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Meet Trailblazer Shaneka Murray

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shaneka Murray.

Shaneka, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was always the girl playing in her mother’s makeup,the friend always eager to do somebody’s makeup to go out. never really ever imagining that it would become my career. I always loved what makeup could do, how it transformed you, how it made people give an extra look in your direction. As a model in my youth, I took great notice and appreciation to the hair and makeup artist I was awarded on shoots and their tireless efforts, I never forgot them or what they did for me, how they made me feel and just what an impact they had on my life and my confidence. After a life transition out of the bar and nightclub scene in Miami, I decided I not only needed a change but I knew I wanted to do something that would excite and inspire me. No one really believed my plan but I decided to go back to school for esthetics and makeup. I received my license and began my business, I was blessed with a number of fantastic mentors from Professional MAC artist , published artist and tv and theater artist as well. Each offered me their own distinct insight that I’ve gratefully cultivated into my artistry. Two very incredibly talented women who I cherish to this day Hairstylist Rocio Felipe (of Rstyles Salon Coral Gables) and Melissa Ann Hubicsak, the then managers of a prominent salon in Palmetto Bay saw fit to not only give me my first in salon opportunity but they proceeded to encourage, inspire, push and mold me into the artist and professional I am today. I worked my way from the front desk receptionist, where I was given the chance to observe the key makeup artist in the salon. I worked all the way up to salon manager, and key makeup artist within the salon. All while continuing a freelance business and building on social media. Social media especially IG, gave me the opportunity to creatively and openly exchange ideas with other artist and begin developing my own community of followers who enjoyed my love for makeup as well. I never knew it would grow into something that would put me into contact with not only great artists and creatives but also cosmetic companies that would support and encourage me as well. I knew I wanted to do more outside of the salon and travel. I knew I wanted to work on new and exciting projects and it just felt like the next step in my evolution. I left the salon in hopes of doing just that, I knew I needed to remove the safety net of the salon and go for it. I began solely freelancing and marketing myself (pretty much everywhere) to bigger projects which allowed me to travel to sets and shoots to work with renowned successful artist that I never dreamed possible for me.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s not been smooth… but what road worth taking ever is? It’s hard as an artist in the beginning especially when you’re freelancing and untethered to a salon or counter. You’re your own boss, your own cheerleader, your own motivator, advocator and job seeker. It all falls upon you.

And then there’s staying inspired, and continuing to pursue your dreams even when it feels like there is no traction or anything happening. Having to find the balance as a starving artist starting out and thriving in the world that still requires you pay bills. It’s a constant daily struggle that haunts and consumes many artists. Remaining grateful for the wins big or small and willing and eager through the unanswered emails and the countless rejections (and there are many) and keeping that fight and desire through it all is the hardest struggle is. But it’s worth it.

The only advice I can give is the advice that was given to me…
Don’t give up.
Don’t lose hope.
Always keep your mind open, continue to evolve, learn and grow in your art because it’s always changing and you won’t want to miss a chance at discovering something new and incredible. Don’t deny yourself or your art that chance with a closed mind.
…and lastly, never stop.
Just when you think it’s not going to happen… it happens, and you’re standing in front of an open door that once was closed.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about S/M Makeup Artistry/SMtheArtist – what should we know?
I am a published freelance makeup artist, esthetician, and beauty blogger known as SunShani_Mua. I’m known for giving clients a SunShani Glow which is my signature look, A look comprised of a sunkissed finish inspired by the fresh glowy and dewy faces of women of Miami. I work with agencies, beauty companies, aspiring models, actors, and actresses. I specialize in several makeup styles including beauty, natural, male grooming, editorial, as well as makeup primarily for television, film and photo campaigns.

As an artist and a professional, I believe I’m most proud of finding the subtle balance between my artistry and the business that goes along with it. Understanding my value and never shying away from or compromising my worth or my aesthetic. I am a consistently professional and I offer a quality of service that definitely continues to set me apart, no matter the setting you’ll always receive “an experience” with me.

Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
I believe growing up in Miami contributed so much to my art and aesthetic, Miami is a fashion and beauty mecca and it just becomes a part of you. My parents were hard-working professionals and as a child and teen watching them each succeed in their given professions helped me to see the possibilities before me if and only if I worked my hardest to achieve it. I owe everything to their sacrifices and examples. Their work ethic is unprecedented and I know I get my hunger and desire from them, I don’t know what I would be without seeing that growing up.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Blair DeVereaux Robinson-Pheauxtography, Drew Kendrick, Aaron White, Cady Nelson, Chris Murray, Yana Marienko, Kalonji Allmond, Bethiye Gebrkidan, Alexis Christina

Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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