“I think my life was meant to impact the world.”
By Susan Peck, Contributing Writer
Professional makeup artist Lisa North teases she had her first client when she was just 8 years old. As a little girl, she used to stand on the bathtub and do her grandmother’s makeup — an activity they both loved.
“It’s amazing she let me do that at my age, but that’s the kind of support I have from my family,” said North, 35. “I’ve always been determined to excel at the things I’m passionate about, and that’s helped me get through the challenges I’ve had in life — including a tragic accident that almost got the best of me.”
The Oak Park resident and owner of NorthStar Makeup said her grandparents June and Lowell Ressler of West Bloomfield and parents Judy and Sheldon Pearlman of Bloomfield Hills were the positive influences she turned to early on, when she struggled in school. “My family never gave up on me even when the teachers did, and they encouraged me to follow my creativity,” North said.
At 19, she set out to chase her dream of becoming a fashion designer at Parsons School of Design in New York. But those dreams were derailed with a devastating accident.
“I was riding with a friend in a golf cart when it made a sharp turn, and I flew off and hit my head, resulting in a severe closed head injury,” she said.
“I had to start over, learning all of the basic things we take for granted, and I was housebound with depression for several years,” North said. “I relied on medication for the pain after the accident and that became another problem.”
Left with cognitive impairment, including memory problems and no sense of taste or smell, North said the birth of her nephew was the turning point for her to rise from her challenges.
“I wanted to be the best aunt in the world, so with family support and my boyfriend, Patrick, who is now my husband, I went to rehab, got off of all medications and started a new life,” she said.
Coming full circle, North channeled her artistic creativity into makeup application and skincare. She became a licensed esthetician in 2014 and started her own company, NorthStar Makeup.
“I think my life was meant to impact the world, not just by making people look more beautiful, but by making them feel beautiful on the inside as well,” North said.
Surviving the Pandemic
Her home-based makeup artistry and skincare company has built clientele mostly by word-of-mouth and “through the best marketing team ever, Instagram and Facebook.” Her talent is sought after; she books makeup and skin treatments for weddings, bat mitzvahs and charity events as well as teaching classes in Metro Detroit.
But the coronavirus pandemic and resulting quarantine “has greatly affected my business,” she says. “Because of social distancing I am not able to do anyone’s makeup or waxing.”
Most of her weddings for the summer and all of her spring mitzvah clients have canceled. “I absolutely will weather the storm!” she says.
North has added a blog and Vlog to her website NorthStarMakeup.com, where you can find online makeup classes, which she does when not homeschooling her three daughters Audrey, 7, Lucy 5, and Hannah 21 months.
“I want them to see this as a positive experience. My hope is that they look back on this and think how cool that we all got to spend so much time together as a family,” she said.
North is also excited about her CBD-infused facial moisturizer, scheduled to come out at the end of May and a complete skincare line scheduled for the end of the year.
Paying it Forward
Last summer, North again was a shining example of a “can-do” attitude. She was the recipient of the “Believe and Achieve Award” through the Wayne Metropolitan Action Agency. She also won “Client of the Year” through the same organization for her efforts to meet her personal goals of both business and home ownership, with assistance programs they provided.
“The agency is thrilled to see the hard-working couple reach their full potential and live out their dreams,” Lakesha Biggs, certified financial counselor at Wayne Metro, said when she presented North and her husband with the award.
North is determined to “pay it forward” to show her gratitude for the help she’s received. She volunteered at “Just for You”— a day of inspiration for cancer survivors, including those still in treatment. North gave a presentation and makeup demonstrations to the 150 participants. The pre-quarantine event was funded by the Natalie and Manny Charach Cancer Fund for those who are being treated at the Charach Treatment Center at DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital.
She says her faith has played a big part in her comeback and she is an active volunteer in the Jewish community. As for what’s in her future, the unsinkable young mother says she thinks big and believes in miracles.
“I came back from a very dark place and realize now how precious our lives are,” North said. “I’ve been through a lot. This pandemic is just a bump in the road, although a major bump. We will all get through this. I have a positive outlook on the future for myself and my company.”