Bobbie Riley’s path to success was not determined by the fame of her music mogul father, Teddy Riley. For Bobbie hard work was instilled from both her parents at an early age, she had to work for what she wanted out of life. Riley has not only created a successful career in the beauty industry but she’s created a lane for herself by retaining big-name clientele. The celebrity hairstylist and make-up artist (MUA) is making a splash on every set she graces.
This is no ordinary Instagram come up, Riley started her professional MUA career at the age of sixteen and by seventeen was already on set shadowing celebrity MUA Joanna Simkin to help perfect her technique. To date, she’s done make-up and hair for countless celebrities and brands such as Hulu, Pop Sugar, Puma Performance, TV one, and more. She’s been mentored by some of the best in the industry including DeeDee Kelly and Tai Young.
Riley has only just begun. She’s breaking barriers and creating a name for herself in an oversaturated and sometimes bias industry of beauty. From playing in her mother’s make-up to working on ad campaigns with Vogue, it’s a sure bet you can call Bobbie a woman with a great eye and a vision.
I got a chance to catch up with Bobbie about her road to success, here’s what she had to say:
Was it hard to step out of the shadow of your music mogul father?
Honestly, I’d say the bar has always been high as far as expectations of anything I do, just even in my own family culture alone but as far as feeling over-shadowed by my father’s success? Not so much. I think it was a motivator for me to somehow be successful in whatever field I pursue to lengthen and strengthen our family legacy!
You got your first start in the beauty industry at the age of 16 yrs. old, what was your journey like to your first gig? How did you learn your skillset?
I did. My journey to my first gig was pretty funny, somehow at the age of 16 I convinced my parents to allow me to live with two of my older sisters and they were in creative entertainment as professional dancers so they were always kind of like “So, how are you going to bring in money? What are you going to do” (in the midst of pursuing music) and I of course was like hair and makeup (being that was something I was good at). They began taking me on television/music video sets with them and introducing me to makeup artists and I became an apprentice, that’s where I learned more and strengthened my skillset. The rest was history!
What is it like for you as a Black woman navigating in an industry that’s not deemed very diverse?
It’s actually awesome for me! I am all about creating diversity, being innovative, and paving a path. As far as intersectionality goes not only am I African American, I’m a woman and I am a millennial so I feel pretty blessed to say that I’ve gotten to do some of the amazing things I have and I definitely seek to share that and be someone that young artists can look toward.
What tips do you have for creating your own lane in an oversaturated industry?
Be authentic, genuine, and connect with others as much as possible you never know where that can lead you! I love the saying “No one is you and that is your superpower” simply because that is your “it” factor. I could never be what I see but I can be myself and I love to connect with others for that point of you and I find that I am much more passionate about the jobs that gravitate toward me and the creative conversations/projects I am apart of from that alone.
How do you hope to inspire other black women with dreams of entering the beauty industry? What do you hope to accomplish along your journey?
My vision as I transition into the business side of beauty is to create more opportunities and invest in black women who want to break into beauty for themselves! I’m hoping to accomplish impact and significance, honestly, I’ve had a taste of just about everything under the sun when it comes to the beauty work from the counter to the salon to television/film, commercial, print and so on. I am definitely eager to pass the torch and it has been cool to see other beauty industry professionals grow from experiences I’ve been able to share with them or connect them to, so I am excited to see how that will grow with me as I grow!
What can we expect to see from you next?
Gosh! You can expect it all but I believe timing is everything & being young I have the advantage to carefully calculate things. Right now I am re-inventing and recharging myself and getting clarity of the timeline of my vision. I am very focused on getting myself to a great financial place so that I can invest it back in to my passion for beauty so STAY TUNED!
Follow Bobbies journey here.
Featured Image by Jazelle