Derrick Rutledge Exclusive Interview

Fashion Show Event: DCSW, The French Embassy 7/29/17

Media: The Runway Authority  


Explain who you are and what it is that you do?

I am Derrick Rutledge and I am a makeup artist.   I am a makeup artist for many celebrities and currently for the last six years I have been working with Oprah Winfrey.  I have been doing her makeup for all magazine covers and recently for the new movie that will be coming out next year called, "Wrinkle In Time."  I travel all over the world making women beautiful.


Did you attend a makeup school or was this a passion of yours growing up?

No, I actually studied to be an Opera singer.  In the course of taking makeup while in school I also studied media and fashion photography.  From that, I got into doing makeup on a lot of the models and I just started getting more and more work doing makeup.  After awhile I studied makeup and here I am now.


When it comes to the technique you use when applying makeup, is it something that you created on your own or was it taught to you?

No, everything has been hands-on.  The way I learned makeup was getting books and magazines, practicing, and working at makeup counters.  I had to learn the different pigment faces and skin tones and from that I became really good at what I'm doing. 


Do you have a makeup mentor?

Myself, I mean other than going to magazines and looking through them I really don't have anyone.  I do have makeup artists that I have worked with whose work I love, for example Sam Fine and Reggie Wells.  A lot of people are not even alive anymore but from them I study what they did.  Where I get my inspiration from now is the young people.  A lot of the young people inspire me to stay on top of my game because makeup trends are constantly changing. 


What is some advice you can offer an aspiring makeup artist?

Stay humble.  Humility will take you far.  I know that I am an awesome makeup artist but I also know that there are people who are just as good as me or even better.  My humility has taken me far.  I have worked with many celebrities such as Beyoncé, for three years I worked with Michelle Obama, and now to Oprah.  I have reached it to the top of my game by being humble, keeping what I know and hear to myself and by being a constant student of my craft. 


Who was the first celebrity you worked with that started your career?

The very first celebrity was Angela Winbush, a lot of young people may not realize who she is right now.  I use to do makeup for Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Destiny's Child, Aaliyah, SWV, Brownstone, CeCe Winans, Chaka  Khan, Yolanda Adams and for twenty years I did Patti Labelle.  I have worked with a lot of divas!


Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

I see myself touring and mentoring young makeup artist and doing an entire seminar for the country  on beauty, health and wellness.  The plans would be to teach things from makeup and hair, to wardrobe, the entire book.




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Photo Credit: Kevin Higgins, The Runway Authority