I truthfully thought that Empire would only teach us about makeup but it was much deeper than that. Learning about our skin and what we can do to improve it has been the best experience ever! All my life I was using the wrong products recommended by unknowledgeable beauty advisors. After learning from Donna, I now have the knowledge on proper skin care. I am constantly sharing with my friends and family on how to improve their skin. Years after graduating, I invented several new products to the cosmetic industry such as blotting papers combined with bronzer, acne healing blotting paper and blush paper for easy touch ups. Donna sill supports me and gives me business advice, years after I graduated.
- Mai Tran
I took Donna’s classes over 7 years ago and her knowledge still has a great impact on me today. I specialize in bridal makeup and during every pre-consultation I educate my clients on the importance of skin care. By the time their wedding day has arrived their skin is picture perfect. The knowledge given by Donna has helped me and my career tremendously. I just turned 31 years old this August and my skin looks great. I’m aging gracefully due to the skin care knowledge I received from Donna! On behalf of friends, clients and myself – I thank Donna”
- Tammy C. Duarte
Coming from 8 months of Esthetician training, I can say that I learned more about skin care and daily maintenance at Empire in one week than I did the entire time I was in esthetic school. After only 5 weeks at Empire, I left the salon I was working for to do makeup full-time for a video production company.
- Jennifer Palmer, Mission Viejo, CA
When I attended Empire Academy of Makeup in 2004, I was already a licensed and seasoned esthetician with 600 hours of state training. I have worked with many spas, cosmetic lines, and doctors’ offices studying and practicing esthetics. Needless to say, when I first came to school I felt confident that I had the skin care market mastered. Boy, was I wrong! Not only did Donna give me an incredible insight and education on Makeup artistry, she taught me the importance of the science of skin and how it relates to the makeup world. Every day I learned new things about skin care, how to care for the skin and get results. In fact, I still am practicing tips that I have acquired thru Donna and have seen some incredible changes in my client’s skin. Donna is a phenomenal speaker and educator and I will always be grateful of her abundance of knowledge that she has shared with me.
- Stephanie Smith, San Clemente, CA
As a former student of Donna's, I can attest to her skills as not only a makeup artist, but also as an educator and a person. First off, Donna is an amazingly talented makeup artist; her work truly speaks for itself. While Donna does teach tricks and techniques for how to apply makeup, her lessons go far beyond how to do a dramatic smoky eye or how to paint perfect, red lips. A significant part of the curriculum in Donna's courses focus on skincare and the science of the skin. She teaches her students facts about ingredients found in skincare products and how those ingredients interact with and affect the skin. By giving students this knowledge, we were then able to educate clients about proper skin care (regardless of what lines we may have represented) and introduce clients to products that will improve their skin's condition. Now I realize why Donna places such a heavy emphasis on skincare. She is an incredibly compassionate person, who truly cares about the people who come into her life. As such, in her role as a Makeup Artist, she knows that one of the best ways to help women look and feel better about themselves is by educating them about skincare. One of the greatest lessons I learned is that being a great Makeup Artist isn't only about being super creative and artsy; it's also about helping women feel beautiful and comfortable in their skin. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to learn so much from Donna about makeup, skincare, and how to be the best person and Makeup Artist I can be. With all the knowledge she has, it's only right that she share it with a wider audience!
- Audrey Starn, Laguna Beach, CA
Attending courses at Empire and learning from Donna Mee has honestly been one of the most life changing experiences for me. Before I started at Empire, I knew that I loved the creativity and beauty of makeup artistry; however, I did not realize all of the intricate details about science and skincare that really go into being a successful makeup artist. My education at Empire has taught me so much more than just makeup application skills. I have learned how gratifying it is to help a client to improve her skin, making her feel more confident and beautiful! I remember calling my mom every night after class to talk on and on about all of the amazing information I was learning about the science of skin. My mom has always struggled with adult acne for as long as I can remember. She has been to multiple dermatologists who just prescribe her more Retin-A or even antibiotics to cure her acne…which only seemed to make it worse! After learning from Donna, I went shopping with my mom and convinced her to try a new, more gentle skincare line, along with a liquid foundation, and eventually an eye cream and night cream. Her skin's texture began to change dramatically overnight. Her dehydrated skin began to regain a healthy glow, and it was obvious that her skin was not as red or peeling anymore. I am so happy that I have been able to help my mom feel more beautiful than she has felt in a long time! I think that is what Donna's message to her students is all about. She pushes us to reach our goals and achieve success in the industry; however she always has us keep in mind that at the end of the day our ethics, compassion, and integrity are what make us who we are!”
