Beauty 411: Ketta Vaughn Speaks On Cosmetics Line & Shares Fave Beauty Trends

Makeup artist Ketta Vaughn is a silent grinder, and you know why? Because she created the very first pink lipgloss that works for my chocolate complexion! But besides introducing me to A-list from her self-titled makeup line, she’s a ball of hidden talents up for record label grabs (we’ll talk about her rapping career later). When she’s not on the mic or whipping up ideas for her beauty collection, she’s busying herself with Lisa Price’s face. Yes! The Carol’s Daughter commander-in-chief taps the DC native for the glamour she readily needs.

VIBE Vixen had to find out what this girl was all about.

Six years ago, the lover of makeup and MAC associate began her fervent mission to bridge her love for music and the beauty world's sliest fox--makeup.


When did it hit you that you had to make beauty your career?
I didn’t go to school for it. I just knew I had to do it. I had a love for it and a talent for it but, I really had a setback. When I first got hired, six months after, they let me go because I let a girlfriend of mine use my discount to get these boots that she wanted. One of the sales representatives at the shoe department got pissed because they were helping her find the shoe, so they went and told the store manager that I let somebody use my discount and they let me go. I was crushed.

Aw, man.
Yes, crushed, crushed, crushed. So, I went and got an office job for about a year. A year later, the [MAC] manager found a way to slide me back in as a freelancer, which was cool because I didn’t like working at a department store anyway. I wanted to work directly with MAC. I was working as a freelancer, then I finally got a job at a MAC store instead of working at a counter. It was a blessing in disguise. I worked there forever and ever, until 2003. In 2003, I got a record deal with LL Cool J.

I had to transfer and move to New York, so I could record and work with him; I’m originally from DC, so I moved and transferred to MAC here in New York. I just spent a lot years working and working and didn’t really see anything coming from working with MAC, other than the great experience. I learned a lot.

How did you begin the process of taking things into your own hands?
I just started researching ways to start a brand. It’s funny because I’ve been doing Lisa Price’s makeup for five years now, and her assistant actually came into the MAC store. This was when they were getting ready to open up the Carol’s Daughter store in Roosevelt Field. Her assistant came in and said, 'Oh, I love your makeup. It looks phenomenal. Could you do my eyes like that?' So I did her eyes and she said, 'I’m Lisa Price’s assistant, and we’re getting ready to open up a store here in Roosevelt Field, but I really want you to do her makeup. Do you think you could meet up with her for a trial?' So I met with her, and it was really all she wrote from there. I started doing her makeup for all her press, all her events and things like that. Then eventually, I started doing a lot of their corporate stuff too.

What year this still all start for you?
Six years ago this year.

How did that come about? You had this love for makeup, so how did the music tie in?
Well, that’s my second love, so I was trying to find a way to work both of them at the same time. I was doing my thing on the underground circuit, really making some noise and getting a following, so it was going really great. But, it was really at a time where the industry didn’t have a lot of faith in female artists. Female hip-hop artists weren’t really selling that great, so breaking through those walls was very difficult, but I had a good ride. I worked with LL Cool J, and I did some work with Trackmasters and L.A. Reid at Arista, but he wasn’t interested in signing female artists either. I worked with Ruff Ryders for awhile; this was after Eve. I worked with them, recorded with them for awhile... But I just started recording again.

Is it hard to marry the two loves--music and makeup?
They've always been mutually exclusive, where as I've always been trying  to find a way to marry the two. I remember being in Hawaii with LL Cool J on the video shoot for "Paradise." They needed somebody to do makeup, but I didn't step up to the plate. I didn't know that if I stepped up in that way, would it take away from me as a recording artist. I didn't know how to marry the two, but I'm coming to a place now where I'm able to marry being an entrepreneur with my artistic side.

When did you start making your own products?
After working for MAC for so long, I sat down and looked over my résumé and sales and saw how much money I made for them over the years. It's a phenomenal brand that has an extremely diverse clientele, but I just knew I could do it myself. I started researching manufacturers and visiting plants to start developing the line.

How long did it take?
I'm still developing it. The initial foundation is done; that has taken about five years. But it's never-ending because makeup is a trend-driven industry. I'll always be trying to find the hottest new shades, new textures and formulas.

What makes Ketta Vaughn stand apart from other makeup lines?
There's never really been an African American-owned cosmetic brand that's viewed as a for more than just African American women. It's really hard for us to break down that wall of that. Being a Black brands are never viewed as colorless brands, so I'm really tackling the challenge of having a brand that's not viewed that way. My clientele is already that way. So many Indian women, Caucasian women, Asian women, you name it. Now, I just have a challenge of doing that in the mainstream.

What are you five favorite beauty looks that are trendy right now?
I love smoky eyes. I feel like I will be in my coffin with smoky eyes! [Laughs] Smoky is always in, but also what's in is really vibrant color. I'm in love with that. I also love a really great nude, glossy lip. And I love illuminating skin. Make it look like you're walking on the red carpet!

