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Life & Work with Monique Farley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Monique Farley.

Monique, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?

My passions for design and makeup started when I was kid. I was introduced to architecture and design by my 8th grade math teacher. Prior to her, I was the student always drawing and designing. I kept notebooks of all my drawings as a kid. So when my math teacher turned our 2nd semester curriculum into an architecture project, I was hooked. Researching floor plans and elevations was so fascinating to me. Twenty years later, it was the project that literally shaped my trajectory.

Fast forward to college while studying to get a degree in Interior Architecture, that same creative spirit led me into makeup artistry as my second creative outlet. It was through the suggestion of my mom that I should take it more seriously and figure out ways to utilize both passions. And with that advice, I never looked back! So after undergrad, I attended Bennett Institute in Washington, DC to hone my craft in makeup artistry.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?

Neither industry came easy. Both came with their own series of obstacles. And the reality is the obstacles are shown in the numbers. Black women account for less than 3% of the architecture and design industry as of 2020. Coming into this industry in 2012, I knew what I would be up against. I was faced with racism and classism very early in my college career. I was 1 of 2 black students to complete a B.S in Interior Architecture the year I graduated. For many past companies, I was (if not the only) one of a few Blacks within the design department.

Even within the beauty industry, the challenges were there! The media has not been shy about the ongoing struggles of representation in the industry. Being the only makeup artist of color in certain rooms or being given only the black clients because no other artist were skilled to do women of color is a real thing. Having to network in an industry where minority artists do not always get the first looks for jobs still happens.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?

Monday – Friday you can find me reviewing hotel construction sets, hotel brand standards, reading product specifications, designing, talking with vendors, in meetings, and more. Working in the hotel design industry is so multi-faceted that no day is the same. I think if you were to ask what I was most known for it would be a mix of these three answers: organization skills, design strategy, or attention to detail.

In my current role as Director, Design & Procurement, I am most proud of being able to build and develop departments from the ground up. Being able to see the growth of my departments that literally started with just me to now include AutoCAD Technicians, interns, project managers, and rendering artists is empowering. It makes you want to push for more!

As a designer, I’ve always said my educational background is what sets me apart. With a B. S. in Interior Architecture and M.S. in Strategic Design and Management plus my Real Estates License, I am well versed in design, business, and management. Being able to navigate from reading construction sets to designing and selecting FF&E to being involved in business strategy meetings is so exciting to me.

Saturdays – Sundays you can find me working as a makeup artist on a photoshoot set or for a wedding. Curating custom makeup looks for my clients to organizing bridal timelines to ensure a smooth wedding day, switching hats from Architectural Design to Makeup Artist is a seamless transition. It really is just another extension of my creativity.

At the end of the day, I am and will always be a creative! My daily goal is to ensure that no matter the industry, I autograph my work and leave a trail for the next person to follow!

What’s next?

This is such a great question. And for the first time in several years, I have loosened the ropes on this answer a little bit to allow room for unknown opportunities. When it comes to design, my next goal is to study and pass the NCIDQ to become a licensed Interior Designer.

Within the beauty industry, I really would like to take on more opportunities in tv/ film. I have spent most of time doing bridal and editorials. I have been in the beauty industry almost as long as I have been in architecture & design. I literally remember when the only social media in the beauty industry was YouTube. And there were less than 20 artists on YouTube really making waves back in 2012.

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