Our Honorees

Cynthia Craig
2019 Honoree - Decade Award

At the 1971 Junior Miss Pageant in Meridian, Mississippi, Cynthia Craig for the first time verbally shared her dreams with others to become a fashion consultant. As the first black to enter this pageant, this milestone would prove to be the beginning of many “firsts” in Cynthia Craig’s adventurous career. Cynthia did not know the how, the where or the when, but she did know that she wanted to pursue a career that aligned with her love for fashion. After graduating from Meridian High School, Cynthia attended Jackson State University in 1972. On a whim, Cynthia and her cousin decided to move to Atlanta to pursue their dreams. Her first job in Atlanta was with the White Motors Corporation, a trucking company located in Atlanta, GA. At White Motors, she was the company’s first black posting clerk. In 1975, blacks and females were not allowed to work in the office or in the parts department. But Cynthia never focused on what society said she could not do, but focused on doing a good job, working hard and being a trailblazer. Cynthia worked at Whites Motor Corporation for three years, and later obtained employment at several doctor’s offices throughout Atlanta. Unhappy with her job, Cynthia longed to find fulfilling work, so she perused the Atlanta Journal and Constitution to find her dream job. She saw an advertisement for a makeup artist, with no experience required with Barbara Walden Cosmetics located in Rich’s Department Stores based out of Culver City, CA. She called that morning, got an interview that afternoon and was hired that day. Unbeknownst to Cynthia, this job would be the stimulus for a 36-year career in the makeup industry. Cynthia was trained by the “Line-Girl,”(for the cosmetic line of Barbara Walden cosmetics) Carolyn Craig Hall (no relations). Carolyn taught Cynthia how do makeup in less than ten minutes because a faster quality turnover time meant Cynthia would be able to serve more customers. During this time, Cynthia worked as a runway model with designer Edward Johnson and print work for several publications. Cynthia stayed at Walden for three years until one day she was blessed to have a random encounter with Dwight Eubanks, and he informed Cynthia of an opportunity with Salon Lieben owned by Donald Tremble. Cynthia was hired by Tremble and was the first black makeup artist at the salon. At Salon Lieben, Cynthia received extensive training in makeup application, brow waxing, brow tinting, and facials. Cynthia was also trained on how to do the “Lieben Eye,” created by the famous makeup artist, George Masters out of Hollywood, CA. Cynthia had an amazing three-year tenure at Salon Lieben and would later move to the Michael Azar Salon in Buckhead. Cynthia was the first and has been the only black to establish business as a makeup artist based within the Michael Azar Salon. Azar Salon has afforded Cynthia the opportunity to establish a quality clientele from Atlanta’s most prominent residents and to do freelance work for over thirty years. Her work with Darryl Lane Photography and Bill Moore, provided her the experience needed to work as a make-up artist on photo shoots. Cynthia has practiced her artistry of makeup on movies sets, video shoots, talk shows, and entertainers. Some of Cynthia’s celebrity clients includes: Quincy Jones, Toni Braxton, Macy Gray, Jeremy Jordan, Elaine Hendrix, Phylicia Rashad, Sinbad, Avery Brooks (Star Trek and A Man Called Hawk) and Jerry Farber; video shoots include: Producer Keith Ward, Lionel Martin, AC Black’s “Funky Situation”, Jermaine Dupree’s group, Silk Tymes Leather’s “The Woman in Me”, Intro’s “Let Me Be the One,” Another Bad Creation’s (ABC) “Iesha”, Basic Black’s “Whatever It Takes,” “She’s Mine” and ‘Ain’t Nothing But a Party”, Five XI’s “Say It Isn’t Over” Arrested Development’s “Mr. Wendle”; work with designers, Patrick Kelly (she met at Jackson State) and Edward Johnson; on-set production work include: Director Maurice Madden for “Dance Among Strangers,” producer, Narcel Reedus’ “Beware,” BET’s “Scene Screen” featuring Angelia Stribbling and Melvin Lindsey “Video LP featuring Sherrie Carter ; promotional work for Bigen Hair Products; some album cover work include: AC Black, ABC, Arrested Development and Silk Tymes Leather; exclusive make-up artist for Late Night Atlanta for host John Ward and guest entertainers on Channel 36; Richard Lawson’s Road to Success, Elaine Hendrix’s promotional tour for the movie, “Parent Trap, Keenan Ivory Wayan’s A Low Down Dirty Shame, Atlanta Hawks Dance team, and Willow Bay’s 1996 Olympic Team Coverage; make-up for community leaders include: Coretta Scott King for People Magazine, Anne Cox Chambers, Dr. Johnetta Cole, Dr. Brenda Watts Jones (President of Atlanta Technical College) and Laura Turner-Seydel (Ted Turner’s daughter and environmental activist); book and magazine credits include: Women Dentist Journal cover, Atlanta Hair magazine, Bronner Bros. International Hair Show 42nd edition program, and Charla Krupp’s book, How Not to Look Old; Cynthia was feature in the January 1999, November 2001 and September 2002 issues of Allure Magazine for Best Brow Expert in Atlanta. Cynthia has participated in several Bronner Brothers International Hair Shows. Cynthia also worked as a stylist for A. Shuanise Washington former President of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and there she met President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Congressman Cory Booker just to name a few. Today, Cynthia’s business is still based out of Azar Salon and she considers her clientele the very best. Her favorite quote is by Helena Rubinstein, There’s no such thing as an ugly women, only a lazy one.” Her clients trust her with doing impeccable work, giving sound advice, showing up on time, and “keeping their secrets.” Cynthia is known throughout Atlanta for her dedication to her craft, youthful appearance and vintage-inspired style which comes from her mother, who at the age of 89 recently retired from teaching in Meridian, MS. Cynthia also credits her longevity in the industry to being surrounded by phenomenal friends that include Bill Moore, Reggie Marble, Gail Robertson, Leisa M. Davis and Michael Azar. In her spare time, Cynthia enjoys home décor and staging, personal shopping, visiting art and fashion galleries, dabbling at photography, collecting rare books and publications and collecting vintage couture.

