Flawless beauties! I want to introduce you to one of our 5 new artists who have joined our collaboration team... Ash Mac!! Enjoy her Artist Spotlight!
HEY EVERYONE! Welcome to the lovely world of...well, me! I have some big footprints to fill in this whole artist spotlight thing, so let's see if I can put on my pumps and start strutting my stuff. I'm Ashley McClanahan, but everyone knows me as Ash Mac. No, I didn't choose that name because of MAC makeup. It’s more to separate me from the crowd and it just so happens that I'm a makeup artist too. I mean, how many Ashley’s do you know? A lot, right! Now, how many Ash Macs do you know? Exactly, cause I'm the one and only. Kidding, I know there are other Ash Macs in the world, but I promise I'm the OG. HAHA. I think more people know me by my nickname and not have a clue to my real name. Which I find to be awesome and funny at the same time, but you're probably wondering how I even got it to begin with. Well, let me take you down memory lane just so you are on the up and up of how cool I really am.
I was unintentionally given that nickname by my chemistry teacher in high school senior year way back in the early 2000's when Beyoncé was a Naughty Girl, and Usher was letting it Burn. He was one of those teachers that was cool and laid back, and I was a b+ student that was too lazy to write my full name on any of my (unimportant) papers. I would just write "Ash Mcc". So one day, He called me out in front of the whole class and said "whose is this? How do you even pronounce this name? Ash 'MIC'?" knowing good and well he knew he was talking about me. I corrected him and said “it was pronounced Ash Mac, duh” and thus my name was born. Even though in my southern accent my last name was pronounces "Mic-klan-a-han". It didn't start to stick until a couple of years later, but still, here you are in the presence of a celebrity, or so I'm told from time to time even though I deny it. And considering my living in the small southern town of Knoxville, TN, I'm more or less popular than the average local news anchors depending on who you ask. Which is nobody in the grand scheme of things. So yeah, I'm totally humble, with just a hint of Kanye.
Anyway, now that I've given you a little background on the nickname, let me give you a brief history in time and a little background as to how awesome I am. Born and raised in east Tennessee, I'm just your average quirky yet cool southern kinda girl that is mostly sweet, but from time to time a little salty. I have the southern charm people talk about with a confidence and poise about me that rivals super models in New York Fashion Week, and curves more dangerous than the Tail of the Dragon. Look the dragon up if you’re unfamiliar. It’s a very popular and very beautiful scenic drive in the Appalachian Mountains. I'm a single mom raising a beautiful little blond haired boy named Issac. He’s seven, and just as awesome and sassy as me. I swear he's possibly a sour patch kid in disguise, though. "First their sour, then their sweet". I love him dearly, but he's gonna be the death of me. I also help take care of my mom and grandmother when I can. I made the decision to move back in with my grandmother, and my mom followed suit, last august. I'm so glad I did too, because the following January my grandmother went into congestive heart failure, and then once she recovered a bit, my mom had a hemorrhagic stroke in April, spending a month in the hospital and rehabilitation. All hell had broken loose and I was the one that had to hold everything together. So saying this last year has been rough is an understatement. It’s been a long road of recovery, but we’re still here and we’ve been lucky.
I’m the oldest of 4 kids, and the only girl. A set of twin 3 years younger than me, Collin and Cory, and a half-brother 16 years younger than me, Jake. They’re all hilarious, and either really into cars or electronics. My Mom, Dianne, is my rock. Before her stroke, she enjoyed driving her motorcycle, and working as a cosmetologist. She’s still recovering, so she’s not able to do the things she used to, but I have no doubt she’ll eventually get there. My Dad, John, is a huge Green bay Packers and TN Volunteers fan, and He’s deaf. No, I don’t really know a whole lot of sign language. He wasn’t born deaf. A high fever from the measles vaccine when he was 3 took out the majority of his hearing, and then something else happened in his twenties that took the rest of it out. Probably loud rock music, but I honestly don’t know. He’s actually really good at reading lips, and other than a speech impediment, his talking is decent too. I also have a nephew the same age as my son, and a niece on the way. Throw in our dog, Booger, and cat, Tiger, and we’re all just one big dysfunctional yet happy family.
Some random facts about me. I love to laugh, especially when I’m with friends. I love music. From oldies to gangster rap, I kinda like it all depending on how I’m feeling. I love to sing along even though I'm terrible at it, and I even make up my own songs about mundane things like laundry and driving all the time. I love to travel. I have this thing for cityscapes. Especially in the big cities. For 3 years after high school, I danced on a national championship clogging team. I absolutely loved it. We would travel all over the southeast to competitions and just dance our little hearts out. That’s where I fell in love with Atlanta. But then I got caught up in a boy and he ruined it for me. So make sure if you find something you love that you don’t let anyone come in between it and you. I recently just took my first cruise to Mexico and loved it! If you haven’t been on a cruise I highly recommend it. Being able to drink as much as you want and not have to worry about how you’re gonna get home is fantastic. I love learning about different cultures and its history. I love Asian and Mexican food. I’ve never been married, and am currently single. So if you know any tall, athletic, and handsome men that like some junk in the trunk then get at me.