What beauty trends do you wish people would leave alone?
I don't know if it's a trend, but I wish people would stop wearing foundation that doesn't match. You can clearly notice that their face and neck are two different colors. And that irritates me because there's so many options out here. I'm not going to act like finding the right foundation is an easy task, it's actually really hard.

What female faces would you love to work your magic on?
Mary J. Blige, J. Lo and Beyoncé.


Visit to shop!

From the Web

More on Vibe

Aaliyah during TNT Presents - A Gift of Song - New York - January 1, 1997 in New York City, New York, United States.

Fans Rally For Aaliyah's Discography To Be Released On Streaming Platforms

As another day passes without Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms, fans are looking for answers.

Over the weekend, the hashtag #FreeAaliyahMusic appeared on Twitter in light of song battles between Swizz Beats vs. Timbaland and Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin. The latter opponents played their collaborations with the late singer, proving Baby Girl's dynamic relevancy in the age of modern R&B. As songs like "I Don't Wanna" and "Come Over" picked up plays on YouTube, the hashtag pointed out the tragedy of her songs not existing on platforms like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.

Aaliyah's only album on multiple platforms is her 1994 debut, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Other albums like the platinum-selling One in A Million and Aaliyah are being held in a vault of sorts along with other unmixed vocals by her uncle and founder of Blackground Records, Barry Hankerson.

Hankerson has built up a mysterious yet haunting aura over the years due to his refusal to release Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms. Reasons are unknown but Stephen Witt's 2016 investigation revealed business deals like the shift in distribution from  Jive Records to Atlantic helped Hankerson take ownership of the singer's masters. The deal was made in 1996 when Blackground featured artists like Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, then-production duo Timbaland and Magoo as well as Missy Elliott.

Sadly, Aaliyah's music isn't the only recordings lost in the shuffle. Recordings from Timbaland and Toni Braxton have been hidden from the world with both taking legal action against the label over the years. There's also JoJo, who had to break from the label after they refused to release her third album. The singer recently re-recorded her first two albums.

With Aaliyah's music getting the attention it deserves, Johnta Austin discussed the singer's impact on R&B today. "It was amazing, she was incredible from top to bottom," he told OkayPlayer of working with the singer on "Come Over" and "I Don't Wanna." "I don't think Aaliyah gets the vocal credit that she deserves. When she was on it, she had the riffs, she had everything."

Earlier this year, an account impersonating Hankerson claimed her music would arrive on streaming platforms January 16, on what would've been her 41st birthday. A docuseries called the Aaliyah Diaries was also promoted for a release on Netflix.

Of course, it was far from the truth. Fans can enjoy selected videos and songs on YouTube, but it's clear they want more.


Aaliyah’s music is the landmark for a lot of your favs not only was she ahead of her time with her futuristic sounds she also was a fashion Icon dancer and phenomenal actress . The future generations need be exposed to her artistry and pay homage .#FreeAaliyahMusic

— Black Clover (@la_alchemist) March 29, 2020

Her first #1 solely based on AirPlay! She was the first ! #FreeAaliyahMusic

— (@hodeciii) March 29, 2020

Makes no sense for someone still so influential to be hidden. Many try to emulate her. On Spotifys This is Aaliyah playlist, theres some great tracks not on her main Spotify #FreeAaliyahMusic

— Blackity Black⁷ (@ClaudBuzzzz) March 29, 2020

Aaliyah is trending once again. She deserves endless flowers. This is true impact y’all. Her voice, her sound, her music...She’s been gone for 2 decades and y’all see the love for her is even stronger! We miss you baby girl! #FreeAaliyahMusic

— A A L I Y A H (@forbbygrlaali) March 30, 2020

Aaliyah said she wanted to be remembered for her music and yet most of it is not on streaming services #FreeAaliyahMusic

— RJR (@MyNewEssence96) March 29, 2020

aaliyah’s gems like more than a woman deserve to be in streaming sites #FreeAaliyahMusic

— k (@grandexrocky) March 30, 2020

I saw #FreeAaliyahMusic and IMMEDIATELY jumped into action! I can’t express how betrayed I felt when we were supposed to have all her music on Spotify by her birthday. Her discography is deeply underestimated and we need to make it right for our babygirl!

— jerrica✨ (@jerricaofficial) March 29, 2020

Before Megan The Stallion drove the boat...

Aaliyah rocked the boat...