Conor McCullagh
2019 Honoree - SFX Maqui Award

Born in Vancouver, Canada, Conor McCullagh moved frequently as a child, living in South Africa for a time. At age 16, during a high school ceramics class, Conor discovered Fangoria magazine, and realized he could make more than clay pots and vases—he could make 3D monsters. He taught himself to make a mold, and the rest is history. He spent 14 years in Los Angeles, working for theme parks and apprenticing under John Caglione Jr., the Academy Award winning makeup artist for Dick Tracy. Conor eventually made his way into feature films and television. Conor has worked on the series The Vampire Diaries, and currently he teaches full time at Joe Blasco Makeup School. Only after The Hunger Games hit theaters could Conor reveal his creation that filled him with the most pride: “I am most proud of the camouflage makeups I did on Josh Hutcherson. There were no prosthetics used for these effects. Since he had to come out of the rocks looking like he used only found materials to hide himself, I blended Josh to the rocks with water clay, and matched the colors and textures with airbrush makeup. Same goes for the scene where he blended his arm to the tree trunk [in training].” The designs used were often the brainchildren of brilliant make-up mistress Ve Neill, but the execution was Conor’s, particularly in the case of the effects used on Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) “It was Ve’s idea to use clay. She had done a couple test makeups ahead of time. I ended up mixing glycerine into the clay to keep it from crumbling while on Josh’s skin. It worked out really well.” In addition to creating “the last word in camouflage,” Conor, who does some incredible work on horror designs, was responsible for making Cato’s last moments look realistic, even though the wolf-mutts existed only in the computers of special effects Gamemakers, “For Cato’s flesh wounds, we just went big and scary. The mutts had to come off as vicious, so we made it look like the claws could cut through him like butter.” Make up is a much harder art form than it may seem to those of us who simply enjoy the results or imagine the concepts as we are reading a book in which characters have unusual appearances or undergo radical transformations. Conor had to make sure all the characters kept their looks, and he’s very pleased with the results of all his labors:”Since most of the work I did was maintaining makeup on set, there were very few surprises. Glimmer’s death looked good, as did Cato’s. I didn’t catch any mistakes on film, so I’m happy with it.” Of course, an unusually warm North Carolina summer didn’t do much to help an art form that is very climate sensitive: “heat and humidity is a makeup artist’s worst enemy and there’s little we can do about it when we’re on an outdoor location in the forest.” If Conor does get to work on Catching Fire (and he doesn’t know that just yet), he will at least get to work in the cold for part of the film, but then there is that tropical arena, which will surely jar any make-up artist’s nerves. While waiting to hear if will see his artistry in Catching Fire, Conor is looking forward to the release of his next film, Jessabelle, and to taking some time to relax. If he does get to work on those horrific acid burns, whip lashes, and monkey attacks in Catching Fire, he’s going to need the rest. Thanks, Conor, and best wishes to you in all your creations!

