Julie Jules is taking the beauty industry by storm. Born in Newark, New Jersey as the daughter of a Haitian immigrant, her journey to the top is nothing short of inspiring. Her talents reflect dazzlingly in her work, and today, as an Emmy-award-winning makeup artist with a myriad of celebrity clients and feature magazine covers under her belt, Jules has proven that dreams really do come true. Read below to see how Jules’ gifts, confidence, fortitude—and the support of her Haitian community—have helped her prove herself as one of the brightest stars in the world of makeup and entertainment.
So tell me, what is your full name?
My full name is Julie Jean Jules.
Wow! So you have a natural celebrity name!
I mean—it’s meant to be! People would always tell me the same thing as a kid, and I think that’s honestly what drove me. At that age, it really made me think, “Oh, maybe I should be great,” like, why should I let the name go to waste?
How long have you worked within the makeup industry?
I’ve been interested in makeup for my entire life, but professionally, I’ve been doing makeup since 2015. It has been almost seven years now.
When did you first realize that you would like to pursue a career in makeup?
I have always loved makeup. Growing up, my mother always did her makeup, and she would always let me play in makeup as well, so I’ve always had a yearning to be around it. Those experiences really developed my passion for makeup, but it wasn’t until I moved to LA that I began to see makeup as a viable career.
At the time, I was living in LA with a friend in her apartment and sleeping on her couch. One day, she explained that one of her friends needed to use her apartment to get their makeup done by an artist, and she asked me to let them in. So, of course, I did, and watching them really set the tone for what I wanted to do with my career. Seeing the makeup artist set up his light and chair and arrange all of his makeup, then hearing them exchange stories and have a good time while he worked—on top of seeing her pay him at the end of their session—the whole experience made me feel like—oh, yes—I want to do that.
In that moment, I could really imagine myself doing that every day: being in makeup, learning new things, and also seeing how I could provide for myself. So that was my lightbulb moment. Before then, I had never personally seen someone get paid to do makeup; I had only ever heard of big-time, celebrity artists having that opportunity, and I didn’t know the steps or pathways to get to that point or even where to start. So everything about that moment was pivotal for me.
Your success story seems to parallel so many others in the sense that you started from the bottom in LA and rocketed your way up to the top from there. Could you share how that experience has impacted you?
I have lived in California since 2009, and I actually moved here with a family friend. You know-how, being Caribbean and having such a strong community if you know another Haitian, or you meet someone from the same island as you, they’re already family? The summer before my senior year of high school, while visiting LA, my friend and I met a Haitian family, and when it was time to go back home, I thought, “You know what? I actually want to stay.” And the family welcomed me completely with open arms. They were like, “Ok, you can stay with us!” And that’s how I initially moved to LA in 2009. I lived with that family in LA for my entire senior year of high school, but my “started from the bottom” story didn’t really come into play until I moved back on my own in 2014—when I was kind of restarting my life again.
Around 2014-2015, I had just returned to Los Angeles after graduating from college, and I was just trying to figure out how to start my life from there. The “sleeping on a friend’s couch” story is one you often hear from creatives, but at that time, I wasn’t even trying to be a creative! I was simply trying to survive, and graduating from college without a plan for how to do so was really difficult. I don’t think that people speak enough about that transition—where you graduate and you’re supposed to be a full-fledged adult with an apartment, a car, a job, insurance, etc. Nobody really sat me down and explained how I could make that happen after graduation, so that led to me moving in with a friend and sleeping on her couch. And I did that for maybe two and a half years with various different people. And you know? I am not ashamed of it.
I am really grateful for that time in my life because it taught me how to be with people in a very, very intimate way. You know how, when you work with someone professionally, you form a relationship with them in a different manner than you would if you knew them strictly personally? Well, my experience taught me how to really get to know, and interact, and just be with people at the core level. And at the same time, it also taught me how to maintain my own goals and aspirations and maintain my own mental space whilst living with another person.
And I am so grateful for all of the friends who opened their homes and lent me a couch or an air mattress when I needed it because without them, I wouldn’t be here today, and I wouldn’t be able to speak to you about everything that’s happened and how all of my dreams have come true. If it wasn’t for that experience, I wouldn’t be here today. So I am really grateful for it.
Speaking of dreams coming true, when did your dreams begin to come to fruition? What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?
My biggest moment of success, for me, was when I was able to sustain myself off of my career in makeup. It didn’t necessarily entail huge magazine covers or doing makeup for supermodels or awards ceremonies. For me, it was truly being able to take care of myself. Being able to pay my rent, being able to eat, and being able to do things based on doing makeup every day—that was when I could definitely say that my dreams had come true.
I didn’t have a large network of friends or associates that could plug me into different opportunities, so I had to do a lot of the footwork for my career myself. I searched on Craigslist for work, and I wasn’t too proud to do any particular job; anywhere that makeup was needed, I was there. So when I finally arrived at that place where I received calls for work based on recommendations, or where a previous client reached back out to work with me again, it really felt like I had accomplished something. I felt like, “Wow, I’ve built a network; I’ve built resources in this city.” For me, that was making it, and that was a really special moment.
