tip would you share when it comes to makeup? If your makeup is well blended, it probably works. You can probably pull off a shade of foundation that’s a little too dark or a brightly colored eye shadow if it is well blended. And I tell women this and sometimes I still have a blank stare because this still doesn’t make sense. But basically, if you have worked the product into the skin where there are no lines, streaks or edges of where the product was applied, you’re good to go.
What is your favorite quote on beauty? This is more a quote on creativity, than beauty specifically, that I really love: “To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong” -Joseph Chilton Pearce
Guilty pleasure? Oh goodness, I love some trash TV. Reality TV is something I can laugh at and not have to think too hard about. The Bachelor, Bachelorette, Real Housewives, Millionaire Matchmaker…ugh, I am sad.
Go-to product? Armani Luminous Silk Foundation. It’s liquid gold.
Cake or pie? DONUT.
If not Atlanta, where? Seattle or somewhere else beautiful in the Pacific Northwest.
Words to live by? Ok, the words I would like to live by: “Just do it”. I am such a dreamer and planner that I am often paralyzed just by thinking about an idea or plan that I have a hard time putting it into action.
Photo 1: Ali Harper; Photo 2: Kathryn McCrary; Photos 3 & 6: Mary Caroline Mann; Photo 4: Rustic White Photography; Photo 5: Elizabeth Messina