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Reggie Wells, Iconic Makeup Artist Extraordinaire, Oprah’s Long-Time MUA Dead at 76

Best known as Oprah Winfrey’s long-time makeup artist for over 21 years, Reggie Wells was also a frequent guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Wells was a Baltimore native and Maryland Institute College of Art graduate who was an art teacher in Baltimore in the mid-1970s before moving to New York to pursue his dream of becoming a makeup artist.

It was in New York that he honed his craft working at a number of makeup counters before catching the eye of a fashion editor.

He often created his own makeup to accommodate the darker skin tones of his clients. In 1990, Wells became Oprah Winfrey’s full-time personal makeup artist after working together during an Essence photo shoot. He traveled internationally with Winfrey to events in South Africa, Australia, and the Middle East, and hosted a segment for Winfrey.

Reggie’s wildly successful beauty class “Make-up 101”, was conducted on an Oprah Winfrey Show audience.

As a result, Reggie created “A Day of Beauty” seminars, Beauty Clinics and classes across the country.

Reggie’s career as a make-up artist spans a period of more than 30 years and has won an Emmy award for outstanding makeup for his work on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1995, as well as authored the book, “Face Painting”.

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During his career, Reggie’s work appeared on 120 Essence magazine covers, Glamour, Mademoiselle, Harper’s Bazaar, Life, Time and Brides magazines. Reggie’s work graced over 125 covers of O magazine.

Reggie’s’ list of celebrity clients included Beyonce, Michelle and Barack Obama, Janet Jackson, Michael Jordon, Diana Ross, Brooke Shields, Halle Berry, Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston, Joan Rivers, Sela Ward, Mohammed Ali, and many more.

Wells was a board member and trustee for the Maryland Institute College of Art from 2010 to 2016.

We send our condolences to Reggie’s family and friends.




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