Armenian-American makeup artist Angee Garibyan is a bright example of how everyone should follow their dreams. Her story is very inspiring. Today, Angee is a celebrity makeup artist, with names like actress Jenny McCarthy and former Destiny's Child member Michelle Williams on her client list. Although there were times when no one believed in her dreams, advising her to choose a more "serious" profession.
About her long path and difficult experience Angee Garibyan shares in her interview for our column ArmenՅԱՆs.
Angee was born in Abovyan, Armenia. She lived in that city for eight years, then her family decided to move to the United States.
"It was difficult for me to move because as a kid, I was very close with my cousins and did not want to move away from them. It was the early 90’s, so things were bad in Armenia and my uncles wanted to bring us to the US. I remember everything in Armenia, and felt like being there until the age of 8 gave me the best childhood I could have ever asked for. I truly wish my kids could grow up in Armenia as well", she told NEWS.am STYLE.
After moving, the makeup artist visited Armenia twice. According to Angee, she experienced two different feelings during these trips.
"First time I came I was 16 and the next time 21 years old. At 16 I came with my mom and it was a different experience. I thought I remembered everything, but things had changed so much. It almost felt like everything was smaller and just overall different. We visited our old home and the building made me want to cry because of the living conditions. It was very heartbreaking. When I was 21, I visited with my 20-year-old cousin who had never seen Armenia. It was different to be an adult in Armenia and it just took my heart. My last day there, I cried all night because I didn’t want to return to the states. I was really serious about staying there, but I couldn’t be away from my family".
Despite living in the States for a long time, Angee has preserved her Armenian language. She says it is a credit to her parents, who have very strict rules at home.
"My parents never allowed my brother and me to speak English. We would be punished for not speaking Armenian and that is all we spoke. Even today, I only speak Armenian to my parents and my kids also have the same rules apply to them in my house. They have to speak Armenian, preserve Armenian culture and attend Armenian school along with their everyday American school. We listen to Armenian music, eat and cook Armenian food, do bbqs with our friends, etc. I can easily say we have created a little Armenia for ourselves, as we live in an area in LA, where 80% if not more are Armenians".
As for her interest in makeup, she recalls that it began when she was a child, when she followed her mother's work.
"My mom was and still is a hairstylist. I grew up in her salon, always admiring the transformation women went through and the confidence it gave them. I always loved makeup and remember the second I began working, my first purchase was a bunch of makeup from MAC cosmetics. I would always do my makeup and it made me feel so good. But when I said I wanted to do makeup, my parents did not approve. My mom said you have to go to school and be a lawyer or a doctor. Well, I used to also sing at the time and was doing backup vocals for all the famous Armenian singers, like Armenchik, Silva Hakopyan, Razmik Amyan and so on. That was already enough for them to keep my busy along with school. So, out of respect for them I went to CSUN university and got my degree in English Creative Writing. I still wanted to do makeup, but I knew they didn’t approve. After graduating, I got married, meanwhile studying for my LSAT, which would then lead me to law-school. When I found out I was pregnant, that was the end of Law School for me. So while I was pregnant, I went to a 4 week quick makeup course at MUDD and got my certificate and began my Instagram account. Everyone made fun of me, thought I was crazy, and family including my husband were mad about my decision. I kept pushing and did not care for the first time in my life about anyone’s opinion. I knew that I did not want to work at a salon, although eventually I did work in my moms salon for a bit to gain clients. Then I branched out on my own, worked at home and travelled to my clients for a few years".
Angee says she has always dreamed of working with celebrity clients, but she couldn't even imagine how quickly her dreams would become a reality.
"The celebrities and the things I get to be a part of today is all God’s doing. I prayed and I prayed hard for my dreams, but also for God’s plans to take place in my life. The first celebrity I ever worked with was Crystal Hunt. She is a soap opera star from 'One Life to Live' and 'Guiding Light' and an amazing human being. We did glam for Red Carpet, photoshoots and other fun events! Then, of course Jenny McCarthy! Jenny and Michelle Williams are God sent! These two women are truly lights in this world and I feel so blessed that they give me the opportunity to work with them".
