Dionne Ford is a Charlotte-based, licensed esthetician and professional makeup artist with seven years of experience in the skincare and beauty Industry. She obtained her esthetics license as a graduate of The International School of Skincare, Nail Care & Massage Therapy. Dionne specializes in bridal, lifestyle, and production-style makeup. Her work can be seen in print, commercials, tv, film, and on the runway.
Dionne has a background in makeup education as well, as she guest speaks and teaches group classes about skincare routines and daily makeup techniques. As a licensed esthetician she uses her skincare knowledge and expertise in the art of makeup application, to propel herself through the industry and teach new clients along the way. Clients seek out Dionne's expertise as she understands the importance of time, professionalism, versatility, preparedness, and detail in all her jobs. Her clients leave her chair looking and feeling their best. Her passion lies in enhancing the beauty she finds in every client, aiming to give beauty a relatable yet stunning look.
The makeup artist and esthetician is making strides to leave her mark on the world as an international beauty brand. Dionne is a serial entrepreneur and owner of multiple businesses in Georgia and North Carolina. Learn more about the beautypreneur below.
Fancy: Please tell us a little bit about where you are from?
Dionne: I’m a Michigan native but my family and I moved to Georgia in 1996. I started my seventh-grade year in Marietta GA, but then my mom bought a house in East Atlanta the following year and she’s been there ever since. I personally have lived all over Atlanta, I consider myself “Old School Atlanta” because I was around when Freaknik’ was still popping, and Club 112 and the 559 were lit. Golden Glide on the eastside and Sparkle’s on the westside were the chill spots. The underground was always packed and they sold knockoffs on every corner like on Canal St in New York City. Buckhead was so over the top... From Club Fuel to the Shark Bar to the ESPN Zone, your favorite celebrities were at all the Buckhead spots. Everybody went to the flea market on Glenwood or the one on Old National.
Spondivits was the crab spot, the Varsity had the best hotdogs, and Charlene’s had the best soul food.
However, I recently relocated to Charlotte, NC, lol.
Fancy: So you are a licensed esthetician and a professional makeup artist. Was it your interest in makeup that sparked your interest in skincare or vice versa?
Dionne: I went to esthetics school so I could learn the anatomy of the skin, skin types, and ailments. I knew that would help me become the artist I am today. I also don’t feel like you’re a professional without your credentials. So I did my due diligence because I wanted respect from my peers. I felt being licensed was very important, and when working on most production sets with major film companies, it’s a requirement. I spent nine months, totaling 1,000 hours, studying esthetics before I was able to take my state board test.
Fancy: When switching hats between being an esthetician and an MUA, does it feel like you are juggling the two, or is it a natural flow for you, and do you have a preference out of the two that you enjoy more?
Dionne: They’re one and the same. Some go to school to work with dermatologists or plastic surgeons and use lasers. Others work in spas and perform facials and hot stone massages on clients, and some work at waxing centers. I attained my license to be a great makeup artist.
Fancy: How did you break into the production industry?
Dionne: One day I decided to reach out to a photographer named Jeno Uche. He’s a phenomenal photographer I met him while I resided in Atlanta. Jeno knew I was just starting and offered me opportunities to work with him. First, it was more like collaborative work, then eventually paid gigs. It was through Jeno that I was able to build my portfolio with beautiful, vibrant photographs. He helped me showcase my work and for that, I will be forever grateful to him.
Jeno purchased a book for me written by the iconic model IMAN, and it really broke down the basics of makeup as an art, the different undertones, and how to manipulate highlight and contour hues to create stunning looks. I still read that book on occasion.
Jeno had a photoshoot planned with a celebrity named Brandi Rhodes. Brandi is married to Cody Rhodes, the son of the late Dusty Rhodes (if you know anything about Wrestling (WWE)), and she was in the process to start filming for a reality show called “WAGS Atlanta.” Jeno booked me for a couple of photoshoot sessions with her and the relationship took off from there. I worked with her for the entire season as well as any interviews or speaking engagements she had. She now has her own show with her family on TNT.
