In a journey from a university side job to international acclaim, makeup artist and entrepreneur Sean Maloney has not only conquered the beauty industry but is now set to make waves as the newly appointed regional director for Miss Manchester 2024.
Starting as a cashier at the No.7 counter in Boots, Sean’s journey took an unexpected turn, leading him to become a global makeup brand owner with a clientele that includes A-listers like Khloe Kardashian.
This story delves into Sean’s remarkable career, highlighting his rise from humble beginnings to international acclaim.
Miss Manchester 2024
Sean has taken on the role of the regional director for Miss Manchester.
He is on the lookout for genuine, kind, and ambitious young women aged 16-27 who embody the spirit of Manchester.
The winner of Miss Manchester 2024 will have the opportunity to represent the city at the grand finale at Vermillion in March 2024 and, if successful, progress to the Miss England and possibly Miss World competitions.
A Full Circle Moment
Hailing from Manchester himself and having previously worked backstage at Miss Manchester, Sean sees his new role as regional director as a full-circle moment.
Confident in Manchester’s talent pool, he eagerly anticipates showcasing the city’s beauty and crowning the next Miss England.
How to Apply
Sean, with over eight years in the pageant world, shared, “I’m incredibly lucky to have experienced the pageant world from all angles.
“When judging, I can see what exactly the judges are looking for and the criteria.
“Having this whole rounded experience is what is going to make Miss Manchester a contemporary and modern competition.”
He emphasised the deeper connections formed, stating, “It’s so much more than a competition; it’s a community. I’ve always understood the deeper connection people have to the community, and it’s honestly beautiful seeing friendships form, networking and work connections happening, and memories being made.”
Empowering Miss Manchester
In his new role, Sean aims to give every Miss Manchester finalist a unique experience.
He shared, “My finalists can expect incredible hair and makeup, photoshoot opportunities, gifting from brands, PR campaigns, monthly Zoom training, and the best social events.”
Sean envisions Miss Manchester 2024 as a remarkable show to remember, highlighting the city’s unique beauty and talent.
The Accidental Entry into Makeup
Sean’s venture into makeup was entirely unplanned.
While working at Boots to make ends meet during his university days, he found himself on the No.7 counter with no prior knowledge of makeup.
This chance opportunity led to an unexpected headhunting by MAC, marking the beginning of Sean’s remarkable journey in the beauty industry.
Reflecting on his accidental entry into makeup, Sean revealed, “When starting out in makeup, I was told no, I was told I wouldn’t be good enough… I had a lot of doors slammed in my face and emails ignored.”
His advice to aspiring makeup artists is to be a “yes person,” encouraging them to embrace every opportunity, even unpaid, for the experience.
Sharing his journey, Sean highlighted, “I knew that makeup was my passion, and when I pick up a brush and create looks and content, I feel at home, and it doesn’t feel like work – that’s when I knew it was time to build my brand, build my community and make something of myself.”
Early Struggles and Triumphs
Despite initial scepticism from those around him, Sean’s passion for makeup blossomed during his tenure at the MAC counter in Selfridges.
Determined to prove his detractors wrong, he embraced every opportunity, even risking his first day at a journalism internship to work on a photoshoot for reality TV star Amy Willerton.
The success of that shoot became a turning point, propelling him into the world of red carpets and premieres.
Building a Makeup Empire
Sean’s career snowballed rapidly as he garnered opportunities to work with celebrities like Lily Allen and contribute to shows such as The Apprentice.
His entrepreneurial spirit led him to launch his brand, SM Lashes, after winning financial support from the Prince’s Trust in 2017.
Within two weeks, he opened ‘The Sean Maloney Makeup Academy,’ earning accolades as the Best Beauty Salon and Academy in 2019 and 2020.
Sean’s lashes gained international fame after being worn by Khloe Kardashian on American TV and singer Fleur East.
His makeup academy became a favourite among reality TV stars, solidifying his presence in the industry.
He reminisced about his realisation, stating, “Hardly sleeping and always travelling and my passport being stamped more times than I can keep track of, this is what I work for, the fast lifestyle and big experiences.”
Having once worked backstage at Miss Manchester, he recalled envisioning his future role, and now as the regional director, he is set to redefine the pageant experience.
“I’m the regional director of Manchester, Lancashire, and Cheshire, with a whole host of award-winning brands on board, I know that this is going to be one of the most explosive events of the year.”
Sean’s venture into SM Lashes and The Sean Maloney Makeup Academy was fueled by a desire to share his knowledge. “I’ve been lucky enough to have my product brand, open an academy and salon, work on films, editorials, fashion weeks, internationally – I genuinely feel I could answer any concern or question my students would have.”
Looking ahead, he expressed excitement about SM International’s growth, social media courses, and workshops at the academy. He aims to open a content space in Manchester, create more pageant experiences in the USA, and expand his role as the regional director.
Staying Grounded Amidst Success
Despite achieving six-figure success and international recognition, Sean remains grounded, remembering the financial struggles he faced when starting.
His commitment to his craft, even in the face of rejection, serves as an inspiration for aspiring makeup artists navigating the competitive beauty landscape.
Challenges and Determination
Sean acknowledges the challenges he faced, with doors often slammed in his face.
However, these setbacks only fueled his determination to succeed.
Expanding Horizons: SM International
In recent years, Sean’s influence has reached global proportions with the launch of SM International.
His makeup academy has ventured to locations like Australia and Bali, offering unique opportunities for aspiring makeup artists to collaborate on shoots with online influencers from around the world.
With a fully booked calendar for the next year, Sean’s international ventures include shoots in Las Vegas, Mexico, and the Bahamas.