Andrew Turnbull Class of 2001
Lead beauty advisor, Sephora at Kohls, Hickory, NC; Makeup artist; Entertainer

To the best knowledge of historians, the use of cosmetics began about 4000 years ago in ancient Egypt. Throughout the millennia, ingredients, products, and techniques have changed and improved, making todays makeup artistry truly spectacular. Whether one is a professional performer or simply a lover of self-expression through makeup, the beauty industry has products than can meet everyones needs. Keeping up with the latest trends is a full-time job!

Andrew Turnbull is employed as a Lead Beauty Advisor for Sephora at Kohls in Hickory as well as a freelance artist and entertainer. Sephora is one of the largest retail merchants of cosmetics in the world, specializing in luxury brands and beauty advisors who are highly trained and knowledgeable. With more than 2600 stores worldwide, the company recently began a new partnership and plans to have opened 850 Sephora stores inside Kohls by 2023.

The Beauty Industry has always been a principal inspiration to me, explains Andrew, and is infused into every aspect of my career(s). At Sephora, my responsibilities include general customer service, day-to-day operations, and coaching my associates on both artistry and sales techniques. The job also includes daily education from any one of the stores multiple makeup, skincare, hair care, and fragrance brands. There are countless brand stories, ideations, influencers, and trends to keep up with, so its a great fit for my detail-oriented brain.

Makeup artistry has also been a tremendous force in my work as an entertainer. My very first job was as a paid actor in the local outdoor drama, From This Day Forward. So, the influence of that first job is evident, as I have always made time to pursue artistic expression. I showed an aptitude for customer service early in my retail journey, and my dual experiences in both fields fed one another.

I first attempted to combine makeup artistry and customer service as a retail beauty advisor for Prescriptives at Belk in Hickory. Around the same time, I was working as a Freelance Artistic Director, Scenic Designer and Writer for multiple local theatre groups. Eventually, he traveled to Charleston, SC, and then to New York City where I got an opportunity to work with one of the leading, and my favorite, artistry brands in the world, NARS Cosmetics.

During my time with the company, I became the lead artist in two of the companys prestige boutiques, led in-store events, created looks for several celebrity clients of the company, and won the Artist of The Year award for 2018. I was honored to be promoted into the role of Lead Trainer for the New York City region, spanning New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. With NARS, I was able to combine my love of artistry, people, performance and even writing. I wrote content to teach and demonstrate for company seminars. Upon moving back to North Carolina, he reconnected with the local artistry community with the same focus on authentic, meaningful connections that he had always valued. Within the first year back in the area, he wrote and directed two full-scale productions in Newton.

Education and training played a major role in developing Andrews skill in the various fields. I have multiple credits in English, music, theatre, psychology and education from Western Piedmont and Catawba Valley Community College. I was active with the CVCC Show Choir and competed for the NC division of National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), winning the Graduate Mens competition. I also attended makeup artistry seminars in New York City, led by industry masters like Mark Carasquillo, Suttan Amrul, Kabuki, Grace Ahn, Lena Koro, and Uzo, in addition to Francois Nars.

But even before those experiences, numerous people provided guidance and encouragement. The list of mentors is long, and it starts with my mother, Mary Lou Smiley. She filled me with a love of laughter, a desire to show kindness and, most importantly, the courage to express my authentic self, which I (hopefully) have helped others to feel.... Angie Cannon, my Chorus teacher at Heritage Middle School... Renee Shatley and Heather Conwell, teachers at East Burke High School... David Zealy-Wright, friend, fellow performer, makeup teacher and life-coach ..Joyal McNeil, business manager with NARS...Richard Hogan and Linda Carlisle Markas from Old Colony Players, who were artistic director sister, Erin, and so many more.

My years at EBHS are actually a huge influence to this day. Being completely honest, growing up as a queer person was quite difficult during my elementary and middle school years. There was a lot of depression, anxiety, insecurity and even fear of my fellow classmates. A lot of teachers were very supportive, however unaware of how to effectively communicate/navigate the problems facing youth with my issues. So, by the time I reached high school, things were not looking hopeful. But Angie Cannon in middle school had inspired me to stick with music, and my continued experience with the EB choral program (thank you, Renee) helped me begin shaping my artistic voice, and I found myself becoming part of several local communities. Basically, because of having access to music, art, theatre and communications education at EBHS, I found that I indeed had a contribution to make to my community and the world around me.

One of Andrews major passions springs from his love of theater. For a number of years, he has found his calling as a professional performance artist, with an art form that has its beginning in the ancient Greek theater, flourished greatly during the time of William Shakespeare, and has become exceedingly popular in recent years.

Over the past year, I have performed in Hickory, Morganton, Valdese, Greensboro, Shelby, and Asheville and have won several competitions. The work is deeply rewarding but incredibly time-consuming. The process begins with creating a character and continues with every detail from the makeup, hair, costume, jewelry, choreography, music/sound editing, to marketing and even producing. This effort also leads to the inevitable struggle of the career path... that its thought of as a hobby rather than a legitimate career in a huge, multi-faceted industry.

Andrew is presently preparing for even more promising and exciting competitions, and the future is filled with exciting prospects. Ultimately, I would love nothing more than to fuse my love of artistry and performance with my abilities as a creative leader into a brand of sorts. Reconnecting with this area, with so many of the people who first inspired me to be an entertainer, has helped me completely re-focus and grow in tremendous ways in a very short amount of time.

The rewards of an artistic career are clear - artistry makes people happy. Everyones lives are influenced and given a narrative throughout their own artistic lens, whether they realize it or not.

Published August 2022

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