It’s an honor that comes after dedicating 16 years to a trade Hoover stumbled upon by accident.
“I went to college for education, to teach music,” she said, “but then I started working part-time for Estee Lauder and fell in love with makeup.”
The experience changed the course of Hoover’s life. She set aside her dream of teaching music to pursue a career that took her behind the scenes at fashion shows and photo shoots and made her one of the most in-demand artists in her field.
Although she now manages the M.A.C. cosmetics counter at Belk – a position she has held since 2006 – Hoover first established herself in Memphis. She thrived in the fast-paced environment, managing an Estee Lauder counter at Macy’s and racking up gigs as a freelance artist.
But Hoover said it wasn’t until she moved to Tupelo that her business really boomed. She works extensively for wedding and fashion photographers, and has a steady line of work consulting clients on how to create the perfect look for a fancy occasion, a regular day or a television appearance.
“I love what I do, because it’s changing people’s lives,” said Hoover, who grew up in Ripley and graduated from Mississippi College for Women. “I listen to everyone and find out about their lifestyles to find a look that suits them.”
The most common mistake she sees among inexperienced makeup wearers is a heavy-handed application. Less is more, Hoover said. And when clients find the right products and colors, they don’t need much of it to do the job right.
That’s especially true today, she said, since the current trends favor a lighter, fresher, more natural look.
Hoover also said she sees many women struggle with dark circles under the eyes and suggests a proper foundation paired with mascara.
“Mascara makes a huge difference,” she said. “It opens and brightens the eyes and lifts the attention up.”
Tips like these helped push Hoover to the top of ELLE Magazine’s list, but the honor took the 38-year-old by surprise. She said didn’t even know she’d been nominated until her colleague showed her the most recent publication.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Hoover said. “It was really incredible.”
When she’s not spending time at the M.A.C. counter or working with clients off-site, Hoover said she spends time at home with her husband Mark, a pastor at Palestine Baptist Church in Nettleton, and their two dogs.
But she’s always looking for the opportunity to help another person find their perfect look.
“My favorite feeling,” Hoover said, “is when someone looks in the mirror and realizes that the impossible has become the possible.”