Bold with beauty

first_img“It makes you want to watch more,” Aliyah said. “[Seeing them] painting their face in the best way possible makes you want to sit down with a cup of coffee and watch them do their work.”  When Davis is not experimenting and creating different makeup looks or working on photography, they can be found writing in their journal, filming videos or participating in student organizations, like the Black Student Assembly’s Creative Experience, all of which are key passions in their life. “There are a lot of really helpful resources on there for learning the basics of filming and editing. Every time I’m not too sure about something, I just look up a YouTube tutorial, and those definitely help out a lot,” Davis said. “For makeup, I’d say you’ve just got to practice a lot. So I would literally just do makeup at like 3 in the morning.”  Glam, glitter and bold lashes — since the first moment makeup artist and photographer Avery Davis laid eyes on the dramatic painted faces and elongated winged eyeliner integral to drag queen makeup, they have always been attracted to a bold and colorful aesthetic. From both their professional work and personal creative endeavors on YouTube and Instagram, Davis is an icon on campus known for their dark and beautiful works of art, be it through makeup or photography. In the beginning stages of their makeup journey, Davis said that their favorite beauty influencer was Michelle Phan, a pioneer of the YouTube beauty community, who arguably invented the concept of a beauty guru. Some of their favorite content creators on the YouTube platform include Jackie Aina and Miles Jai, both of whom are YouTubers who produce videos, such as wig reviews and foundation range tests, that cater specifically to the Black community’s experience in beauty.  Their makeup rates range from $45 to $60, totaling $80 to $100 if a photoshoot is included, Davis said. When Davis first began delving into makeup, Davis’ family and friends were greatly supportive of their interest in the art form and their self-starter attitude. Gaining rising popularity on their YouTube channel, Davis also eagerly shares their enthusiasm for makeup artistry online through storytimes and “Get Ready With Me” style videos. One of Davis’ goals as an influencer is to be an active role model, encouraging others to disregard hateful opinions and freely express themselves. Photo courtesy of Avery Davis Davis’ self-confidence has allowed them to pursue bold and transformative looks, featuring dramatic eyelashes, reflective glitter and colorful rhinestones. Some of these looks include drag and pride makeup, and tutorials for them can be found on Davis’ YouTube channel. Davis said they are interested in pursuing YouTube as a career if it takes off in the future, but as of now, they use it as a creative outlet to share their passion for makeup and explore content creation. Described by USC alumna Kenya Aliyah, a close friend of Davis, their YouTube videos are almost like ASMR.  Their online presence on Instagram and YouTube has also been met with positive engagement, and  Davis hopes to grow their following to be an inspiration for more makeup enthusiasts.  Aliyah, who has modeled for Davis several times, described the photoshoot process as very professional, yet fun and collaborative. Though Aliyah was new to modeling when she worked with Davis for the first time, they shared creative freedom in order for Davis’ characteristic dark and beautiful aesthetic to shine through. “Sometimes I’ll be like, ‘I want something really smoky,’ or ‘I want the base makeup and face to look really shiny,’ and just go off of that,” Davis said. “But  I don’t have a set goal or look in mind.”   “I did experience having some people who would make unnecessary comments when I was in high school, but also, I didn’t really care, so I was like, ‘Oh, OK,’” Davis said. “But I was also reaching a place where I … stopped listening and caring about what other people think.”  When creating looks, Davis normally waits for some inspiration or chooses to highlight a certain facial feature such as a cut crease eyeshadow look or a glossy lip. “I have a couple goals. One of them would be to almost be on the same level as Pat McGrath [self-made billionare], where it’s like I’m able to participate in runway makeup,” they said. “And even just having a makeup look get published by a really highly established publication … or to just be published in a Hollywood publication — that would be really nice.”center_img One of Davis’ favorite looks is more avant garde.  “Most times I’ll let them take creative freedom because I really trust their judgment,” Evins said. “All issues always come out really amazing, so I plan to just let them do their thing and like come up with their own ideas, because it never fails, honestly.” For aspiring makeup artists and beginner photographers, Davis recommends checking out YouTube.  “I don’t have an audience yet, and [it’s] just people commenting so that’s nice,” Davis said.  As a professional, one of Davis’ most memorable jobs was doing makeup for UMI for her music video, “High School,” released in 2019. For those interested in hiring Davis for freelance makeup and photography work, Davis said they are flexible with monetizing their creativity, prioritizing the art form itself.  A senior majoring in cinema and media studies, Davis serves and centers bold and daring looks on their Instagram, @stayservinglooks. Davis grew up in Compton and has been practicing makeup for about six years. Like many aspiring makeup artists, their journey began out of simple curiosity coupled with the need for a creative outlet to balance the stress of school and express their sense of identity.  “I have no brows, and it’s more of a blue look. And I just really like that one because I think my eyeliner looked really good that day,” Davis said, laughing.   “It was easier for my family to support me because like all of the makeup I had, I bought myself,” Davis said.  Discovering popular beauty gurus on YouTube to learn skills and find inspiration helped Davis gain increasing confidence in their makeup looks. They later decided to dive into the field of photography to capture and share the beauty of their makeup artistry. Branching off into photography inspired Davis to practice professionally and help others in the creative process of sharing their art. USC alumna Ryan Evins has also worked with Davis on album art for her music career and is eager to keep working with them in the future.  “[Davis’ aesthetic] is bold and colorful and has a message behind it — something that you’ve never seen before,” Giná said. “[There’s an] idea and thought behind it, like [each photo] based on the persona that they’re trying to recreate. They love glam, they love lashes, they love glitter, so they’re very expressive.” A future project Davis has in mind is with USC alumna Tiah Giná in a futuristic Afro-centric photoshoot. According to Giná, Davis’ strong suit is their expressiveness and boldness with painting colors and shapes on the face.  “I feel like the beauty of the muse and the photograph [always shines in] every photo I see,” Aliyah said. “I feel like you can really see the person and there’s always like a story behind it.”  Despite the familial support and online encouragement of their 1,501 followers on Instagram, Davis has also encountered some negativity along the way, but it has failed to faze them.last_img read more