Betina Bailey
2019 Honoree - Body Paint Maqui Award

Owner/Artist, Betina Bailey, is an award-winning artist with more than 18 years of face-painting experience. She has won 1st place in the Atlanta PMAC (Professional Makeup Artists Conference) competition in 2014, 2016 and 2018. And, 1st place in a 2016 body-painting competition at Atlanta’s Tongue & Groove nightclub. She has also won 1st place in Living Art America Black Light Competition 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia, part of the 3 day LIVING ART AMERICA Atlanta competition for artists from all around the world. She has worked on set as a body painter for the 2015 movie “Vacation”, AMC’s TV show “Halt and Catch Fire." She has also face painted John Cena in a cut scene for "Blockers" and was the lead face paint artist for the movie "War with Grandpa" (not yet released.) Betina was also part of an award-winning body-art team working in Key West’s Fantasy Fest 2015 & 2016which I have won several competitions.

Yolanda Sheridan
2019 Honoree - Philanthropic Maqui Award

Yolanda Sheridan is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. As a teenager, she discovered that nourish skin include a proper diet and a daily cleaning routine can create a clear canvas to the eyes. In the early 90’s she took interest in makeup becoming a representative for Yves Saint Laurent, Fashion Fair and Clarins cosmetics in the Bahamas & United States. Her path unfolded where she was propelled to work in her calling to help other women to become empowered by the beauty within and to enhance one’s natural outer beauty. She believes that “Glowing skin starts with healthy skin,” this realization encourage her to seek a deeper understanding of skin maintenance; in 2004 she enrolled in The School of Skincare and Electrolysis in Pensacola, Florida. Becoming a successful licensed skincare specialist and make-up artist. Yolanda has been sought after by well-known talent in motion pictures and television actors such as Kimberly Elise, Forest Whitaker, and Octavia Spencer to name a few. She cares for each client based on individual needs; she enhances their natural beauty in a healthy and supportive environment. Although she works behind the scenes to bring life to the characters portrayed by actors, she is a vital role in bringing these characters to life. Yolanda believes we’re bless to be a blessing to others; with this firm belief, In the early 90’s she became a beneficiary of youth development programs At the Girls and Boys clubs in Dothan, Alabama where she raised money by spearheading fashion shows. The proceeds supported afterschool care programs, summer lunches, other endeavors included a school book drive for young students in the Bahamas, where she elicited monetary donation from her coworkers in the entertainment industry supporting local and mentoring young girls to embrace their natural and prideful lifestyle. In 2015 Yolanda venture into another path putting together a young women’s skating club. Bahamian Beauties on Wheels. Serving as a model of inner strength, focus in perseverance; it is currently transitioning into the first international roller derby team of the Bahamas.

Denise Tunnell
2019 Honoree - Television Maqui Award / Panelist - Department Head Panel

