Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony, than bearing an untold story inside of you.” This couldn’t be more true for 51-year-old Eryca Freemantle. She didn’t set out to become a product developer, celebrity makeup artist, and one of the few paramedical corrective and camouflage specialists in the U.K. But when a near-fatal car accident left her with 250 facial scars, an inability to grow hair on her head and a near amputation of her left leg, Eryca used her recovery journey to begin a career in makeup and build a global empowerment platform for women of color.
Freemantle’s past list of powerhouse clients includes: Seal, Whitney Houston, Yasmin Le Bon, Black Hair Magazine, Vogue, and Elle. She was also recent advisor to the British Government “Body Image” campaign where she addressed the needs of young women of color in Britain.
Often, we let a mistake, tragedy or crisis paralyze us from moving forward, but any successful person has learned that the ability to bounce back from setbacks in business and life is necessary to achieve your goals.
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with Freemantle to get some advice for people facing setbacks and learn about her mission to transform the beauty world in the United States, Europe, and Africa.
How did you get started in makeup artistry?
After the car accident, I was told I would never be able to walk again. I was a recluse for about three years. And on top of everything else, my childhood experiences of being bullied and called “black and ugly” contributed greatly to my depression. I had childhood aspirations of becoming a model, just to prove “them” wrong and because of the accident that couldn’t happen.
But I learned to walk again. Then one day while sitting in the garden I mixed mud, water and my mother’s foundation to give me the coverage I needed to go out in the public. The mixture only gave me the coverage I needed for about two hours of outdoor time because as you know mud turns into clay. Ironically, the accident motivated me to learn more about corrective makeup techniques to hide the marks on my face and eventually led to a successful 30-year career in makeup artistry.
Now, I help multinational brands look and develop their existing makeup range of eye shadows, lipsticks, and foundations for women of color. I also help them look at emerging markets and how they can bring their products into markets like Africa.
Find out how Freemantle was about to turn tragedy into triumph in her career on the next page …