Tripoli Talks Moving to LA & Storming The Makeup Industry

Tripoli is an exceptional make up artist here in Houston, Texas. She’s going to accomplish great things on top of everything else she’s accomplished. Tripoli is definitely someone to you want to keep up with! Check out how it all began!

Make up artist are artist, so when did you know you were artsy?  What influences, negative and positive, growing up triggered your passion for make up ?

I’m already enjoying how this interview is starting off. It’s a good feeling to have someone ask me about who I am and where I come from. In this industry with this job title we are not the main priority, let alone a concern at all. We are considered the workers who come in and do a job. We ask no questions we make no suggestions. Our job is to satisfy the client. I think there is more to a make up artist than most care to realize. We are indeed, as you stated, an art ARTIST. If I had to choose whom I would rather interview between a lawyer, painter, or engineer, I would choose the painter. I know choice would be considered bias because I am an artist but my reasoning is definitely one to consider. A TRUE artist lives life with no expectations, they have no boundaries, they rarely follow the rules. They are risk takers. They believe in the possibility of wonderful magical things happening. They Live life as they see it. To decide to be a true artist and make no excuses about it is a risky move. You are gabling your chances of stability, a 401 k, benefits, etc. A person with that mindset is one who deserves an interview because they will not give you a straight out the book answer. If they speak it will be of compassion and honesty.A true artist bares it all. 

A TRUE artist lives life with no expectations, they have no boundaries, they rarely follow the rules. They are risk takers. They believe in the possibility of wonderful magical things happening.

Now to get into what brought me down this career path. We can take it back to 1997 in the Southside of Chicago. When I think about it there were not many influences from my city that was I was familiar with. In ’97 I was only 5 so I was not into the Common’s and Chaka Khan’s. However, I knew I wanted to be in the entertainment industry. As I got older I would watch MTV jams and idolize the lifestyles portrayed in these videos. “I want to be fabulous just like them. I want to travel the world and have nice things”. My go to artist was Christina Angular. I would sing “come on over” to any one who would listen. I was given candy by my after school counselors in exchange for performing Monica’s, for you I will. As I got older I realized my tune was not there like the women I had grown up wanting to be like so that dream slowly faded away. 

My dad came into my life when I was nine years old. He wasn’t a very pleasant man to be around. He would always compare my sister and I, wondering why I couldn’t dress more like her or look more like her.

I didn’t realize it then, but I realize now that could have been damaging to my character. I didn’t stand up for myself at home and in return I didn’t stand up for myself in school. I wasn’t bullied but I was a class favorite either. I was two steps away from being invisible.

My father was not in my life much longer after that. In about 5 years, he was nonexistent again. It was a mutual decision. In the short years that I had been surrounded by his presence, I did learn a few things. My dad was always either unemployed or part time. It made him no difference because he was an artist, a writer to be exact. He believed in poetry as a cure for the soul. Too bad it couldn’t cure his but that’s another story. He had a couple published pieces but nothing too major. He lacked work ethic.

My mother on the other hand was a working horse. She was never home because she was always working. Eventually the two split ways and my mother decided to travel down south. I, being a mommy’s girl, decided to follow. I got tired of being invisible and I took this move as a chance to reinvent myself, start over. So I move to Texas and eventually I start to experiment with make up. I want to be a hot girl, the pretty popular chick. And it worked but me being so young and inexperienced of course I looked a mess. You couldn’t tell me anything back then though.

As I got older my skill increased. I knew I would be BIG and I wanted to already look the part. I wanted to look like a STAR. As my skill increased people started to ask me to do their make up. I would decline because I never considered myself a make up artist. 

Eventually, I let fate win and I started to accept clients. I was an instant success. Now fast forward two years later, and I’m here doing my first interview, one of many. It’s amazing how we can have entire plan for our lives but the plan that wins is the one that life has for us. I was in school for broadcasting. I figured it would still allow me to live the life I wanted. This included traveling and living life the glamorous way. As I got deeper into my studies I realized this was not my career path.

From observing both of my parents and their ways I learned valuable lessons. From my mom I learned that you have to work hard. PERIOD. No matter what you want to do. We were never rich, we were sometimes poor but we were mostly comfortable. I don’t like being poor so I knew that if I wanted to at least be comfortable I had to work.

From my Dad, I learned to stay true to who you are. An artist is wise, wiser than most. This lifestyle is not for the ignorant and stupid. I feel that a lot of his talent was passed down to me, especially his writing. If you cant tell I love to write! I am nowhere near my destination. In fact, I don’t even think I have one. I consider my dream to be one huge mountain that I continue to climb. The higher I go the more I learn and the stronger I get. That itself is my reason for choosing this career path. 

What advice do you have for young girls who may experience being compared to siblings ? 

To those being compared to anyone: remember you are created for a specific purpose. Your journey will always differ from the next. Remember that and you’ll always remain unique in your own right. 

I also want to know, what are you current and future plans for your make up career ? 

My future plans for makeup include attending one of the top schools for make up artistry. That will take place in May 2016 which will require me to relocate to LA. I’m currently mentally and financially preparing for that move. After that you’ll just have to stay tuned and wait for what’s next. I promise you will hear about me and my SmashedByTripooli brand in a MAJOR way. 

To check out Tripoli’s work visit her on Instagram @Triqoli and her website

Back in February 2016, we had a chance to connect with Tripoli. At the time, she was taking a huge leap of faith, moving from Houston to Los Angeles. She also opened up about the struggles of comparison she faced as a young girl and how she found the courage to stop being invisible.  

Almost a year later, Tripoli is still taking risks and living fearlessly. Find out how life has been for Tripoli since she’s made to LA move and what goals she plans to tackle next in her life. 


You stated in your last interview that you we're relocating to LA in May, how is the new scenery?

As we last spoke, I was on my way to my new home: LA. So, I made the 24-hour drive from Houston to LA taking along only clothes. The drive was long and exhausting.

When I first got to LA and it really set in what I had done, I cried. I cried because I knew that it was either sink or swim but I had to carry through with the plan. It was very overwhelming and I was so scared.

God must have known I needed him because the very first apartment I checked out was the home I settled with. I now live in the heart of LA in a beautiful gated community in Hollywood. 

Your work looks amazing, how is it working with models and photographers?

Getting work in LA is not hard, it's getting the right work.

I was fortunate to be able to attend such an amazing school that is well connected. I don't really go out of my way to work with local photographers who make most of their money on Instagram. I take the old fashion approach of networking within the industry and exchanging contacts.

I feel that Instagram has saturated the industry to where all people see is money. Money is good but it's not everything. If you get consumed by money, you dilute the beauty of authentic art. I've taken Photoshop classes and invested in equipment so if I need a specific image for my book, I can shoot it myself most of the time. Otherwise, I book my jobs from within the industry and not so much on social media like so many others.

What are your goals for 2017 and what should we expect?

My goals for 2017 are to stay true to my craft and perfect it. I want to grow my network and get paid to travel out of the country for work.

I recently graduated from school and I applied to compete at the biggest makeup convention in the world (IMATS). They loved my work and I was invited to compete. This will definitely help me get my work out there.

I am hoping and working hard to secure the first place spot. My biggest goal is to be able to support myself and live comfortably in expensive LA. I am so proud of myself and this journey. I am certainly not the same girl I was when I got here. I will only get better from here.