Recently, I've had the opportunity to interview one of my favorite makeup artists, Felicia La Tour. I first discovered Felicia on Instagram a few years back and I instantly fell in love with her energy (and her tattoos!) just through her posts. Since following her throughout her career, she has only gotten better. Now a mom, Felicia continues to be a successful makeup artist while also keeping a positive aura that will keep anyone engaged. During this interview, you will get to learn more about Felicia's career, motherhood, her mental health journey, and what she considers to be the best part of being a woman. Her story is very relatable and has an important message that any woman can relate to.
Where were you born and raised? What has the experience been like?
I was born in California. I’ve lived in California my whole life but I grew up in Northern California and now I’ve started my makeup career in Southern California when I was 19. I just feel like I’m part of California as a whole.
When did you decide that you wanted to become a freelance makeup artist and turn it into a career?
At 19 is when I decided, “okay, you can make money doing this if you really want to hop in.” I grew up in a city where a lot of people are just like, “you’re a doctor, you’re just a nurse, you’re a firefighter.” Not a lot of people are too artistic so I didn’t know the possibilities of being a freelance artist and taking on that journey. At 19 was when I was like, “okay, school is not for me” and I really enjoyed doing makeup so let me just run with it.
What keeps you inspired?
Honestly, I think life keeps me inspired. I’m in love with human faces obviously because I do makeup. I think trees, colors, going to yoga, my lifestyle, and just me living and being able to breathe inspires me. I think that you can find creativity in so many things that are around you if you are open and willing to see them. But yea, I stay inspired by everything.
What woman or women have been major influences and inspirations in your life?
I think my mother-in-law is a very big part of my life, especially in my mental health journey. She has helped me so much with my mental health and getting all that situated in order to be an advocate for that. It’s something that helps me stay even more creative and more inspired.
I think Oprah is obviously the bomb.com. She’s very into health and consciousness. She’s very into business… everything I’m about and being such a positive force and a positive voice within the black community for women. I think we've all watched her when we were younger. A mom, an auntie, or somebody. From a music perspective, I think India.Arie and Lauryn Hill. I kind of feel like they’re my older sisters even though they have no idea, probably, who I am. I have a younger sister and I didn’t always have someone that understood the journey of just being a black woman in the business and being in love and loving your craft. They hit every single part of life through their music so if there’s a day that I’m going through it with my baby daddy or something, I can turn on one of their songs and I feel like it’s my big sister that’s talking to me.
So, I feel like with my family, it would be my mother-in-law, I feel like Lauryn Hill and India.Arie are my sisters that give me advice, and then Oprah is like another mom or an auntie that gives you even more advice from a business perspective. I think it hits every avenue.
You are a mother to your beautiful daughter, Peace. What has being a first time mother been like for you?
Honestly, being a first time mom, I’m having such a good time. I love being a mom. It’s crazy because me having Peace also helped me to understand my mental health journey because after I had her I went through really, really bad postpartum depression. Depression was always something that was kind of already floating around within my physical body but I just didn’t understand it and I kind of swept it under the rug.
Me having unmasked what I was going through, forced me to deal with and helped me figure out the answers of “why am I depressed” and “why am I sad?” I think that’s also why I touch on mental health a lot because it is something that I think the black community needs to talk about more and also just me within my family. A lot of my family members deal with it so its been a blessing to be a mom because it has helped me get to know me on another level, but also, it’s so fun! I literally feel like I get to be a kid all over again and I’m a big kid. I’m very silly, very funny, very creative and she’s the same exact thing. It just lets me know that I’m doing something right. But it’s so funny because you get to build your own little human being and you get to see the things that you need to work on to maybe be a better person. Let’s say for instance, I’m having a day and I’m being impatient and I’m being impatient with her. It’s like, “okay, maybe I’m lacking in the area of patience.” So, it gives you space to be real with yourself if you’re willing to look in the mirror like, “alright, it’s time to turn up and let’t get right,” you know what I mean?
I’m glad you touched on the postpartum depression because that was something I wanted to talk to you about. About a year ago, you posted a video on your Youtube channel on “How to beat depression & suicidal attempts.” You’ve stated that you’ve experienced postpartum depression after the birth of Peace and even attempted suicide. Just take me back to what that time was like for you.
I think around that time, I was just very sad. I would look at my life and from the outside looking in it’s like I have this super, awesome career with the help of God and with the help of the people that are around me that believe in me. I have this beautiful daughter, I have this wonderful fiancé, just all of these things. I have this great support group but something inside of myself was missing. Something wasn’t clicking. I would beat myself up, I would push myself away, and I didn’t want to hang out with friends, I was very difficult, I was difficult to deal with within my family. I would just push everybody away and that is not my personality. But, I was never a bad mom to Peace. That’s why a lot of people, when you go through postpartum depression, they’re like, “okay, well do you feel like you want to hurt your kid?” I’m like, “girl, NO. That has nothing to do with anything.” I was like “okay, you can’t just be nice to Peace, you have to be nice to everybody else.”