- Kierra Scheffer, Tustin, CA
Over the last five months I have found myself sitting at kitchen tables with mothers and their daughters deep in conversation. The topic isn't centered on relationships, fashion, or friendships; but rather, I find myself discussing skin care. When I began my career as a makeup artist I did not imagine that most of my conversations would entail the science of skin. I thought I would be applying makeup and learning about the best products on the market, or perhaps I would learn those highly sought after tricks of how to make someone look amazing like a celebrity. I have learned a few tricks and I'm developing my makeup application skills, but what I learned first at Empire was the science of skin. During my time in Donna's classroom I received an education of the highest caliber. Before I found a makeup brush in my hand there was a pencil that took notes on skin care…sixty hours of notes and hands on practice mind you! Her lectures on the science of skin are very thorough and they challenge her students to consider all of the environmental and physical factors that may contribute to a client's skin issues. Donna has used her career as a makeup artist as an opportunity to develop not only her talent, but also her understanding of the science of skin. Her desire to help the everyday woman feel her natural beauty and feel confidant in her own skin is apparent in the amount of hours she has poured into research and the energy she puts into relating her discoveries to her students and clients.
Donna pushes us, her students, to understand the importance of educating our client. She truly is an educator in addition to being a makeup artist. Oprah can often be heard saying that "knowledge is power" a statement that I believe Donna lives by each day and one that has encouraged me to explain to my clients why I use the products in my kit. Models, friends, those mothers and daughters, etc. cannot stop asking me questions once I start sharing with them what I have learned and why they need to take care of their skin. A conversation that stood out for me happened to be with a mother and daughter who asked if I could stop by for coffee and answer some questions they had about their current skin care routine. I laughed to myself when the mother asked if I could spare half an hour because I knew based on previous conversations with clients that this coffee time chat would last a bit longer than that. Two hours later I was walked to my car by a mom who could not thank me enough for taking so much time out of my day to help educate her and her teenage daughter. She was grateful to be given the chance to help her daughter take steps toward feeling comfortable in her own skin as well as help her age gracefully into a woman. I left that day with a smile on my face knowing that these women would take the stories and lessons I shared with them and pass them on to their friends. They, like Donna, realize that knowledge is power and that every woman deserves to feel beautiful.
- Sarah Bonnel , Costa Mesa, CA
I met Donna when she did my makeup at a magazine photo shoot. As a model, I had had my makeup done hundreds of times by many makeup artists. Yet, prior to Donna, not a single one had ever told me about my skin or how to improve it. I had a problem with acne and redness. Donna recommended I try some simple skin care changes. I went out and bought a few new products and could not believe the difference in my skin immediately! My skin has never looked so good and I am grateful to Donna for giving me the gift of good skin.
- Jana Banker, Los Angles, CA
Donna Mee is a genius when it comes to the cosmetics industry! She seems to know all there is to possibly know about skin care and makeup and everything she teaches you is top-notch information. In the short time I’ve spent so far at Empire in the Intro class, she has taught me so much to help my skin personally. I followed her advice and my skin is the clearest, smoothest and most radiant it has ever been in my life! It is nowhere as oily as it used to be, which I have always been so insecure about. Just changing my cleansing routine made all the difference in the world, and I would have never known how to do it if it weren’t for Donna’s advice. I’ve passed along what I have learned to my sister who has similar skin, and I am happy to report that she has seen a huge change in her skin too! Thanks Donna for sharing what you do best with all of your students!
- Amber Dowden, Costa Mesa, CA
I was 20 years old when I first attended Empire and met Donna Mee. I was so excited to finally learn about something I was so passionate about that I remember going home one of the first nights and praying that nothing would happen to Donna so she can keep teaching the class. It was kind of strange how I wanted to absorb all the advice she had for me, I didn’t want to miss a thing. When we started off learning about skin care I was impatient and wanted to hurry up and move on to make up application. Soon I realized that skincare would be more important to me than make up. When I started my classes at Empire Academy of Makeup, I had moderate acne, mostly on my T-zone. It was constant acne and I was very insecure about it. I thought “Who would take skin care advice from me?” During the week of the skincare training, I made all of Donna’s suggested changes. By week two my face was clear and my skin was no longer oily. My skin was glowing and everyone around me noticed it. I remember talking on the phone with my sister for 2 hours telling her what to use on her skin. She threw away her “as seen on TV” acne face wash and she still follows regimen I told her about to this day. My confidence as a woman and as a Makeup Artist increased fast. I felt confident giving advice for skincare and immediately got hired as a counter manager for D.D.F. and Bliss at Macy’s where I was able to help many women with their skin. I began to work as a freelance Artist doing print work. I often found myself in front of the camera from time to time at request of the Photographer. Today, I actually model full time. There is a billboard of me up on the 10 west in Palm Desert for one year now. I can remember praying that one day I would do makeup for a billboard. I thought about how great it would be to have someone’s lips that I put gloss on be the size of a refrigerator! (ha ha) I never thought that my own lips would be on the billboard! Without the skills Donna taught me to take care of my clients skin as well as mine, I would never have been able to accomplish my dreams as a Makeup Artist or as a model. Thank you, Donna. It was amazing to have learned so much from you in such a short time. You’ll never know all the ways you’ve inspired me.