Tell us about the time when you received your first celebrity client.
My first celebrity client was Ms. Garcelle Beauvais herself, and oh—it was a dream. The way that everything panned out was something I could have never planned for. It was the type of circumstance where you just had to be ready at the right time, and when you get the call, you just have to go. I was really excited about that moment; meeting her was everything. She was just joining the Housewives of Beverly Hills cast—kind of revamping her career and debuting as the new persona that we see her as now. And so, it was really, really, a great honor for me to be with her on that part of her journey. Ever since we’ve accomplished so many amazing things together, and even though she’s not a makeup artist, she has taught me so much about success. She’s taught me about the business, how to carry myself, how to go after the things that I want, and how to just be an overall really great person and black woman—Haitian woman—in the industry. So meeting her has been everything to me.
Having that support has made all of the difference for me. You can have clients, but at the end of the day, are they pouring into you? Are they including you in opportunities that come their way? That makes all of the difference. Working with Garcelle Beauvais was so impactful because she knew the place that I was in in my career. No one particularly knew me, I wasn’t a big shot, but because someone had recommended me to her, we began to form a relationship, and she has poured into my career since then. I did my first Harper’s Bazaar cover with her, I was able to win a Daytime Emmy for outstanding makeup for my work on The Real with her, and she just really took me in and was like, “Hey, this is what’s out here. This is what’s available to you if you’re ready for it, and if you’re prepared, go after it.” She’s never held back on that, and that’s really a true, true blessing.
She is really a testament to our nature as Caribbean women. We know how to give and how to help. Like, hey, you need this? I’ve got this, and you’ve got that, so how can we make it something? It’s really great.
Speaking of Caribbean women, you mentioned that a lot of your interest in makeup came from watching your mother. How have the experiences that she has shared with you influenced you throughout your career?
My mother moved to New York City from Haiti when she was 16 years old, as many of our parents have. She didn’t know her way around, she didn’t speak English—she didn’t even know what the weather would be like here. She didn’t start with much, but I remember she would always tell us these stories about why she loved makeup so much and why she bought so much of it. Whenever there was a new foundation or a new formula, she was there. I would always be like, you don’t have to have so much makeup! Like, oh my gosh, why are we back here at the makeup counter again? But eventually, she explained that, because she grew up very poor, makeup was not something that was accessible to her. She would see women around her town wearing makeup and looking beautiful, and she too wanted to be like those women, but she couldn’t afford to buy the same items in the store. So she would use what she had around her. She would use coal from the firepit to do a smoky eyelid look, or take rose petals and rub them on her cheek for a rouge effect. Any type of dried dirt, she could use as an eyeshadow, and, you know, hearing that story really intrigued me. I thought, wow, here was this young girl who didn’t have much, but she was so keen on presenting the best version of herself. And I think that’s a true testament to Caribbean people.
We are strong, we are resilient, but at the same time, we’re always going to come clean. Even if it’s a dirty shirt, we’re going to straighten it out and fake it ‘til we make it. There’s not a term for it in the Haitian culture, but I’ve learned that term here: fake it ‘til you make it. And that’s pretty much what she was doing. She was feeling the best that she could until the moment came where she really could provide and do those things for herself.
That always stuck with me, and it always made me feel like makeup is a gift. It’s a gift to be able to put on blue eyeshadow and lashes, go out, and feel like your best self. It’s a gift to be able to change the way that you look and feel. And I don’t take it for granted.
That gift has gotten me this far, and my mom is so happy for me. She remembers telling me those stories, and she always says she never would have thought that her dreams would become this. But I’m always like, yeah mom, you planted the seeds.
How did you feel when you had your big Emmy moment? I’m sure your mind must have been racing back to all of the things that you have learned—especially from your mom.
It was a really great moment. There’s actually a whole other story that’s wrapped up in the Emmy story.
During the time that I was living in LA and trying to get on my feet, there was a time when I worked for Postmates, Instacart—anything that I could do just to get by—and a friend of mine recommended this job called Standing Room Only. It’s a platform that pays you to sit in the studio audience and watch the broadcast shows. So I jumped at the opportunity to do it.
One of the shows that I would sit for was The Real, and I always saw the makeup artists and hairstylists come out in-between breaks and do touch-ups. I remember being so in awe of what they did and wondering how they even were able to have that opportunity. After telling my sister about what I saw, she sent me a list of all of the makeup artists who worked on the show and suggested that I reach out to the people on that list. And of course, I thought that was crazy! I was like, girl, I’m delivering groceries. Let me get my life together.
Years later and full circle, I began working with Garcelle on The Real, and that was huge to me! I could remember being on the other side of things—sitting on the other side in the audience—and to come full circle and being able to work with someone every day who mentors me, is there for me, and uplifts me was already a dream. Now, to be awarded an Emmy on top of that dream, was just wow. The universe is really showing out! I already thought that I made it, but the universe keeps showing out.
