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Katrell Mendenhall

Makeup Artist, Chicagolicious

If you haven’t seen The Style Network’s Chicagolicious yet, go set your TiVo immediately. The catfight-a-minute series is more than just our new guilty pleasure—it’s also a fun look into one of the city’s hot beauty spots: AJ’s Salon. Katrell Mendenhall is the supercute head of AJ’s makeup division, and—since starting earlier this year—a relative newcomer to the salon (hence her constant head-butting with longtime stylist Valencia). Katrell’s love for makeup comes from her modeling days, when, during photo shoots and runways shows for Chanel, Tom Ford, and Betsey Johnson, she was as “fascinated with the transformation makeup made” backstage as she was with what was happening on the runway. She came to Chicago from the East Coast a few years ago, and began teaching and mentoring younger models before landing her gig at AJ’s. She spills some beauty secrets for this week’s G&F Spotlight.


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BEAUTY MUST-HAVES>> scent: ANYTHING BY JO MALONE // moisturizer: AGAIN, ANYTHING BY JO MALONE // mascara: YSL VOLUME EFFET FAUX CILS // CONCEALER: MAC PRO LONGWEAR NC45 // LIPS: RICH COLOR FROM NARS // primer: MAKE UP FOR EVER HD MICROPERFECTING PRIMER // eyeshadow: RICH, VIBRANT COLORS FROM MAKE UP FOR EVER—I DON’T THINK ANYONE HAS AS MUCH PIGMENT AS THEY DO! // guilty pleasure: FACIALS FROM KIVA DAY SPA (GOTTA KEEP THE SKIN LOOKING YOUNG!)

Q: Ultimate professional goal. GO!
A: I want to be a celebrity makeup artist; to be known as the makeup artist to call for creativity, fun, and makeup that’s outside of the box.

Q: Would you say that’s your beauty philosophy, out-of-the-box makeup?
A: Yes. [Most] people love to stick with browns and neutral colors, but I’m much more about showcasing what color can do for you; you don’t have to be intimidated by color. It may look bright and vibrant, but I guarantee it will look amazing on people, as opposed to the browns or basic blacks.

Q: Who are the top three celebs you would love to do makeup for?
A: Michelle Obama, Kim Kardashian, and I would love to be a part of Lady Gaga’s dream team because she loves to step outside the box. She seems like she’ll sit down and say ‘do whatever you want,’ and that’s always a makeup artists’ dream: just to paint and be creative.

Q: Can you spill any of your makeup secrets?
A: Use powder/concealer on the lips—it keeps lipstick or gloss on longer. And for bags under the eyes, Preparation H works amazing. Sounds nasty, but works wonders.

Q: And we’re really curious: What is filming like? Does the show accurately portray the real vibe in the salon?
A: It’s definitely similar to what you see on TV. At the beginning, when we first started filming,  it was a little uneasy being in front of the camera, having the camera follow you. But now the cameras follow me everywhere—and I know it sounds crazy, but you really do get used to it.

Watch Chicaglocious on Style Mondays 9/8 Central.