- Darlene Garcia, San Juan Capistrano, CA
I moved across the country from Pennsylvania to California solely for Empire Academy and the opportunity to be taught by Donna Mee. I just wanted to share what a life changing experience attending Donna Mee's Empire Academy of Makeup was for me. I took a number of courses from her school spanning over a six month period of time. Within the first two days of class I learned more about skin than I had in my entire life. Donna broke down all of the skincare myths that have circulated throughout the beauty industry. She also explained in great detail how skin is a science and has a specific way to be cared for. Donna has an absolute talent for educating; she made learning about skin so exciting to the point where I couldn't wait to go to class to learn more! I saw an absolute change in my skin within weeks of beginning Donna's school and following the skincare basics that she educates about. When I look at pictures of myself from years ago and pictures of me today, I can see such a difference in the condition of my skin–more hydration, less breakouts, less visible sun damage–I actually look younger now than I did in those old pictures! I have so much more self-confidence now and this helps me when educating my own clients. Besides being a gifted educator and amazing artist, Donna has a passion for making women feel better about themselves, which is something that many artists lack. What I admire most is that Donna is not caught up in the glitz and glamour of being an established makeup artist that has worked with numerous celebrities, designers, and photographers. She is in it for so much more than that. Donna is concerned with ethics, treating people with respect and sharing her knowledge to really benefit and improve other people's lives. This passion is so evident and it has truly inspired me in my career.
- Katie Polak, North Hollywood, CA
My name is Nancy Ko and I am writing from China. In August of 2007 I completed the Introduction and Expert courses with Donna Mee. I would like to say that Donna's skincare knowledge truly made difference in my life and my friends' lives. Before I went to Empire, I believed in using soap and water and the same moisturizer for day and night, a daily facial scrub because I thought that all these things would make my blackheads and shininess go away and make my pores smaller. After 60 hours of formal skincare training with Donna, I learned so much professional skincare knowledge from her including a lot of facts and theories that I did not know before. From the beginning, I had some doubt about all this information, yet I threw away all my skincare and purchased everything new. I followed the steps that Donna taught me and did so every single day. In two weeks, after years of having blackheads on my nose they are nearly gone and my pore size is looking much better. The most important thing is that my skin is always soft and moist. By following Donna's skincare knowledge, my skin has truly improved. Therefore, I told all my friends about my knowledge. I used myself as an example and showed them the improvement of the blackheads on my nose. My friends knew that I always had trouble with this and I was proud to show my nose to them now because it's CLEAN. My friends believe in me and recognize my professional knowledge, so they changed their skincare products also. One of my friends came to visit me from Taiwan. I was so surprised to see his skin condition was bad. He had large pores, large blackheads, severe acne problems, and oily skin. He told me that he went to a Dermatologist for help and he tried many prescription acne skincare products. I felt terrible for him, so I told him my professional knowledge. I also asked Donna if she had any suggestions for him. Donna told me to teach him everything that she taught me and promised that he would see difference in two weeks if he followed my instructions. I gave my friend products and taught him exactly how to use them. After a month, he asked for more products because all the things that I taught him WORKED! His big blackheads were gone, his skin was clean, and his acne problem was much better. He said “Nancy, you saved my life!” I said "No, it was Donna!" n addition to this, there are other friends of mine saying that my knowledge has improved their skin. Most Asian people like to use foam cleanser because we do not like to have an oily face, but the truth is that cream/milk cleanser works much better. My friends thought that my knowledge made sense to them, so they were willing to change their skincare products and follow my steps. Every one of them said that their skin was improved. I feel so happy that I made a difference in other people's lives and I am so thankful for Donna. Her professional knowledge brought me to another level and made difference for the others and me. Thank you so much, Donna!