Then, one day, I received an email from Lisa Nicole Cloud’s photographer saying Lisa was looking for a new makeup artist, she loved my work, and she wanted to know if I was available to do her makeup that upcoming Friday. We booked the appointment, and I met Lisa. She and I hit it off right away. I did her makeup and she loved it! She attended Dallas Austin’s Ugly Christmas sweater party, and she texted me at 4 am and sent me photos with the caption, “3 am and my makeup is still good, you’re the bomb girl!”
I then went on to become a Key Makeup Artist for Lisa Nicole which started at the end of 2018. Lisa has been a catalyst for growth in my career, not only allowing me to work with her but allowing me to be in the room with some huge industry vets, whom I was able to sit down and talk with one-on-one. These were those “invite-only” events that everyone wants a ticket to. I met Shante Paige through Lisa Nicole, a former A&R for Sony Records, who left her career as an A&R to become an Executive Producer of her own show “Beyond the Pole” she was a producer on other projects as well, one being “Black Ink Crew” in NY.
Shanté turned me on to everybody! Through her and Lisa Nicole, I started working with Lisa Wu from “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and I met producers from Netflix, ALLBLK, and Bounce TV. I worked for PBS, and I met producers from WSBTV in Atlanta and worked on the news set. I did make up for Keenyah Hill from “ANTM” and the list goes on.
Fancy: Since you’re like the best of both worlds, I have to ask, what are some of your favorite makeup brands because you not only know what looks good but also what’s good for our skin?
Dionne: I use luxury makeup products on all my clients; YSL, Givenchy, Tom Ford, etc. Skincare for me should be as natural as possible. I use serums and moisturizers on my clients that protect their skin from UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of 35-50. I also use products that have hyaluronic acid, which holds its weight in water up to 1000%, which is the best way to keep the skin smooth and supple and diminish fine lines and wrinkles. I also educate my clients on how to remove their makeup.
Fancy: Care to share a few beauty trends for spring 2022?
Dionne: There will always be new trends, but I like to keep my applications classic and simple. The reverse cat eye that I’ve seen is pretty cool. I also like the way most artists apply concealer now. It’s much more practical by applying a small amount of concealer to the inside corner of the eye to give the illusion of a bigger eye and dab in the outer corner for lift. No more upside-down triangles underneath the eye.
Fancy: Your work has been seen on tv and in magazines. Did you ever imagine you’d have this type of success?
Dionne: Yes I’ve always imagined it, and I know God has so much more in store for me on this amazing journey I’m on. He gets all the Glory! He is the one who gives us the power to acquire wealth! He’s an amazing facilitator always bringing in the right people at the right time into my life. He drops new opportunities in my lap out of nowhere. He’s the one who has blessed me with this gift and it’s my duty to master it.
Fancy: How would you describe your swagher? What makes Dionné, Dionné?
Dionne: I show up as myself and people feel that sh*t! Simple.
Fancy: What does it mean to you to be a Black woman in business?
Dionne: It means defying all the odds; it means you’re confident and sexy. It means you know who you are. You’re bold and fortune favors the bold. It means you have a vision. You may not see the whole staircase but you still take the next step!
Connect with Dionne below.
Francheska “Fancy” Felder is a quiet Southern, media mogul in the making. In 2010, she launched SwagHer Magazine, an empowerment and lifestyle publication for the progressive Black community.
Fancy’s passion for all things creative combined with her love for writing, Black culture, and business guided her to also offer her public relations, creative, and branding services, making the magazine more of a media boutique having its own subscription clients as well as advertisers, hence why the name changed to SwagHer Magazine & Media.
SwagHer Magazine uses positive media and storytelling to create new narratives and mindsets around Black people, their communities, and the businesses and organizations they lead. Fancy executes campaigns for Black women-led businesses, coaches, authors, and girl bosses so that they receive more visibility and establish themselves as an authority.
The Mississippi native is also one half of Theories & Thoughts Podcast, a discussion-driven show that tackles Black issues and taboo subjects with a kitchen table talk feel, which she hosts with Arnya T.M. Davis. The two also co-produce and host Theories & Thoughts Deep Dive, a millennial talk show.
The former teen mom graduated from Southwest Mississippi Community College with her associate’s in marketing management and studied mass communications with a focus in public relations from Southern University A&M College.