Q&A: Freshman Kenny Davis talks makeup, TikTok following


Courtesy of Kenny Davis

Davis’ Instagram, where she posts photos of her new makeup looks. Davis’ latest post is part of her “Valentine’s Day Series.”

Nick Francis, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

Medill freshman Kenny Davis has been applying makeup since she was 14 years old. In quarantine, she started to share her makeup looks through social media. Davis has since garnered more than 42,000 likes on TikTok, and her content has been reposted on Instagram pages with followings of over 300,000. The Daily sat down with Davis to talk TikTok stardom, impactful moments and her personal growth. 

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

The Daily: What has your makeup journey looked like?

Davis: I first started makeup in general when I was 14, like basic stuff with mascara and eyeliner. In high school, I realized I look good with any color on the color wheel and thought, ‘it’s crazy how much you can do with makeup.’ Then it was May of 2020 during quarantine when I was doing makeup everyday — just practicing — but I decided that I wanted to actually see where it goes and make a social media account for it.

The Daily: As you took your craft to social media, how did it begin to change?

Davis: People were actually telling me, ‘Okay, you’re actually really good at this.’ I have followers on TikTok who comment on how they’re inspired by me, especially Black women. I realized I want to show Black women that we look good in any color on the color wheel. We look beautiful and we can play around with makeup and different shades of color just like anybody else. I do it now to empower other Black women to play with color.

The Daily: What was going through your head when you realized you were amassing a large following and making this statement?

Davis: It was crazy because I consider myself a makeup artist, and now also a content creator. At first, it was how most people start on TikTok: just for fun. I never imagined that people would actually be interested enough in me to follow me. To have them follow me and realize that it’s for a reason, it gives me a sense of purpose. It gives you a really big sense of responsibility, and it is a little bit of a confidence boost. It can be a little bit of a burden sometimes too, but I don’t regret it for the world.

The Daily: Can you think of one moment that stood out to you along this journey?

Davis: Somebody drew me and messaged me. They were just like, ‘Hey, I drew this picture of your last look, I hope you enjoy it.’ I looked at it and I loved it and thought, ‘You really drew me. You took time out of your day to draw a picture of me.’’ It was the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me, and they didn’t even expect anything back from me. It was a big moment emotionally for me.

The Daily: Through this evolution, what has makeup meant for you?

Davis: At first it was purely for my own self-expression. I think I’ve always been a creative, artistic person; but I can’t draw, I can’t really do art. I always felt like I never had a creative outlet. Makeup gave that to me, and it was something that I used to figure out more about myself, and I see each makeup look like different facets of my personality or different versions of myself that I’m unlocking.

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @nick24francis

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