There was just lack of, within my mind and within my body. So then, when I posted that video, I was doing everything that I could do. I went vegan, because I’m like, “okay, maybe it’s the hormones with the animals.” I cut out dairy, I changed my diet, I’m working out… I’m feeling good but it was still temporary happiness, there’s still something that’s not complete. Fast forward to about a year later, which is now, a few months ago, I started working with a holistic doctor and I took a test and she basically said, “there’s so much that your body is not producing which is why you’re unhappy.” First of all, my brain doesn’t create enough serotonin. Serotonin is something that goes off and basically explodes in our brains so that we are happy and I wasn’t producing any of that so it was just this whole entire thing. I figured that out and now I’m with her taking supplements, being holistically treated and I’m so much happier now but I didn’t understand half of it. It took me a long time to take this test that my mother-in-law told me to take. She said, “you have to take it, you’ll find out what you’re not creating.”
I’ve just been on it about women’s health because we beat ourselves up so much, just within… not even just women but I think within the black community, “angry black women,” but when I think about it now, are we really angry black women or are we just black women that don’t have the proper education and the proper resources just to find out what is “wrong” with us? Lack of education is what it really comes down to. I just pride myself on educating myself about that and I’m going to come out more about that part of my story and the whole holistic thing. But, I decided before I speak, let me educate myself so that I’m fully feeling good and I’m not putting out information that I’m not 100% sure about. I gave myself a year to be working with my doctor and so far it has been amazing. Mind you, it’s holistic. It’s everything that has been given to me from the earth. It’s nothing manmade, so that’s even more beautiful.
On another note, I know you’ve worked with many different celebrities, companies, and brands. One of your most noticeable clients is definitely Jhené Aiko. I can tell that you both somewhat share the same positive, loving energy. You both are also mothers to beautiful little girls. What is the experience like working with Jhené. How did you both meet and interact on a daily basis?
Well the funny thing is, I’ve been a fan of Jhené since I was in middle school, like, B2K days. I tell her all the time, “girl, I’m a real fan.” I’m not afraid to voice that to her by any means because I feel like she’s like a sister. Peace calls her “auntie Je Je Ay” and we have a really good bond. I’m very comfortable talking to her about anything. Speaking of depression and mental health, we’re just very open in communication.
The crazy thing is, being that I was a fan of her for a long time, I remember I was pregnant with Peace and I was driving down the street and I was listening to one of her songs and I was like, “you know what, one day I’m going to work with Jhené Aiko. I’m going to master her look and I’m going to be her main makeup artist.” Also, her management team knows Peace’s father and I reached out to him and I’m like, “don’t say anything, I’m just letting you know that I’m putting it into the universe.” I wanted it to happen organically because that’s just the type of person that I am, I didn’t want it to be forced. I wanted us to just really vibe. Before this point of having Jhené as a client, I’ve worked with so many different celebrities and if we don’t vibe, I’m not doing it because I’m way too close in your space for us to not be equally stoked. I’m not saying I’m above but just realizing the importance of energy because it’s such a personal interaction.
A couple months later, they reached out and said, “hi, we’re part of Jhené Aiko’s team and she’s looking for a makeup artist for a video shoot. We would love to test you out.” I went and did the video shoot and at first I was a little shy and then I was just like, “okay girl before I leave I have to let you know I’ve been the biggest fan of you since forever and I’m so happy to be here.” I’ve never done that with any artist but I am a big fan and it was a big deal. Also, when I was pregnant, I was manifesting this to happen so my spirit was telling me, “this is what you’re going to do.” After that, she told her other manager that she wanted me to stick around and since then, we’ve just been building from there and its almost been three years. I see her as a sister. That’s family and anytime I have a client, I always think of them as like I’m their mom and I’m taking care of them because I’m making them so beautiful and in their space but I feel like she’s my little, big, baby sister if that makes any sense at all.
How do Peace and Nami (Jhené's daughter) interact?
They’re really funny. Peace is like, “Mommy, I wanna hang out with Nami. Where’s Nami? I wanna listen to Né Né’s song.” She really LOVES them. I told Jhené, “I don’t know what you and Peace had going on before you came to earth as human beings but she’s obsessed with you. Their interaction is really cute and Nami is super smart too so I love when Peace is around her so they can play, be creative, and be kids. I like when she’s around good kids and good people.
What is your favorite part about being a woman and what does being a strong, independent business woman mean to you?
My favorite part about being a woman is — it’s such a very good question because that’s something that I’m learning right now. I think today, my answer would be… my favorite part about being a woman is the power that we hold. I’m noticing that we literally have all the power. I’m not coming from a feminist perspective but I’m really recognizing as women, we’re tight as f—k. We make kids, we’re the ones who hug, love, embrace, and smile. We are love, we are the epitome of what makes this sh-t go ‘round. That’s my favorite part about being a woman, that discovery part, understanding who we are.
I think what it means to be an empowered woman is self realization. Self realization is when you have power to do anything you want to do, whether it be to be at peace with five things in your pocket or the self realization of, “I’m a super dope makeup artist and I want to reach that goal that seems five miles away.” It’s just the realization of self so that you can do anything and be powerful and recognize your power.
Keep up with Felicia La Tour on her website, Instagram, and Youtube channel.