When I was a teenager, I was obsessed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I don’t know why. Something about a little blonde girl kicking ass. I could just relate and it gave me someone to look up to, I guess. I’ll still binge watch it from time to time. I'm pretty sure that's where I get my badassery and witty sense of humor from too. That and my mom. (Yes, that's a word I just made up.) I prefer my hair long and colorful, and I enjoy intellectual conversations on just about anything. I’ve modeled, and I love pictures. My selfie game is strong. I'm also a Netflix, social media, and makeup junky. I'm actually pretty eclectic, from music, movies, and more. Basically I’m a jack of all trades. I like a little of everything, especially if it makes me laugh. Which all basically means I’m really just a huge dork loving life and living it one day at a time.
During the day, I work the traditional 9-5 as an office admin, think Dolly Parton with more fun and a lot less harassment. And I think I just showed my age if you didn’t get that joke. HAHA I’m 30 by the way, but SHHHHH don’t tell anyone. Outside of my day job, I moonlight as an entrepreneur and makeup artist. I've always loved makeup. Even when I was little I can remember being in my Sunday dress putting on my mamaw's red lipstick (That's southern for grandmother for those that didn't know. specifically talking my dad's mom in this scenario). And even though in high school I was much more a tomboy than the girly diva I am today, I would still at least have some eyeliner or lip gloss on.
I never imagined being a makeup artist. I mean, not in the sense of it becoming reality for me. Back then, before I got started, I would just do my makeup or my friend's makeup for fun as I worked the J.O.B. in technical support for a local cellphone carrier. I worked there for 4.5 years, and in late August of 2012, 8 months into a depression that clouded over me after my mamaw (and best friend) passed suddenly, a close friend called me late at night asking if I would be willing to do help him with makeup early the next morning on a short film he was doing for the annual film festival.
"Don't take this wrong, but I need some really gaudy trashy think-Mimi-from-The-Drew-Carey-Show kind of makeup for one of our actresses and you're the only one that I think can pull it off" he said. Gee, THANKS! I didn't even know we had film festivals in my city, let alone that my friends participated in them, and were totally awesome at it! He had been holding out on me all these years. He told me it was for a volunteer only film competition. So he couldn't pay me but it would be a good opportunity to open doors for makeup gigs in the future. I wanted to tell him no as he begged, bargained, and pleaded for me to come put electric blue and gold eyeshadow on his actress. I mean, I really didn't want to wake up that early, pack all the makeup I own, and drag it down to some set location across town before going to work later that day, but something deep down was screaming to do it. So I did, and it lit a fiery passion in me I've never known before. From there, I did everything I could to teach myself makeup artistry. From the basics in technique and sanitation to special effects. It allowed me to focus on something more positive and took me out of a darkness I had grown tired of. That was 4 years ago, and my entire like and career has snowballed around that one event. Crazy how things work out like that, huh?
I've worked so hard to build this passion of mine, but my job with the cellphone company didn't allow me much flexibility to do so. It was standing in my way and slowly crushing my soul too. So when I could, I did more film festivals, photoshoots, and even started working for Dead Man's Farm Haunted House during the Halloween season. Making people go from beautiful to beastly with a few brush strokes. Whether is a special event or for the scary, their reactions are what warm my heart, and make me love what I do. I get so much satisfaction when I see a smile light up their face, whether its red lipstick or blood surrounding it. And it's allowed me to build my portfolio up. I've established myself in the community as a self-taught makeup artist under my brand, Makeup by Ash Mac.
A couple of years later, in 2014, I quit the cellphone company after being there almost 7 years. And even though the pay, perks, and people were amazing deep down I knew it was wasn't where I was meant to be. So I left with a fear of leaving stability and familiarity, but with an excitement of what could be, and 2 weeks later Motives fell in my lap. Which between all my hard work, and the amazing opportunity Motives brings, it has allowed some awesome adventures and recognition to be thrown my way. My work has been published in magazines and I've been nominated for Best of the Best makeup artist in Knoxville's City View Magazine for the last 4 years. Tying for first runner up in 2014.
Since venturing out on my own, there have been many ups and downs. Sometimes it seems more of the latter, but I'm still very grateful. I keep a lighthearted look on life, making others laugh and bringing a bright spot into their life. And I take the talent I've been given and share it when I can. It has allowed me to do something I love on a daily basis, and I couldn't ask for anything more. I never meet a stranger, and if you ever see me out please don’t hesitate to totally fangirl. Kidding! But you might just make my day, and I hope to make yours too.
View my full portfolio and films at www.makeupbyashmac.com