There aren’t many people who can honestly say, “I love what I do,” but there are a few and celebrity MUA, Frederick Sanders is one of them. His looks have graced red carpets, album and magazine covers, and been seen center stage on host of celebrities; Regina Hall, Shirley Cesar, MC Lyte, The Clark Sisters, Robyn Dixon, Avery Sunshine and Tamela Mann to name a few and is known for his “anointed hands.” I caught up and spoke to Sanders about who he is on a personal level, his career as a makeup artist and what the future holds for “Fred4Face“.
Photo Gallery Credit: @Fred4Face
On a typically warm, fall night in Dallas at the swanky Design District apartment skyrise clubhouse amoungst outstanding views while enjoying the sounds of DJ Luqwon, I had the pleasure of watching Saunders work his magic on “The Chain Breaker” herself, Speaker, Author and Philanthropist, Dr. Catrina Pullum.
“I’m the guy that’s behind the scenes. People know my work and name, but not necessarily my face,” he explains as he enters the clubhouse modestly, charmed and flattered that the Concierge recognized him on sight and greeted him with excitement. Seems like he’d set up and was ready to roll by the time he finished that sentence.
SheBatty: I read that you were preparing for law school and walked into MAC and got hired on the spot.
Fred Saunders: “This is true, this is true.”
So have you always been artistic or were you practicing makeup at that time, or do you just have it?
“I’d like to think that I just have it. However, I did grow up being the only boy in a house full of sisters. So I think it just kind of fell on me -I inherited it, if you will, I was the youngest and the only boy. Seeing my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother and all of my sisters, you know, it kind of helped along. But I’d never had any desires to be a makeup artist.
I was always artistic. Years ago, as a child, I thought I wanted to be a fashion designer. I would draw clothes and -you know, really try to sketch things out, then I moved to being a cartoonist. So, I feel like -I’d like to say I did have the artistic side, I just never knew that I would develop it as a makeup artist.”
Those things sound so far from lawyer, but I guess we’re all multi-faceted. Did you know that makeup was your calling upon being hired at MAC?
“It was after, at that moment it was just a summer job for me. I was a school teacher, so my summers were free and I wanted to do something fun that I could do and not have to think about, and I gathered that it would just be something fun -you know, something I would just kind of learn and leave behind or maybe something I could do on the side. I never envisioned being a full fledged artist.”
Now that you are an artist, what do you love about it?
“I love every aspect of being a makeup artist, even the clients with bad attitudes — there is nothing that I would rather do. I feel like I wake up and breath makeup.”
What’s your favorite bold looks that you’ve created or the most fun?
“The most fun bold look….that would have to be on one of my clients who was very conservative, she did not really allow me to step out of the box, but I just kind of like –really, just kind of did my own thing one day. And it ended up being a cover shoot for a CD. And the CD picture went viral.”
You are great at creating classic red carpet looks. Do you like to step outside of that and do bold looks?
“Absolutely! I’ve done everything from fashion makeup, to red carpet beauty makeup, to body painting to face painting for halloween. I’ve even gone as far as to do female impersonators, so it’s really like a big circle.”
You just told me that you had a client who was conservative, and you had a little fun and it worked. Do you often do that -play up looks and have fun?
I often do what I want -to be honest. And I hope none of my clients see this. I let them tell me what they believe they want, and I take their idea and make it my own. So, if somebody tells me, ‘I just want like, six colors on my eye.’ And I know that you’re not patient enough for me to put six colors on your eye and blend them down, then what I’ll do is i’ll do a simulation of what you want. And you might believe that you have six colors, but at the end of the day it may only be two. And that’s just real, because a lot of times I feel like most clients sit in the chair and tell you what they think they want, but then when they actually figure out what they really want, they’re like, ‘Oh, that’s not what I wanted.’ So to save myself some time, and save them a headache -you know, let me just combine the two.”
What’s your go to brand?
“My go to brand is actually Temptu, believe it or not. I do have a lot of things that I use. I can’t say that I use a certain foundation or a certain concealer, because I generally just use whatever I can find a good match with for color and whatever just works in my bag.”
What’s your go to budget brand?
“My go to budget brand…I’m actually enjoying, believe it or not, Kiss Cosmetics Professional and you can find that in the beauty supply store. They have some great longwear lipsticks and they have some great brow pencils -I’m actually using a brow pencil right now by Kiss Cosmetics.”
What’s the one product that we can always find in your bag?
“One product that you can always find in my bag, is my Temptu Airbrush Machine. That is my must-have. I travel with it everywhere I go. I find that when I’m working with gentlemen, they prefer the airbrush, because it doesn’t give you that makeupy [sic] look. But it’s still nice and natural enough that they can walk outside and nobody would be like ‘Oh my gosh, are you wearing makeup?’ so, that’s my must have.”
What advice would you give aspiring MUAs?
“Be able to listen, be able to learn and never stop learning. Even at my age now and the number of years I have under my belt as a makeup artist, I’m still open to learning new things. So, always be open to learning new things.”
How do you feel social media has affected the industry?
“Social Media has definitely impacted the industry in so many different ways. I think it’s more so negatively, because there are so many people who feel like because they have two brushes and a pencil, they can say, “I”m a makeup artist” because they know how to draw their brows on. However, not necessarily knowing the art behind it, where you actually have to put in some work and understand, like other peoples skin types and other peoples structures and things of that nature.”
fred beyond the makeup
Who are you beyond the makeup?
“Beyond the makeup….I am a mentor, I am a father, I am a friend, I’m a brother. I’m a Dillard [University] grad -hello! I speak three languages: Spanish, French and German. I was a foreign language major in college most people don’t know that about me and that’s pretty much a fun fact.”
What are your plans for 2018?
“I’m taking bigger faith walks. I’m actually stepping out of my box and trying to do something on a bigger level. Somethings that I never thought that I would even dream of accomplishing. Stepping out on the waters a little bit.
Always be on the lookout for me. Cause if you sleep on me you’re gonna look up and be like ‘Oh, he’s up there!”
Visit Fred4Face for booking information and to see more Sanders work.