Interesting fact: Jenny McCarthy found Angee on Instagram about four years ago when she was looking for a makeup artist in Los Angeles. But Angee only found out about it when she started following the actress herself one day.
"When I realized she was already following me, I lost my mind! Of course I had to message her and say how much I loved her and would love to do her glam one day! (Never in a million years thought she would actually see that message!). A month later, I got a text from her assistant to do her makeup in LA and I had no idea what it was for. That day after I finished, she fell in love with her makeup and immediately hired me for The Masked Singer, which was going into Season 2. She is one of the most generous, hard working, amazing, talented human beings and the rest is history. We have built a relationship not only in makeup but as friends, and I am now the CEO of Products for her cosmetics line Formless Beauty.
As for Michelle Williams, let me start off by saying, I was probably one of the biggest Destiny’s child fans growing up and I loved Michelle, as a singer and for her faith in God. When she was on The Masked Singer as a contestant, (I knew from her voice right away! And was so excited!) She was following me at this time and we had a few conversations back and forth about her amazing performances! When she came back for an appearance on the show before Covid, she requested that I do her make up and I did on set. She loved it and after that she has continuously hired me when in LA. As far as Jenny, I am her personal make up artist, so no matter where she travels, I go with her if glam is needed".
Angee says she always talks about Armenia with her celebrity clients. She is always happy to tell them about the history and culture of Armenia.
"They know I’m Armenian. I have discussed Armenia with Jenny, the culture and about how beautiful Armenia is. I have spoken to her a lot about what’s going on as well. No matter who I meet, one of the first topics when introducing myself is my roots and where I come from".
But when it comes to the most memorable moment of her career, Angee always finds it difficult to name just one.
"I can’t really pick a memorable moment in my career, because every moment is so special for me. Simply because I feel so beyond blessed to be doing what I love, I don’t take anyone or any second for granted. I have worked with those I mentioned, along with Donnie Wahlberg, Will Arnett, (for male grooming) Christine Chiu, and a few other people who are well known but not really "Hollywood famous". One moment I can however pick is when I did Jenny’s makeup for The Emmy’s where she was hosting on behalf of Fox. It was a surreal moment for me, because I always see these award shows on TV but to be a part of it was something indescribable. On the whole, there are a lot of people I would love to work with in the future. I feel like I am just starting and have so many more dreams to fulfill if in God’s will for me. I want to work with people who have good energy and good intentions. I like peace and remove myself from any work related situation that is drama filled or toxic. A couple people I would like to work with are Adrienne Bailon, Khloe Kardashian, Candace Cameron Bure, and really anyone else meant for me".
As for Armenian celebrities, Angee did makeup for Iveta Mukuchyan when the singer was in Los Angeles. She says it was easy and fun to work with Iveta.
"I have done her concert make up and many photoshoot and appearances here. She is a sweetheart and knows what she likes, and I love that. She is very nice and I always had a very pleasant experience with her! She loves glam and so do I, so our styles matched in makeup and it was easy to work with her. In general, if you are asking about Armenian celebrities and their make up styles, I love them! I love that most of them like Iveta, experiment with different looks and aren’t afraid to think outside the box. I also love Lilit Hovhannisyan’s overall style and makeup! I feel like she can do no wrong when it comes to makeup looks and style".
Of course, we couldn't miss the opportunity to ask the famous makeup artist about fall and winter makeup trends.
"I am all about the dark reds, burnt orange, olive, mustard and all shades of tan and brown. My personal favorite autumn look is a bold brown lip and brown smokey eye. I actually recently did a youtube tutorial on this! However, I feel like bolder colors are trending overall, which is something different for everyone. My personal preference is a brown bold lip with minimal skin make up and just mascara for eyes!".
Photos from Angee Garibyan's Instagram
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