From her collaboration with Rihanna and Fenty Beauty to raising awareness about her condition, the makeup artist is taking the internet by storm.
There’s no denying that the beauty industry has evolved tremendously with the introduction of the influencer. In the past, this label was reserved to a limited group of individuals who could afford an expensive life.
Selfies on private jets. Views from a Parisian rooftop apartment. Videos diving off a yacht into the Italian coast. Owning this "lifestyle" determined who got to embrace the influencer label. It didn't matter how real or authentic that life actually was, as long as you could pretend, you were considered one.
The influencer label used to be dominated primarily by those who could afford it, not by those who wanted to redefine it. But in recent years, the transformation from influencer to content creator is changing the game.
Emmy Combs is one of the internet pioneers leading this new generation of change. The 21-year-old makeup artist knew from a young age that her home would always be in the beauty industry. But as a true reflection of her determined and tenacious character, Emmy dreamed of being more than just a part of it; she wanted to become a leading voice of change from within.
“I have worked hard to get to where I am. Make up has been my dream since I was really young. I knew when I was in high school that I didn’t want to attend a regular college, that being in beauty was my dream,” Emmy said.
Makeup artists and beauty influencers are not a rarity in social media these days, but very few exude the same air of authenticity and altruism that Emmy Combs does. Going into her page is like being hit with a burst of sunshine, one that inspires healthy feelings of positivism, joy, and confidence through makeup tutorials, awe-inspiring fantasy looks, and honest conversations.
While makeup can be seen as an armor over one’s skin, for Emmy it’s all about transparency and presenting herself as she really is to her community. Most importantly, she’s not afraid of using her own story to inspire others to overcome their challenges.
At age two, Emmy was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Alopecia Universalis. This condition is known to result in a complete loss of hair. While Emmy admits that she never allowed Alopecia to define her as a young child, she did struggle with confidence when she entered high school.
The beauty industry, both for influencers and makeup artists, is all about displaying the beauty of the self. Even when she attempted to hide her condition with bandanas and accessories, Emmy admits that she was aware "hiding" was just a temporary solution. In the long term, she needed to learn how to not only accept her condition, but to also embrace it as a part of who she is.
“I was hiding who I was. I was hiding something that makes me beautiful. I wish I had just taken the bandanas off and embraced who I was,” Emmy said when asked what advice she’d give to her younger self.
If you dive into Emmy’s world, to which she welcomes you with open arms, you instantly get a radiating feeling of confidence. She’s not only confident in herself, but somehow, her content encourages you to be too. Maybe it’s how she speaks, which mimics the conversation you’d have with a close friend. Or maybe she’s got a special way of understanding how we feel about ourselves, and in return, giving us the right words of inspiration we need to start embracing our differences.
For me, the most striking quality that Emmy exudes is her ability to blend creativity and a good cause, while continuing to thrive in this industry. Especially when you hear how much time, effort, and planning every piece of content takes.
For her MUD interview, Emmy tuned in from her makeup studio. She’s wearing a stunning look that she’s crafted herself and paired it with a colorful tie-dye hoodie that matches her aura to perfection. From her seat, she takes us through her day-to-day and everything that involves maintaining a platform.
“The process may seem easy, but it’s definitely a lot more complex than some people may think,” Emmy said.
It starts with research. Emmy searches for inspiration by browsing the latest trends, not only in makeup, but also in viral songs, transitions, and special effects. After she’s laid out the ideas for each video she plans on tackling that day, she gets to the makeup.
As a makeup artist, Emmy counts with an arsenal. But she did reveal that the one item she won’t leave her house without is her Anastasia Deep Brow. I may not know much about makeup, but I do know that Emmy Combs must have the most perfect eyebrows on the internet.
The process of perfecting a look can take anything from half an hour to an hour. Surprisingly, it’s recording the videos that has become the most time consuming. From timing transitions to repeating a trend until it’s perfect, Emmy invests a large part of her day in ensuring that her content is as good as it can be.
However, creating short-form videos and capturing the perfect shot for her feed are not the only element of her career. What some fans may not know is that, as a makeup artist, Emmy continues to practice her craft on a daily basis. Based in Los Angeles, she is commissioned to create looks for special occasions such as proms and weddings. This is where I can see that her passion for makeup artistry is genuine and true. It doesn’t matter what she’s creating, as long as Emmy has her tools, she will deliver her best, no matter who the audience is.
“I still go on make up jobs. I’m still certified to do make up and I’m a makeup artist. People hire me to do their prom or weddings. I don’t do a lot of videos about that, but I still love doing make up for other people,” she said.
Maybe you didn’t know about Emmy’s work for others, but if you have been following her account closely, you couldn’t miss her collaboration with Fenty Beauty and Savage x Fenty.
“Fenty Beauty, their account slid into my DMs. After that it was communication. They didn’t tell me exactly what it was, just said it was something special,” she said.
In March of 2020, Emmy was selected as one of five makeup artists to join one of Rihanna’s most exciting projects to date: a house of talented content creators from the makeup industry.
In an interview, Rihanna explained the purpose of this collective. “I just wanted to create a platform for the next wave of content creators. I think our generation is the sickest, the illest, the most creative. I can’t do it alone, so to join in with the people who are influencing the world and my community and my generation, this is a hub.”
As a part of this project, Emmy and her four other house guests, which included Makayla Did, Savannah Palacio, and Challan, were tasked with creating unique and innovative content within the beauty industry. In this experience, Emmy got to work directly with the Savage x Fenty and Fenty Beauty team, and also to collaborate with the other talented creators who took part in this project.
From a business perspective, this was a huge step in Emmy’s career as an influencer and a makeup artist. But even more significantly, the house of creators offered her the opportunity to pursue her passion on a whole new level.
“[Working with Fenty] Such an amazing experience. I tell everyone that’s my favorite thing. I always like to share that moment. Being a part of the Fenty team felt like a family,” Emmy said.
I don’t want to lie to you. When it comes to visual artists such as Emmy, it is hard to find the right words to do them and their craft justice. As I scroll through Emmy’s account, I’m aware that every tutorial, every fantasy look, and every post she publishes hold more meaning than I could ever capture in this article.
However, I do think that there’s merit in sharing their stories because content creators like Emmy Combs are hard to come by, and they deserve every piece of recognition and praise that we can give them. After all, Emmy’s content will mean different things to different people, but what I’m confident of is that there’s a lesson to learn every time her face comes up on the timeline.
One of those lessons? Don’t settle for acceptance. Open yourself to the love that stems from being different, and watch yourself bloom as a result.