From Springfield to Hollywood: An Interview with Makeup Artist Alexis Oakley

California-based celebrity makeup artist and Springfield, Missouri native Alexis Oakley finds joy in coming home.

By Jordan Blomquist

Mar 2024

Alexis Oakley
Photo courtesy Alexis OakleySpringfield, Missouri native Alexis Oakley now works as a makeup artist to the stars.

The plot for the Oscar-winning movie La La Land follows an aspiring actress and an artist trying to actualize their careers in Los Angeles, California. Alexis Oakley circles back to this movie often, being that the first client she assisted on while chasing her dreams of becoming a celebrity makeup artist in L.A. was none other than La La Land star Emma Stone. It was during the 2017 Oscars—she won Best Actress. “That was one of those pivotal moments for me where I was like, ‘Wow. I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to do,’” Alexis says. This kind of serendipity continues to echo throughout her career. 

When Alexis was 18 years old, she moved from Springfield to the City of Angels to attend Make-up Designory—a five-month-long makeup school. Immediately after completing the program, she began assisting celebrity makeup artists. She worked with tons of different artists, networked and perfected her craft. After three and a half years she got her first two solo clients in the same week: Jessica Alba and Paris Hilton.

Now, over seven years later, her portfolio is scattered with big names like Alix Earle, Tate McRae and Kris Jenner. Alexis even went on tour in 2022 with Avril Lavigne as her makeup artist when Lavigne was opening for Machine Gun Kelly. “Alexis and I always shared a love for music and concerts growing up,” says Wendy Oakley, Alexis’ mom. “Of course, we never dreamed that one day she would be working with some of these people. After Alexis would leave clients like Demi Lovato, Avril Lavigne and many others, she would call me and we would laugh and reminisce about her being a fan while young and how crazy that she was just at their house glamming them.”

In 2022, Alexis posted a TikTok video pitching herself to Brittany Mahomes—wife of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes—explaining how she would do her makeup and style her for the Super Bowl. Being that Alexis grew up a Chiefs fan and Brittany is as close as it gets to Missouri royalty, she had to shoot her shot. Within hours, Brittany sent Alexis a message through Instagram asking to work together for the AFC Championship Game. “That was really cool, and it’s been so much fun being able to work with her and do so many looks on her,” Alexis says. “It’s something that my whole family gets excited about.” Since then, Alexis has done Brittany’s makeup for the Super Bowl, a Formula 1 race, the Met Gala, the Quarterback premiere—a Netflix series that stars Patrick—and more. 

“Her dad and I are just so proud of her,” Wendy says. “Alexis is a hard worker, and her determination has made her the successful makeup artist she is today. I still get excited every time she gets new clients or opportunities.”

417 Pride

Behind the glitz and glam is still a Missouri girl at heart. “I love coming back home,” Alexis says. “I feel like every time I just need an escape from my reality now, I immediately run away and go back home.” When she’s in town, she loves relaxing at Table Rock Lake, getting frozen custard from Andy’s and dining at the place where she landed her first job: Texas Roadhouse.  

Last summer, Alexis brought a friend from L.A. to show him what it’s like here in southwest Missouri. They tried the ropes courses at Fritz’s Adventure, caught rolls at Lambert’s Cafe and explored Silver Dollar City. “We literally did everything Branson has to offer,” she says. She documented the trip on social media and is now recognized as “Alexis from Missouri.” All her friends want to visit Missouri now, she says. 

What’s Next

With more than seven years of industry experience under her belt, Alexis is still dreaming big and setting goals. “Hailey Bieber has been a dream client of mine for such a long time,” she says. While being a celebrity makeup artist remains her career, she has also become a beauty content influencer and spends her free time filming videos for social media.

The beauty industry is anything but consistent. Some days Alexis is chatting it up while glamming clients-turned-best-friends, and other days she’s waking up before the sun and lugging around a 100-pound suitcase that houses her products. 

In many cases, Alexis doesn’t know if she is working with a client until within 24 hours of the event. “JUNO awards, which are in Canada, that’s the first thing I ever did with Tate McRae—that was the first time I ever met her—I got booked for that a day before and flew to Canada the next day,” she says. Essentially, anything can happen. 

Nonetheless, we’re excited to see who she might glam up this year. “Makeup things are so last minute—you never know,” she says. “Fingers crossed.”