After hearing the news about the Emmy, I made sure to fly my mom out so that she could be here with me during the awards ceremony whether I won or not. When we finally heard the news that I had won, we celebrated together and cried, and it was really just a great moment.
She knows everything that I’ve been through. She knows what it took for me to be here. When I won, she told me, “sometimes Hollywood already has their people—the people who get nominated and win every year—but sometimes there’s a moment when a true, deserving person gets the chance to have their moment.” And I definitely felt that. Not coming from an industry background or an industry family and being able to have that moment was really, really special.
What advice would you give to young women aspiring to navigate a creative industry?
You have to believe in yourself. You have to believe in yourself more than anybody that you know. Like, even if your mom believes in you, that’s still not enough. You have to believe in yourself more than even her because there are going to be days where she doesn’t understand your dream. Sometimes, you know, she’ll ride with you, but then she’ll be like, I don’t really know. You have to think, “I’ve got this.” Everything is gonna come against you financially, mentally, and physically, and you’re going to feel like, “what am I doing,” but you still have to believe.
I went to college, I graduated with my degree, and I tried to do the right thing; I even worked in my field for a while, but it just didn’t feel right to me. Having to make the transition from working full time and having benefits to now freelancing and being a creative, you’re going to have to stand on your own two feet and just know that you’re doing the work and everything is going to work out.
My second piece of advice would be to do the work. Create the vision board and put the work into your dreams. Make ten phone calls that are going to help you to get to where you want to be. Send ten emails that are going to help you to get to something on that vision board. Send ten DMS that are going to get you somewhere close to what you’re trying to do. It’s not just mental and it’s not just manifesting. It’s also physical, and I think that’s not talked about enough today.
Let’s talk about makeup. You described makeup as your art—with a face being your canvas—so what’s your approach to bringing your vision to life?
Early in my career, I used to approach makeup as a one-size-fits-all kind of thing, but that really hurt my craft because it wasn’t allowing me to exceed that boundary. I also think that boundary came from the type of makeup look that was in-style at the time. It seemed like everyone had the same look, and I wasn’t pushing myself to really dive into what makeup is about. When I eventually began researching makeup—reading more books and taking more classes—I realized that makeup is more mathematical than anything. We have certain shapes on our face, those shapes have certain symmetries with colors, etc. I really dove into what makeup is, and I think that’s when my artistry really changed.
I began to look at every one individually. It wasn’t just about applying the same brows or contour or lip color or everyone. I began to break it down. Like, if you have a rounder face and you want structure, I’ll apply more contour than someone who already has high cheekbones or high brow arches. When I began to view makeup scientifically and really make it my own—and figure out what works with this and what works with that—that’s when my makeup really started to stand out on camera and in person as well. It really started to capture people’s attention. And that is advice that I would give to everyone: to always make it your own.
What are some of your current favorite makeup products?
I definitely love everything that Danessa Myricks does. She is a Black makeup artist that came out with her own line of makeup, and everything about it is phenomenal. It’s artist-friendly and it’s consumer-friendly. She has an amazing range of colors, textures, and tones. I think she makes it really easy for you to bring the best out in yourself without feeling like you’re doing too much. Personally, I love her vision cream foundations, and she has these contour balms that really bring depth into your face and add this really pretty dewy texture. It’s amazing; you’ll fall in love.
I also really love Fenty Beauty. I did her fashion show about two years ago, and I really fell in love with the brand because I was able to use all of the products during the show. She really created something amazing. I feel like she intentionally sat down with makeup artists when she created this brand. She has products that work and colors that fit us—and her products don’t exclude anybody. When it comes to women of color, she really gave us something that was going to hit. I love the whole line: the foundations, the concealers, the lip glosses, the powders, the liners, the eyeliners, the mascara—everything hits. Those brands, Danessa Myricks and Fenty Beauty, are definitely my top two.
Do you offer makeup training or tutorial classes?
I offer training classes. I’m actually going to be revamping them this year, and I’m really excited. This year, I will be launching my website, and I have products that I’ll be releasing as well, so I’m overall really excited. The website will be more streamlined on me: how to get to know me, how to contact me, etc. I’m really looking forward to launching that this year.
In thinking about your career, what would you say to inspire any Caribbean sisters looking to follow in your footsteps?
I would say that no dream is too small. I would say that, especially to my Caribbean girls, because—you know—sometimes we get this stigma that we have to be nurses, or doctors, or something practical like that. But no dream is too small. Believe in yourself more than anybody else. When you have a dream, don’t let it go. Don’t let it die. Don’t give it up for anybody—not a man, another woman, or even your children. Always remember what gives you life—what gives you that little spark in the morning. That is what’s going to carry you through life. So don’t give up on any dream, big or small, and keep going until you get there. If you’re passionate about something, you will have a breakthrough moment. I promise you. So just keep going.