Meet model and makeup artist Matisse Andrews, whose natural beauty and bold, powerful presence on and offline is truly an inspiration to us. She welcomed us into her beautifully decorated Los Angeles home (with 6 feet distance and masks) where she shared her craziest job story, her thoughts on racial injustice, the COVID-19 pandemic, and how she stays strong and creative during tough times.
Stay firm when you know something is right or wrong, even when people try to convince you otherwise. Advocating for yourself doesn’t make you a bitch, that’s a lie we were taught.
Matisse wears the Benny Mini Dress
Tell us about your first job experience? What did you learn from that job?
My first job ever was at 16 working retail at American Eagle Outfitters. It was exciting to step foot into adulthood, make my own money and then give the money right back to the store. Employee discounts are dangerous. I learned independence and the attempt to be responsible with money, but that’s a lesson I’m still learning daily.
Tell us your craziest job story.
In college I was invited to a party that was basically Mary Kay but for sex toys. We got to interact with the toys and get familiar with unfamiliar, played games to make things less awkward, and then buy whatever we liked. The woman hosting the party was also recruiting, she talked about how lucrative it was. Since I was outgoing and social I thought this is a a great career move. I signed up to be apart of this sex toy pyramid scheme to host parties, recruit other women and work my way up that corporate ladder. I asked my dad to front me the money for the sex kit because this was the way I was going to support myself on the side while I was in school. I hosted one party that was pretty decent and never did it again. I naively joined a MLM scheme and got a duffle bag full of dildos.
What advice was most helpful earlier in your career?
Be your own boss.
What advice would you give those entering the workforce?
Stay firm when you know something is right or wrong, even when people try to convince you otherwise. Advocating for yourself doesn’t make you a bitch, that’s a lie we were taught. Trust you intuition and know your worth, be able to put a dollar sign on it.
Matisse wears the Essie Midi Dress
How has the recent racism and healthcare pandemics shifted the way you think about your career?
I’m much more selective with who I work with now. Moving forward I think it’s important to align myself with brands and companies that are on the right side of history. Imagery is one of the most powerful tools and I don’t want a company to have access to use my image if they’re racist or quiet about the current war on Black Americans lives. There is a lot of power in this industry and I want to see more BIPOC representation on set and in clients offices so when I’m working I don’t feel like I’m the token.
Your day-to-day life?
It’s hard not to feel or see the daily deep impact of the disease that is racism layered with the affects of the virus. At first I thought COVID-19 was the great equalizer, that it would bring more understanding and compassion to our nation and beyond that, the world. A disaster has the ability to unite, to bring people together but instead it became a divisive political issue while also hitting Black and Brown communities the hardest. It’s a struggle to not feel heartbroken everyday. I try to practice the feeling of hope because this can’t all be for nothing. It’s all so surreal, we’re living history.
Your social media platform?
For the first time in years I’ve never felt less interested in social media. I’ve acknowledged its addictive capabilities and often times reposted traumatic content aren’t beneficial to my mental health. I don’t need to see violence against Black bodies to know it’s true. I started to create a healthy balance of being a conscious citizen like doing my part by researching important topics and news stories and sharing that with my audience, while also maintaining the boundaries I set for myself. Social media is the fastest way to share important information which makes it far too easy to carelessly jump on bandwagons and for example repost a black square without applying critical thinking.
Matisse wears the Marianne Midi Dress
What are your tips in accessing creativity right now?
Don’t force anything. Life is really strange right now and it feels like the world is ending so be easy with yourself. If you can, get out into nature and log off. Whenever I slow down I see things differently, plants I’ve never noticed or color combinations that feel like they were made just for your eyes to see.
We’re big fans of your personal art collection, who are your favorite artists?
I feel lucky to know some incredibly talented artists and have their work in my home. Jessalyn Brooks, Barkley L. Hendricks, Henri Matisse, Chloe Wise, Mark Rothko, Kerry James Marshall, Amoako Boafo and John Currin.
What’s your go-to quarantine outfits?
Anything comfortable. Oversized vintage 2Pac shirts and Dickies, vintage white slip, button downs and midi skirts.