Missy Lynn, an active-duty member of the United States Air Force and freelance makeup artist, won the NYX Fine Artistry of Cosmetic Elites (FACE) Awards competition on Saturday, beating out 1,000 other online beauty gurus for the title of Beauty Vlogger of the Year.
The 23-year-old Louisiana native submitted this video, showing how to create a beautiful alien face worthy of a feature film, to earn her place among the six finalists. And then she came out on top in the final, live challenge during the BeautyCon convention in Los Angeles. During the finals, Lynn transformed a model into a goddess and won the $25,000 prize, consultations with professional makeup artists and a year's supply of NYX cosmetics.
We talked with Lynn, who currently lives in L.A., about winning the competition and balancing life in the Air Force with her budding makeup artist career.
Why did you decide to turn your interest in makeup viral with your YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/start2finishmua)?
One of my brothers was killed in 2008 while I was in Iraq. Whenever I came home I found myself going into a deep depression. I was very isolated and I watched a lot of YouTube videos where the girls were posting positive messages. I posted a video and my subscribers told me that I was inspiring and should continue. They were requesting looks and I was giving them what they wanted, but I never knew it would turn into this.
What is your reaction to winning the NYX Face Awards?
My initial reaction — my shoes came off, I was so excited. The overall experience was great. It’s an overwhelming feeling but I’m grateful I have people supporting me. I am just amazed that everyone sees the light that I felt that I was putting out through my videos.
How does makeup factor into your life in the Air Force?
In the military we are allowed to wear minimum makeup — everything has to look natural. When you hear military you automatically think masculine. Makeup helps myself and other women in the military keep a piece of their femininity. The uniforms make us look masculine and are very baggy, so the only way to keep our style is to apply makeup. My friends in the military are very supportive [of my makeup career]. I am the go-to guru on the base.
Do you find it hard to balance two extremely different careers?
It can be difficult to balance, but [doing makeup] isn’t considered work for me because I really like doing it. When I’m not in the military or in school I stay up to edit videos until 1 in the morning to make sure I have something for my viewers to watch. I sacrifice my sleep. I’m at [the Air Force] one day and the next day at a beauty event because I want to follow my passions.
What are your long-term goals for your career in the cosmetic industry?
I want to get into product development, making a cosmetics line and my own brush line. Brushes are so important when applying makeup — without an actual brush you can’t accomplish what you want to achieve. I dedicate my weekends, my only time off from the military, to attend [beauty] events and meet with subscribers.