Lipstick Nick talks kicking career goals, best red lipsticks and what working on RuPaul’s Drag Race is really like

With half a million Instagram followers, a gig on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and now working as morphe‘s Global Director of artistry, Nicole Faulkner aka @lipsticknick, is living proof that a little hustle goes a long way.

Here, she chats to GLAMOUR about her career journey, favourite red lipsticks and future goals…

From budding artist to makeup maven

For Nicole, makeup was never about looking ‘beautiful’, it was the art of it.

“Growing up, I used to love art and drawing so I was always the one who would do crazy drawings as extra credit to makeup for the lack of actual information in the project”, she says.

“I was going to do tattoos originally; I looked up to Kat Von D. But then I just sort of fell into makeup.”

It’s for this reason that soft and natural makeup wasn’t really Nicole’s thing. “I liked creating shapes and being graphic with it. I always liked doing more bold, extreme makeup.”

After high school, Nicole went to Mud Make-up Designory for training and began working in TV and film. “Long story short, I realised film was not for me because I had so much creative energy and I was using it at the inappropriate times. One of my characters was a realter and I gave her the fiercest winged liner I’ve ever seen.”

Instead, Nicole started working on editorials and collaborating with photographers. “I filmed almost every day whilst doing freelance jobs and as I started circulating more around LA, I became the go-to for the crazy stuff. I started working with influencers and YouTubers too, so I was gaining their fanbase.”

And then came Instagram…

Instagram has been a mega beauty game-changer, and for Nicole, she instantly started posting all of her work and ‘Lipsticknick’ was officially born.

“I was working for MAC so I gained a MAC community online. I felt amazing as I was getting recognised by these high up trainers at MAC and I was only 19.”

Initially, her following surged, “I was posting crazy stuff, all my body art work and crazy zombies, and people were like woah and sharing my stuff.”

But as the platform became more popular, she says her growth has been steady. “I give anyone props now that can grow at a time like this when there are so many amazing artists out there. When you need inspiration, Instagram is just a huge dictionary of beauty. But yes, a slow incline.”

With her social channels and freelance career flourishing over six years – doing makeup for beauty influencers, working on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and other TV opportunities – Nicole felt the time was right to join Morphe full time and give them more.

Here are some of the Instagram’s most inspiring black beauty influencers to follow for the ultimate inspo

What working on RuPaul’s is really like

A favourite TV show of many in the GLAMOUR office, we were dying to know if Nicole’s experience was as fierce and fun as we imagined.

“Oh my God, so fun. Growing up, Jeffrey and Ru Paul were my biggest inspirations and now I do Jeffrey’s makeup and work on Ru Paul”, she says.

“This year, I got my second Emmy nomination for working on the show. I couldn’t ask for a better experience or life to play out any differently. I’m still waiting to do Ru Paul’s makeup but that time will come. There are always new goals.”

Speaking of which, Nicole won’t rest until she gets that Emmy.

“We’ve been nominated twice but I want to win it.”

“I want to do Ru’s makeup, I’d like to have my own beauty line, but I would want to do it in a Pat McGrath way”, she says of her other goals. “I want to earn respect from everyone in the industry, I want prove myself, I want to come out with quality products that are fun, different eye-catching and unique.”

We don’t think this is the last we’ll see of Lipstick Nick…

This exclusive extract from RuPaul’s new book is the most empowering thing you’ll read today

A little bit of beauty wisdom

Red lipsticks? “Today I’m wearing Jeffrey Star ‘Designer Blood’ and Jeffrey Star ‘Family Jewels’ (both $18 USD) is one of my favourites. ‘Hot Shot’ from Morphe (£12) and ‘Ruby Woo’ from MAC (£17.50).

Desert island product? “Lip balm, chapstick. I have five in my bag right now. I love hydrated lips.”

Advice to budding makeup artists? “Definitely figure out why [you want to be a MUA] and what those reasons are. What avenue do you want to go down? There are so many. Beauty has opened up so many amazing job opportunities. Understand where you wanna be and why and just be yourself. Never compare yourself to other people.”

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