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MODE Magazine

Tajia Reed

14 Questions with

Her makeup looks are bold, vibrant and have garnered Taj aka @donidarkowitz with over 100,000 followers who adore her looks on Instagram.


1. Where are you from/based?

I'm a retired military brat so I'm from all over. About 95% of my family is from a small town in Iowa though. 

2. When did you first start creating make-up looks (and why)?

I started doing makeup almost 7 years ago. I enjoyed it for one, but it was a great distraction/escape from losing my job at the time. 

3. Do you work as a full time make-up artist? If not, what do you do?

I work full time as an online Beauty influencer. All day, every day, rain or shine haha.


4. How did you learn to do these epic looks? 

I taught myself. I've always liked drawing and art, turns out I do it best on my face!

5. Where do you draw inspiration from for your make-up looks?

I draw inspiration from everything. Music, movies, art, my friends and colleagues in the makeup community, weather, comic books and cartoons, inanimate objects, you name it, I could probably draw inspo from it if I concentrated hard enough.


6. What is your must-have beauty product? 

Brow pomade. I get asked this question a lot and "what my favorite product is" and I always say I don't have one, and then after the fact I think about how my brows are probably the most important part to my look often. Probably because until I got good at make up, my brows were sparse or non-existent haha. We here now though!

7. Do you have a great beauty/make up hack you could share? 

A lot of people know you can use Elmer's glue sticks to set your brows...I can't think of any others off the top of my head at the moment though haha.

8. What is your favourite make-up trend?

I rarely pay attention to trends. Not because I'm above them, but because I am completely oblivious, and don't pay attention haha. I found what works for me, and I stick with that formula until I'm forced to readjust.


9. Do you think that beauty brands have become more inclusive? 

Not particularly, no.

10. What has been the best experience you have had as a make-up artist?

OOOF! I'd have to split it two ways. I was invited on my very first brand trip, the weekend of my 32nd birthday. I was flown to San Francisco and shown an absolutely lovely time, was given more gifts and swag than I had room in my suitcase for, and they surprised me with a birthday cake the last day of the trip! I felt very seen, and valued. Also I had one of my biggest collabs ever last year with About-Face. I think that's the most successful I've ever felt to date.

11. What is the biggest challenge you face as a make-up artist? 

Holding brands accountable. I built my pages on authenticity and honesty and still feel strongly that brands should be held to a higher standard in terms of how they treat and pay their creators. It's a scary feeling, because blacklisting is real. And you want to work, and be creative, but I can't reconcile making money if I feel like I'm being used, exploited, pandered to or underpaid. I built my own career because I was tired of working for people who didn't value me, my work, effort, talent or health (physically and mentally.)

12. If you could collaborate with any brand, who would it be? 

I have a list haha. I want to do a full out collab, with a photoshoot and everything with Fenty Beauty so badly I could throw up. I'd also love to collab with some skincare brands like Dermalogica, Glow Recipe, Murad. I take my skin's health very seriously now.


13. Could you predict a future make-up trend?

thin brows are definitely gonna make a comeback. I know it. Lord help us all, haha.

14. What do you wish people knew about what you do!

I am tired all of the time. Creatives rarely take time off, there's always something we want to do or try or keep up with. Working in the social media sphere is the busiest I've ever been in any job, and I do all of it myself, from collabs with brands to concepts. All the admin work, all the haggling and negotiating, edits, do-overs, it's all me (at least for now.) I am am ALWAYS tired haha.

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