Mariane Paul never wore lipstick.
The 25-year-old was self-conscious about her partially scarred upper lip, the result of a childhood electrocution accident that burned the right side, leaving it sagging downward.
But on her 24th birthday, she said she wanted to feel glamourous. She turned to Kazumi Brown, a Miami Gardens-based makeup artist, to make her look extra special.
But Paul of North Miami Beach had her doubts. What if the makeup accentuates the scar? Will Brown make her feel weird about her imperfection?
“I told her I have a scar on my lip, and ‘I don’t know if you can cover it,’ ” she said. “You know all of her other clients have full lips. When she saw me, she was like, she’s going to make me more beautiful.”
Brown, who has a faithful following on social media – namely Instagram, where she posts photos of her “beauty enhancements” – said Paul was one of her favorite and most memorable clients.
“On one side of her face, her lip was melted. I had to create depth and dimension to create the rest of her lip,” she said. “When I finished, I could have cried. We were both near tears because she had never seen herself look like that. She said she felt so pretty.”
Paul said she was reconsidering the need for corrective surgery to her lip after seeing what makeup techniques can do.
“Before, I thought there was nothing I can do to feel prettier with my scar. Ever since she did my makeup, I was like, ‘Forget it, I’m going for this.’ I feel way much better about myself,” Paul said.
Brown, a resident of Miramar, opened her eponymous Miami Gardens makeup studio, Kazumi B., last year.
The 35-year-old, originally from Baltimore, has counted among her clients celebrities like tennis superstar Venus Williams, rapper Nicki Minaj and singer Solange Knowles.
And while the celebrity credits are great for her professionally, she said her true passion is working with everyday women like Paul.
Locally, she is a go-to cosmetic magician for ladies who want to have a night out or celebrate a special event. Her clients hail from Homestead to West Palm Beach.
“I have women who come to me because it’s their birthday and they want the nightlife look. I have women who come for bridal needs. I even have clients who come to me for a funeral,” she said. “Women are feeling the need to wear the makeup just because.”
Originally from Baltimore, Brown perfected her skills in Los Angeles and later in Hialeah, where she attended Beauty Schools of America.
“The more you know about your craft, you’re able to speak with confidence and move to the next level. You have to be innovative and be your own trendsetter,” Brown said.
Industry insiders and her clients know her as Kazumi Brown The Artist.
She said that after more than a decade in the industry, she is pushing her brand as a beauty entrepreneur. In the works are YouTube tutorials and makeup lessons.
“I think it takes a lot of trust and faith in God to make it in this industry,” she said. “It’s fulfilling to me to see a woman walk in here, smile and hold her head up after our sessions.”