Toukan & Palmyre : Hello!
Melissa SOUKEYNA : Hello!
T&P Can you introduce yourself?
MS: Of course! My name is Melissa Soukeyna and I have been a makeup artist for ten years now. I have always been attracted to beauty, fashion etc… So I turned it into a profession.
T&P: What is your school curriculum? `
MS: I studied to become a beautician but it was not that easy. Indeed, my parents (especially my mother) didn’t really want me to work in that industry. I went to high school but I felt good only when there were events to organise, like dance shows etc. The principal had noticed that. And on the side, I did people’s makeup as soon as I could.
My parents still thought that it would be a bad idea for me to become a makeup artist until the day the principal said he would make them change their minds after I had talked to him.
T&P: Did he succeed?
MS: He did (laughter)! My father finally gave in and I went to a private beauty school in 2006.
But a little problem came up: I had to choose between paying the school fees and follow all the classes in this school or work at the same time in order to be able to pay a part of the school fees. I opted for the second choice but actually, not really for the financial reason. I just really wanted to practice. It had become an obsession!
T&P: What happened next?
MS: Everything was going well. My supervisor was great and she gave me important tasks to do, which helped me gain a lot of skills. She taught me a lot. I graduated at the end of 2008 and I left.
MS: Nothing serious (laughter). We got along really well. I just wanted to focus mainly on makeup and in her beauty salon, I worked on everything (hair removal etc).
It was time for me to move on. So, I began looking for training but unfortunately, I realized they were way too expensive. So I bought the equipment I needed, I invested time and money. I went to see photographers and music video directors.
T&P: Did it work out?
MS: At first, it did since my only wish was to practice, to do people’s makeup as much as possible. I offered my services for free. For me, getting to learn again and again was a gift. After a while, I realized that people liked my work and I began to receive calls from people I had worked for. They gave my numbers to people who worked in this industry. And for my greatest pleasure, it became my profession.
T&P: You even worked on haute couture fashion shows during the Fashion Week.
MS: Yes I did. I think that my first experiences gave me a certain amount of self-confidence. It allowed me (and still does) to give good service in every field.
T&P: What is the question that people most frequently ask you on social media?
MS: « How did you get there ? »
T&P: And what’s the answer? (laughter)
MS: I’m very driven. If I want something, I work for it, I set goals. For example, I gave myself one month to get my driving license and that’s what I did.
T&P: You really are driven! (laughter)
MS: However, at times I had to set easier goals in order to succeed better.
T&P: Did you ever have to face obstacles?
MS: Yes, like everybody. And I had to put some projects on hold. I had to go through some difficult years.
In 2010, my brother fell ill and I had to stop working in order to take care of him 24/7. We didn’t know what the future held so I wanted to be by his side when he needed it. I had to put my plans on hold but my aim is not to become a millionaire.
T&P: Are you a family person?
MS: I am! Actually, since the beginning of my career, I tried to do everything for my family. Once I’ve finished a project and that I can please them, I do it. I made sure someone could look after my brother so that my parents could go on holidays. I arrived at their place with their suitcases already packed so that they could leave right way.
T&P: That’s a great surprise!
MS: I don’t want to have any regrets.
T&P: You must be extremely busy.
MS: I am. I work night and day, literally. For instance, I can work a whole day and then spend the night working on other thinks like Youtube videos or organizing my own makeup training course. But some weeks are less busy than others. It depends on whether I’m working on a video clip, a film or a festival. But I’m a makeup artist mainly.
T&P: You are a makeup artist, an influencer and a Youtube but you also went into the launching of your own training course. Where did this idea come from?
MS: Well, first of all, I had a lot of requests to do it. People kept asking me if I gave classes and at the time, I didn’t. But I slowly began to think about it. In 2016, I had to send makeup artists to stand in for me because I had a very busy schedule, both on a professional and personal level. But I realized that I didn’t get the same comments as when I did people’s makeup. This is when I really thought about launching a train course.
I’m currently working with « Pôle Emploi » (a French governmental agency which helps unemployed people finding a job) in order to see if it would be possible to open this training course for everyone.
T&P: That’s great! And who has helped you through this adventure?
MS: My one and only support is my husband. I regained some strength. I was exhausted after all those years working on my own. I went through difficult times and today, my husband is the one who gives me ideas everyday. He inspires and supports me, he encourages me to keep going, he makes me strong and he handles a lot of things in my career. He is my rock.
T&P: What is your philosophy in life?
MS: I thank God everyday. Despite everything I’ve been through, I know that some things are a blessing a disguise. I’ve learnt that hardships make us stronger. It is hard but you have to look on the bright side of things and accepts that it is God’s will. In the end, I could pray every night and all night long, what’s bound to happen will happen.
T&P: What do people say about you?
MS: They say that I’m meticulous, hardworking, gentle and driven.
T&P: How do you manage to work things out when you are overwhelmed emotionally or professionally?
MS: I know one thing for sure: my parents love me. And this helps me carry on. I also think that your state of mind is very important. I remained focused all along. From the start, I’ve wanted to make my parents proud. Being focused is the key.
T&P: What are the moral values that you would like to give your son?
MS: Respect is the most important of all. I greet a cleaning lady the same way I greet a boss. I don’t make them feel like one is more important than the other. I’m fair. Then, I would say religion and family.
T&P: What is your next goal?
MS: To keep my career the way it is, to follow my own rhythm and evolve. When you evolve, you move forward.
T&P: Any advice for our future businesswomen?
MS: Don’t put any limits on yourself. If you don’t try, you don’t know if you’ll succeed. You have to take some risks, get out of your comfort zone and dare.
T&P: Thank you!
MS: Thank you!
Toukan & Palmyre