— Al’Bei (@_albei) March 29, 2020

i think we should have that conversation #FreeAaliyahMusic

— AALIYAH LEGION (@AaliyahLegion) April 1, 2020

Continue Reading
Singers Adrienne Bailon (L) and Kiely Williams of the 'Cheetah Girls' pose for photos around Mercedes Benz Fashion Week held at Smashbox Studios on October 18, 2007 in Culver City, California.
Katy Winn/Getty Images for IMG

Kiely Williams Explains Fallout With Adrienne Bailon Houghton And Alleged Fight With Raven-Symonè

Our current isolated way of life has given some plenty of time for reflection like Kiely Williams of the former girl group 3LW and The Cheetah Girls (ask your kids). The tales of both successful groups have been told time after time by fans in YouTube documentaries and members of each collective but Williams has decided to share her side of the story.

Williams hopped on Live Monday (March 30) where she discussed her former friendship with The Real co-host Adrienne Bailon Houghton and the infamous chicken throwing fight with actress/singer Naturi Naughton. The mother of one didn't pinpoint exactly why she fell out with Houghton but did point out how she wouldn't be interested in appearing on her talk show.

"I don't think Adrienne wants to have live TV with me," Williams said. "'Cause she's gon' have to say, 'Yes Kiely, I did pretend to be your best friend. Now, I am not.' You were either lying then or you're lying now. You either were my best friend and now you're just not claiming me or you were pretending [to be my best friend."

The two remained friends after Naughton was kicked out of 3LW, the platinum-selling group known for 2000s pop hits like "No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)" and "Playas Gon' Play." Williams and Houghton were eventually picked to be apart of The Cheetah Girls with then-Disney darling Raven-Symonè and dancer Sabrina Bryan.

Williams went on to discuss her fight with Naughton, which she denies had anything to do with her skin color. With her mother near, Williams claimed Naughton called her a b***h, leading to the fight. While she didn't clear up the chicken throwing, she stated how she was "going for her neck" and was holding food and her baby sister in the process.

Apologies aren't on the horizon either. “I don’t feel like I have anything to make amends for, especially as it relates to Adrienne,” Kiely said. “As far as Naturi goes, if there was ever a reason to apologize, all of that has kind of been overshadowed by the literal lies and really ugly stuff that she said about my mom and my sister. So, no. Not interested in that. I’m sorry.”

Moving onto The Cheetah Girls, Williams also denied claims she got into fights with Raven-Symonè on the set of The Cheetah Girls films and never outed her as a teen. The rumor about Symonè and Williams was reportedly started by Symonè's former co-star Orlando Brown.

Symonè has often shared positive memories about The Cheetah Girls and their reign but did imply during an episode of The View how co-star Lynn Whitfield kept her from losing her cool on set.

On a lighter note, Symonè, Houghton and Naughton have kept in contact with Naughton and Houghton putting their differences aside during an appearance on The Real. 

Symonè and Houghton also reunited at the Women's March in Los Angeles in January. During Bailon's performance at the event, the two briefly performed the Cheetah Girls' classic, "Together We Can."

Willaims also shared some stories about the making of the group's hits. Check out her Live below.

Continue Reading
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Kelis Announces ‘Cooked With Cannabis’ Show Will Premiere On Netflix

Kelis is taking her chef talents to Netflix. The musician will host a food competition show titled Cooked With Cannabis that’ll premiere on the very-fitting April 20 (4/20). According to NME, the show will span six episodes and be co-hosted by chef Leather Storrs.

Describing the opportunity as a “dream come true” since she’s a major supporter of the streaming service, Kelis took to Instagram to share how cannabis and cooking is one of her many creative passions. “As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today’s society,” the mother-of-two writes. “In this country, many things have been used systemically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together.”

Each episode will place three chefs against each other as they craft three-course meals with cannabis as the central ingredient. Each episode’s winner takes home $10,000. Guests will play an integral role in who takes home the cash prize. Too $hort, and El-P are just a few of this season's guests.


View this post on Instagram


I'm really excited to announce my new show, Cooked with Cannabis on @Netflix!! Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love my Netflix, so this is a dream come true. Interestingly, this was one of those things that I didn't go looking for, it kind of came to me. As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today's society. In this country, many things have been used systematically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together. I hope you all will tune in, it's definitely going to be a good time! We launch on 4/20! XO, Kelis

A post shared by Kelis (@kelis) on Mar 18, 2020 at 7:57am PDT

In a previous Lenny Letter profile, Kelis shared she comes from a line of culinary influences beginning with her mother who owned a catering service. In 2008, the “Milkshake” singer sought to refine her cooking skills by enrolling in the Le Cordon Bleu school. Receiving a certificate as a trained saucier, the New York native put her expertise to the test during pop-up restaurants in her native city, created a hot sauce line, and co-owns a sustainable farm in Quindio, Colombia.

“Food is revolutionary because it is the one and only international language. It’s the most human thing you can partake in,” she said in an interview with Bon Appetit. “We are the only species that cooks.”

This isn’t Kelis’ first foray into the reality-cooking television world. In 2014, she partnered with the Cooking Channel for Saucy and Sweet and published the "My Life on a Plate" cookbook a year later.

Continue Reading

Top Stories