- Nancy Ko, ZheJiang, China
Donna Mee – That name has more meaning to me than one could imagine. She has been there for me as an educator, a mentor, a friend, and most importantly the most dedicated and passionate woman who showed me a dream career I never thought would be possible for me. When I mentioned the idea of wanting to go into beauty school to my parents they were not thrilled. Before allowing my dreams to die, I decided to meet with Donna and see what a career in beauty was about. The information and knowledge that she had was beyond my wildest expectations. She spoke with such passion that I found myself yearning to fulfill my dreams of changing women’s lives. Donna has the most amazing outlook on beauty; she mentioned that Doctor’s save lives, but we have the ability to bring happiness to a person’s life when we build their confidence and self esteem. For women especially, feeling beautiful is crucial for them to be confident. I know this because I grew up an ugly duckling my entire life and many times I did not see the point of living. Donna taught us how to make our skin beautiful which is the canvas of all makeup, from there she taught us how to enhance and bring out our best features. I now feel more beautiful than I ever have and have started to love every moment of everyday! My mother had rocesea and I suggested skin care procedures learned by Donna; my Mom’s skin has improved and looks healthier than she has ever seen it. Her rosecea is finally under control. My sister is almost thirty and I’ve taught her about the difference in eye and face creams necessary to restore skin and prevent aging; now my sister looks the youngest out of all her friends! This is all due to Donna’s teachings. I have people come up to me everyday and ask me what products I use because they believe me to be “beautiful,” a word I had only heard after learning how to take care of my skin and proper usage of makeup by Donna. I can’t thank her enough. For the rest of my life I will always look up to her; she will always be my role model; if I become ¼ of the woman she is I will consider myself lucky.
- Saima Vakil, Yorba Linda, CA
A few months ago a friend confided in me that she was constantly breaking out on one side of her face. She tried many things to clear up the blemishes such as acne treatments, cleansing masks and a line of skin care from a cosmetic counter. She was extremely frustrated and asked me to help her troubleshoot this issue. In the past I would have just encouraged her to buy some oily or acne skin products and send her on her way. But after being trained on the science of skin by Donna Mee, I realized her acne was most likely caused by her surroundings, lifestyle or daily activities. I shared my new knowledge on the many reasons that we can get breakouts. I explained to her what products she should be using and also told her how she can change a few things in her daily routine to not only clear up the acne but to prevent it from coming back. I checked out her skin care regime and approved of it although she thought that was the culprit of her problem. I told her to pay attention to such things as using clean washcloths once on the face before washing them and to change her pillowcase every other day and to flip it each night to avoid resting her face on previous nights dirt, oil, toxins, and product residue from her hair and skin. A few weeks later I got a message from my friend thanking me and saying her skin never looked better! Donna taught me that sometimes it is the little things you wouldn't usually think of that make the biggest difference in being happy with your skin. Today my friend consults me for all of her beauty needs and won't buy anything without my approval!"
- Jillian Gunlicks, Newport Beach, CA
When I graduated Empire in 2003 I began working in the film industry, on mostly independent films. I have always loved makeup and skin care and decided to make a career of it and go all the way by starting my own makeup company. In Nov 2005 I created Seraph Cosmetics. With the knowledge that I acquired from Donna and with my growing experience, I felt I was able to create a line of skin care and makeup that would be very “true” to my clients and to the public. Although I do have two investors, it has been a slow moving process in creating my line. I am proud to announce Seraph is now selling our first batch of skin care and cosmetics online. I gave up working in the film industry and began working for television, to free up my time to run my business. I shoot many commercials for Telemundo, and also have a TV show on the fox news channel called the 'half hour news hour'.”
- Kirsten McKune , Los Angeles, CA
I popped into your speaking seminar at the Esthetic conference after a skincare class and was enthralled! Your were incredibly fun and educational I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know, its embarrassing. I look forward to taking more classes from you. Truly inspirational! Thank you
- Melissa Byrd-Mccullar Bakersfield, CA
Before enrolling at Empire, I knew absolutely nothing about skin care. After the science of skin lecture, I walked away overjoyed. I have made many decisions in my life but choosing to attend Empire has been one of the best thus far. The instructors are more than helpful. All of my questions were answered and if I needed extra help, they provided hands-on demonstrations. Each night I leave school wanting more. I am eager to begin my journey into the world of makeup.
- Lavona Thomas Long Beach, CA
I came to this school with the understanding that I definitely wanted to become a makeup artist. I feel that I have learned much more that I anticipated. The best parts of class were the skincare training and the opportunity to do hands-on makeup applications. There was a lot of one-on-one feedback given during the hands-on training and the instructors always made time for student questions – I really appreciated that!
- Brittney Keller, Australia
I always thought that the women at the cosmetic counters knew exactly what they were saying. It is amazing that I know so much more than them and it has only been 3 weeks! I had no idea how important taking care of your skin was! I truly believe that Empire is leading me in the right direction.
- Bridget Roehr, Florissant, MO