Cardi B's makeup artist Erika La' Pearl shares the 1 hack you should know

Dana Oliver
·4 mins read

My Beauty, My Way is a video series hosted by Yahoo Life beauty director Dana Oliver, where women of different ages and backgrounds break down their beauty routines to explain what beauty truly means to them and how it represents their cultural identity.

Cardi B hasn’t missed a beat during the pandemic when it comes to wearing glamorous beauty. From her “WAP” music video bubblegum pink smoky eye to her “casual” at-home nude lip and cat-eye liner, the rapper’s makeup moments serve as inspiration and a much-needed distraction from COVID-19.

Erika La’ Pearl, Cardi B’s makeup artist, has been extremely busy during quarantine. But this isn’t entirely unusual considering the fast-paced work environment that comes with beautifying celebrities. In fact, working under intense time constraints and in unpredictable situations is likely what made La’ Pearl stand out to the certified platinum rapper.

The beauty pro got her start in the business over 11 years ago, at a time she fondly recalls was before Instagram and creatives like herself relied on MySpace and word of mouth to bring new opportunities. In 2014, La’ Pearl packed her bags to leave Miami and relocated to Atlanta. This life-changing trip eventually led to a gig with singer, fashion designer and Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta star Tammy Rivera, as well as on the sets of Real Housewives of Atlanta and T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle.

It wouldn’t be long before La’ Pearl caught the attention of Cardi B’s publicist and she would become a part of her glam squad. “Even when there’s no light, I can do her makeup,” La’ Pearl tells Yahoo Life. “I just take my cellphone’s light, put it right in between my boobs and just do her makeup.” We’ll definitely use this hack the next time we’re in a very dark room, or in a space where there is absolutely no light.

When reflecting on getting Cardi B. ready for one of her earliest appearances at New York Fashion Week, La’ Pearl shares that she had to do it in a moving vehicle. “Remember ... the orange Bentley truck that she had? We all squeezed in there, and I had to do her makeup,” she says. “Like full face while the car is speeding and it actually looked good! I think she liked the fact that I didn’t complain or panic. I just went straight for it.”

Being trustworthy is also one of La’ Pearl’s greatest traits. When shooting the “WAP” music video, she had to ensure that none of Cardi B.’s looks leaked to the press. It all worked out because the makeup artist mastered some of the most jaw-dropping styles we’ve seen on her celebrity client. And you probably won’t believe that she used drugstore products too.

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CARDI B – LEOPARD LOOK SKIN: Prepped her skin with @macreneactives High Performance Face Serum #Lashes.... @ardellbeauty Studio effects 110 @patmcgrathreal Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Primer @patmcgrathreal Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation shades MEDIUM 15, MEDIUM 17 & MEDIUM 18 @patmcgrathreal Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Concealer MEDIUM 15 @patmcgrathreal Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Powder LIGHT 1 & LIGHT MEDIUM 2 @patmcgrathreal Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Under-Eye Blurring Powder LIGHT @patmcgrathreal Skin Fetish: Highlighter + Balm Duo GOLDEN @patmcgrathreal CHEEKS: @Using MOTHERSHIP VIII: ROSE DECADENCE PALETTE, add a soft touch of NAKED BLUSH on the cheeks EYES: @patmcgrathreal MTHRSHP: ROSE DECADENCE @patmcgrathreal SCANDALOUS on eyelid and blended to outer crease @patmcgrathreal PINK CHAMPAGNE on center of eyelid and highlight brow bone @patmcgrathreal PEACH DUSK in crease and blended outward for an exaggerated wing effect @patmcgrathreal HEDONISTIC ROSE in outer crease @patmcgrathreal PEACH DUSK & HEDONISTIC ROSE smudged on lower lash line as a drop shadow @patmcgrathreal MOTHERSHIP VIII: DIVINE ROSE II @patmcgrathreal For depth and definition, add XTREME BURGUNDY to the outer crease @patmcgrathreal Perma Precision Liquid Eye Eyeliner for elongated wing @patmcgrathreal PermaGel Ultra Glide Eye Pencil in XTREME BLACK inside water line @patmcgrathreal Coat bottom lashes with DARK STAR MASCARA Before applying her lipstick, used @macreneactives High Performance Lip Filler was applied LIPS: @patmcgrathreal PermaGel Ultra Lip Pencil in BROWNOUVEAUX @patmcgrathreal Lip Fetish Divinyl Lip Shine in NUDE VENUS My go for brows... @anastasiabeverlyhills Anastasia Beverly Hills brush in 7b to apply Anastasia Beverly hills dip brow pomade in Dark brown along with clear brow gel. Used the COMPLETE BEAT BRUSH SET @morphebrushes to applied the makeup ( use code “Erika”) #anastasiabrows #hair done by @tokyostylez #styling @kollincarter / @jennijenu #bodytan @isabelalysa #nails @nailson7th

A post shared by Erika La’ Pearl (@erika_lapearl_mua) on

The elongated cat-eye makeup was achieved by stacking four long and medium Ardell false lashes. She also reached for one of her favorite brands, Pat McGrath Labs, to give Cardi B. those ultra-glossy pink lips and eyelids.

Inside La’ Pearl’s makeup kit you’ll also find color correctors and face powders from YouTuber and beauty entrepreneur Nikita Dragun. “She’s a transgender [woman] like me so I really support her brand,” La’ Pearl says.

Early in her career, La’ Pearl admitted to concealing that part of her identity. However, she is now more confident and admits that Cardi B. and her team are very supportive. When asked how she feels since coming out and the response from people in the entertainment industry, La’ Pearl says, “It’s getting better, but I still see people go through transphobia... I still read horrible comments. I always tell people just don’t give up, be strong. Create your own lane.”

For any trolls who dare to criticize the celebrity makeup artist’s appearance, La’ Pearl wants you to know: “I am a transgender woman. I am very happy with my natural face and I feel like I’m just beautiful, confident. So I’m just happy with how I look.”

Follow Erika La’ Pearl on Instagram and be sure to keep up with Cardi B. so you don’t miss out on her the celebrity makeup artist’s work.

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