Denise Tunnell, is raising the bar in the world of beauty as an accomplished makeup artist and aesthetician. Her goal is to help women reach the epitome of their natural beauty with consistent and proper skin care, minimizing their need for makeup as a "cover-up". Tunnell, who earned a degree in Accounting & Business Management from North Carolina State University, also studied skin care at The International School of Skin and Nail Care in Atlanta. She honed her makeup skills while freelancing with several cosmetic lines including MAC, Bobbi Brown, Stila, and Giorgio Armani Currently a respected makeup artist in film and television, Tunnell regularly consults with clients whose livelihood hinges on their looks. She's worked with Shailene Woodley, Naya Rivera, Taraji P. Henson, Tichina Arnold, Terrence Howard, Vivica A. Fox, Robin Givens, Regina King, Garcelle Beauvais, Nicole Ari Parker, Miles Teller, Breckin Myer, Tamara Tunie, Anthony Mackey, Jason Mamoa, Mike Epps, Roselyn Sanchez, Ana Ortiz, Megan Goode, Chris Bauer, Lauren London, Kathy Najimy and Tess Harper to name a few. Her work has been seen on NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox News Affiliates. In addition she boasts an impressive list of film and television credits including: Addicted, Almost Christmas, Allegiant, Ambitions, ATL, Atlanta, Bessie, Big Fish, Devious Maids, Fast & Furious 5 & 7, Hunger Games, Hustle & Flow, Idlewild, Insurgent, Spectacular Now, Step Up, Stomp The Yard, Survivor’s Remorse, The Red Road, Underground, and Vampire Diaries. According to Tunnell, film studios rely on her expertise to deliver the perfect end results every time. For the past ten years Tunnell, along with her twin sister Janice, produce the hit online radio show ‘Beauty Talk with Denise & Janice Tunnell’ where she currently co hosts and writes for the show. Together, she and Janice developed a line of color cosmetics called Illusions Cosmetics that they sell online and in their Makeup and Brow studio.

Sarah Mays
2019 Honoree - Film Maqui Award

SARAH MAYS is a professional Film & Television makeup artist trained at the touted Joe Blasco Makeup Center in Hollywood, California. From the very first day of her career, Sarah’s philosophy has been to constantly evolve with new trends and techniques. This philosophy has humbly allowed her to amass 72 credits over 25 years. Most notable credits include Something To Talk About, Sweet Home Alabama, The Notebook, We are Marshall, Zombieland, The Blindside, The Internship, The Accountant, Keeping Up With The Joneses and most recently Zombieland 2. Sarah has been a personal makeup artist to Ben Stiller, Dolly Parton, Christina Applegate, Josh Lucas and Ms. Gena Rowlands. Sarah’s love for the stage began very early in life as a ballet dancer which she pursued into her college years. She studied with famed Martha Graham in NYC and performed with Mikhail Baryshnikov as a member of the Louisville Ballet Company. Her passion for makeup started at a young age and became a natural career transition after her years of studying professional dancing. It was truly a perfect segue from on stage to behind the camera. From there, the rest is history. Sarah has never looked back since in her illustrious career as a professional makeup artist in the film and entertainment industry.

Ve Neill
2019 Honoree - Joe Blasco Iconic Award / Panel "Conversations with The Master" - Ve Neill

Ve Neil is a real American Success Story, besides breaking the glass ceiling, for all Special Effects Women Makeup Artists, she is a successful businesswoman, beauty and SFX artist, Instructor, public speaker and cosmetic product developer. Her achievements are numerous, nominated for an Oscar 8 times, she has won 3 for Beetlejuice, Mrs. Doubtfire and Ed Wood. Her other awards are 1 Bafta, a Daytime and Primetime Emmy, 20/20 Award, 4 Saturn Awards, Hollywood Film Award, Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Ve aspired to be a makeup artist since the age of 5 wanting to create monsters. She has worked her way up from doing family and friends to designing makeup for more than 100 projects, such as: A Star Is Born, The Hunger Games Series, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Pirates Of The Caribbean Series, Amistad, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Batman & Robin, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Hook, Dick Tracey, Flatliners, The Lost Boys and Edward Scissorhands to name a few. Ve is also a worldwide Media Star with her SyFy reality show "Face Off". She is also one of the directors of education at the Cinema Makeup School in Hollywood, Cailifornia. Currently she is the creator of one the newest PPI Products Lines called "Damage Goods Detaling Makeup Palettes" and her own signature makeup brush line called "Ve's Favorite Brushes". Ve has dedicated her life to educating and mentoring today's artists to achieve their makeup artistry dreams. Neill is currently nominated for her fourth Oscar, for her work on Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. For Intersections, a Morning Edition series on artists and their inspirations, NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports. Neill says that, as a little girl, she loved scaring herself "silly" watching monster movies on TV. She finally stopped after watching The Beast with Five Fingers -- a 1946 film about a murderous severed hand -- one time too many. "Mother tired of me being scared, waiting to see if this hand was going to jump out at me," Neill says.