How do you turn pre-teen low self-esteem into killer self-confidence, become a successful makeup artist who hits TV bigtime, publish three books, and change millions of women’s lives along the way?

We figured What Not to Wear’s makeup star Carmindy might know, so when she was in town recently, Metro asked her.

In your previous book, Get Positively Beautiful, you included a childhood photo and said you hadn't felt pretty. How did you deal with that?
I was always a very positive person. I started doing personal mirror mantras, these little affirmations. Instead of like, ‘Oh, the kids say I’m fat, I must be fat, I must be ugly,’ I’d look in the mirror and say, ‘You know what, I have great eyes.’ Or ‘I have great cheeks, they’re not fat, they’re happy.’ Pretty soon my self-esteem and confidence grew.

How did you get started in the fashion-and-beauty industry?
I met a boy in school whose father was a television makeup artist for a TV show, and I thought 'That is the coolest job I’ve ever heard of.' I asked [him], ‘How do you become a makeup artist,’ and he said ‘Well, there’s these agencies like a modelling agency that represent hair dressers and makeup artists and top stylists in wardrobe,’ so I got a list and drove to every single one of these places and walked in and said, ‘I know I’m young, but I’m hungry and I’ll do it for free,’ and I was an apprentice.

How did you get your first pro makeup gig?
I was assisting a makeup artist in Hollywood, and the makeup artist was sick. There was a weekend job with a photographer, so I got to fill in for that makeup artist. And that photographer loved me so much that he wound up doing another job in South Beach, Miami, that he flew me to, and then I never went back to California. Then I was gone.

How was working with celebs? (Carmindy has worked with a number of A-listers, but prefers not to be specific.)
It wasn’t very interesting to me ... there was a certain look they always wanted to stick with for their image, so it wasn’t fun to me. When a women walks in and she’s lost 100 lbs and she’s at a crossroads and doesn’t know which way to go, sitting down with her and teaching her how to celebrate her beauty and watching her just transform into a flower and go forward in her life in a positive way — that is rewarding.

How did What Not to Wear (WNTW) change things?
When I started doing WNTW, I realized, ‘Oh my God, these women, even with all that information out there, have no idea how to embrace their natural beauty and make themselves look incredible.’ I could change their attitudes, help build their confidence, because of the way I did it. I knew what insecurity was all about, I knew how to overcome it, and I also had the tools to do it, so WNTW was the most beautiful thing for me.

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