There are just hours left to cast your winning vote for 22-year-old North Royalton resident and NRHS grad Carrie Esser, whose jaw-dropping talents with a make-up palette have earned her a spot in the Top 5 of the NYX Professional Make-up Face Awards.
Esser is competing for the national title of “2019 Artist of the Year” with a grand prize of $50,000 and an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles. With a theme of “Wonderland After Dark,” Esser’s final challenge has her creating an artistic new look and a tutorial video. Internet users can view her submission now and cast their vote at The winner will be announced Monday, Sept. 30. Voting ends tomorrow, Sept. 27.
A 2015 graduate of North Royalton High School and a May 2019 graduate of Kent State University with a degree in entrepreneurship in the College of Business Administration, it was during her junior year at NRHS that Esser found her niche.
“In my economics class we were assigned to create a fake business or product,” she said. “Makeup Madhouse started in my high school economics class. I already knew I liked make-up and it (Makeup Madhouse) grew to be my brand name and my business.”
Makeup Madhouse, Esser’s freelance make-up services business (, performs special occasion looks such as bridal make-up and also creative work with body paint. She first heard of the NYX Face Awards in 2013. That year, her submission didn’t progress in the competition but that didn’t stop her from competing again in 2018, when she made it to the Top 12. Esser entered again in 2019 “on a whim,” she said, and now sits among the Top 5 competitors in the country.
The 2019 NYX Face Awards kicked off nationally in June with an open call for submissions. The Top 30 “vloggers” were announced in July, followed by the Top 15 then Top 5 in August. With each vote, competitors are given a themed challenge and climb the prize ranks via online and panel votes. Competitors must use themselves as a model.
For the Top 30 challenge, competitors were given the theme of “#NowTrending.”
“I knew a lot of people would pick the Area 51 alien trend, so I wanted to go in a different direction and chose Mercury In Retrograde,” Esser said of the look she created that helped her progress in the competition. “The background for this look is that the planet Mercury appears to be in retrograde for about three weeks at a time and this alters communication, travel and technology.”
So how does Esser dream up her out-of-this-world artistic masterpieces?
“First off, a lot of trends can be found in social media and in seeing what others are doing, and in fashion news, but for me personally, I like to create timeless pieces,” she said. “I don’t do many trends. I get inspired by what’s around me.. seasons, music, my emotions.”
Her major at Kent State, entrepreneurship, suited Esser’s driven, creative mindset. It’s a personality trait that fits many of her generation.
“There’s a lot more of us who are in that entrepreneurial place now,” she said. “Traditionally, it used to be that you’ve gotten out of college and be in a job for 30-plus years. We are learning a more innovative and creative mindset that if you’re able to find a way to make your passion useful to others and make it into a business. It’s a good mindset and a good way of thinking to have that entrepreneurial skill to do what you want to do.”
Contributing Writer