Marlena Stell is known to her fans and followers as the Makeup Geek. She’s built a brand worth millions of dollars, but she wasn’t always the confident woman you see now. She sat down with Glam to share how she got into the makeup business, her insecurities, and why she thinks makeup is about more than just putting on a pretty face.
Stell likes to consider herself a makeup educator, not necessarily a makeup artist, and wants women to know that she’s just like the rest of us, messing up and making funny faces when she puts on her makeup in the mirror. “I’m always like closing one eye when I’m putting lipstick on,” she says. “…That’s so embarrassing.”
However, Stell had to change her habits quickly when she started creating makeup tutorials for her now over one million followers on YouTube. She originally got into makeup when she was a young girl, creating looks on her Barbie Styling Head doll. Then, in college, Stell earned her way through school by doing her classmates’ hair and makeup. After school, she pursued teaching before becoming a makeup entrepreneur.
“I always knew that would be something I would do later on,” Stell says.
But like many of us, she was plagued by insecurities growing up, including her weight. “High school was really awkward for me, because I was heavier and was made fun of a lot of times,” she recalls. “But, for me, just even applying a bright lipstick or wearing a certain color eye shadow that I felt looked good on me and made me feel extra confident when I walked out the door was just the most amazing feeling.” That feeling is why she originally got into the makeup industry — and why she has persisted in it.
“That’s my true passion I want to pass onto other women is just to do something that makes you feel great and more confident,” she continues.
For other women hoping to break out in the industry, Stell thinks that hard work is key, along with treating others how you would want to be treated. “If you put the effort in, you put the time in, then good things will happen to you,” she says. “Also, be a good person, because, if you treat others well, you’ll have great things come back to you.”
Watch the video above to hear more about her incredible journey as a businesswoman and total Makeup Geek.