With a Makeup career that spans far and wide and a thriving political powerhouse, James Waylon Tate is among DFW’s most fascinating residents. James is known to have a non-stop travel schedule only worthy of a national campaign route. His done-up faces have graced some of DFW’s most notable figures. In addition to a client list that reads like a society page’s who’s-who, James also serves as a valued member of Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins’ team. His efforts to help cultivate our metro’s judicial voice to advocate social awareness also spans multiple causes. His Voice on Domestic policy has gone far from unsung even taking him directly to The White House last year. Working with local LGBT organizations have also propelled Dallas to having a leader in the strive for equality.
Today, I’m thrilled to have one of DFW’s strongest figures, and most talented , featured in my inaugural interview. My conversation with James, goes with out saying, gave way to some fascinating insight on beauty and bureaucracy. Also, James weighs in on todays historic Supreme Court hearings regarding Marriage Equality.
Sean Charles: Between being DFW’s premiere go-to makeup artist and having such an important role working along side DA Watkins, How do you ever manage the time to juggle careers?
James Waylon Tate: It is certainly a matter of time management and prioritizing, and if possible I find some time to sleep. I am deeply attached to both my makeup artistry and the consulting that I do for the DA’s office, so I always strive to achieve a balance of both.
SC: What originally sparked your interest in Makeup?
JWT: My freshman year in college, I took a part-time job at a makeup counter. As my studies advanced, my love for makeup did as well. I became more interested in the effect of makeup on women and their self confidence, rather than just painting a pretty face.
SC: How on earth did a successful career in beauty give way to an equally successful role with the Dallas DA?
JWT: I returned to Texas after living in Los Angeles to continue my education in public policy. For the past decade, makeup had been a way for me to express myself artistically, and also my means of livelihood. It seemed natural for me to continue working in makeup throughout my Masters studies. I was accepted into the Bill Archer Fellowship through the University of Texas, and was able to spend a semester studying and working in Washington, DC. This served as a launching pad to my work in public policy and ignited my passion for public service.
SC: What drives your passion with your work in the DA’s Office?
JWT: I have the opportunity to serve the citizens of Dallas County. I’ve been told for years that I have a gift for communication. I have used that to my benefit in the makeup world, and it serves me well with consulting for the DA’s office. There are numerous opportunities to make great changes in Dallas County and I take great privilege to doing my part to serve.
SC: Tell me about the Citizen Prosecutor’s Academy, which you founded and worked with DA Watkins to make it such a success, how did it come to be?
JWT: I had signed up for a similar program in a neighboring county, but was unable to attend due to a conflict in my class schedule. I thought it would be of great value to offer a program in Dallas County that would reach in and invite citizens to more fully understand the operations of the DA’s office, and the process of criminal justice. Honestly, I made a cold call to the DA’s office and after several meetings the idea of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Citizen Prosecutor Academy became a reality.
SC: What new projects can we expect this year in your role with the DA?
JWT: We are working on a variety of new initiatives for this year that will benefit Dallas County residents. DA Watkins recently formed two new divisions in the office to address more closely particular concerns. The Animal Cruelty Unit was created to give more protection to animals throughout Dallas County, and provide justice in cases of animal abuse and neglect. The Community Prosecution Unit was created to offer a presence of the DA’s office in each of the four regions of Dallas County. Among a variety of other things, specially assigned prosecutors create programs for students in schools and attend Crime Stoppers meetings in their regions.
SC: You have also been known to be a strong voice in the LGBT community, tell me about your experiences and causes that are most dear to you.
JWT: During my fellowship in Washington, D.C., I had an internship with an organization that worked to eradicate bullying and harassment in schools. I became very closely involved in the anti-bullying movement and continue to support those causes. As a gay man, I find it rewarding to give back to my community in whatever way that I can.
SC: last year, your role in a local LGBT organization even lead you to the White House, how did it feel to be in the same room as President Obama?
JWT: There really aren’t words to express what that moment was like for me. When I received the invitation from the White House, I was frozen for a few moments at my mailbox. I thought to myself, “either this is a dream, or I have really accomplished something.” I was so honored to have presence with the president, and to be surrounded by LGBT power players.
SC: President Obama shocked the news wire earlier this year for coming out (so to speak) in support of marriage equality, what are your thoughts on that historic announcement ?
JWT: The plight of the LGBT community is the same as those that have always fought for equal rights in this country. We stand on the shoulders of many in our march for equal rights, and President Obama certainly has a friend in me.
SC: Today is an equally Historic day for the LGBT Community as the Supreme Court will debate marriage equality, What do you think the outcome of todays Hearings will be? To add, How does it make you feel that our community will finally see this long overdue shift in marriage equality?
JWT: I am confident that the SCOTUS will come down on our side, however not to the degree to which we would hope. Fingers crossed…
SC: With your work with the DA as well as the LGBT Community, do you ever come across cases or stories that at times are difficult to process mentally?
JWT: Not really. I have much confidence in the prosecutors and investigators in the office, and I trust in their expertise. As long as there is a society, there will be the need to protect and preserve justice, and that is what the DA’s office does every day. Some 100,000 cases are processed every year in the DA’s office, and I am proud to work around servants that strive to ensure those freedoms and safety for Dallas County with every case that they receive.
SC: How do you get through some of those tough days?
JWT: My days are long and stressful, no doubt. However, I always try to remind myself that each day, I am given the opportunity to be of service and offer my gifts in some way. I maintain a gratitude journal and find blessings even in the worst of days.
SC: As to your role in the style community, (dare I ask) do you think you would ever leave the beauty industry, considering your role now with DA?
JWT: I have always tried to live my life with no expectations. I aspire to do great things, whatever they may be. If I allow myself to be too calculated in making my decisions, then I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the work that I am currently doing. Regardless the work that I do now with the DA’s office, or other projects that I may work on in the future, makeup will always be a part of my life.
SC: I have a feeling that more extraordinary things are under way for you, Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
JWT: I try not to think too much about what they future holds. I hope that I may be able to continue working to serve the public and offer my skills to help others.
SC: As to your roles, you often find yourself in heated political discussions, which I have personally witnessed, Do you ever see yourself in a political office?
JWT: I am asked this question often. I have not given much thought to running for public office myself – not to say that I wouldn’t – but I guess we will have to stay tuned.
SC: I know I would certainly be a strong supporter of any role you would consider!
JWT: Well thank you, Sean. I really appreciate that. I pride myself in the ability to build strong relationships, and organizing initiatives.
SC: You have been such a strong supporter of all young people striving to make a difference in both their communities and careers, to the ones reading now, what is your best advice on how to stay focused and determined?
JWT: Look inward. Everything that you want to do in this life is already inside of you. It is not a matter of education, or privilege. You need not be certain social circles or professional affiliations to make change. Some of the most remarkable young people I have met, have no connections to power. They find their authentic power that abides within us all. Trust your instincts and steer clear of negativity. Perhaps most importantly, never forget your roots and where you come from.
SC: Finally, (you know I have to ask) any need-to-know makeup tips?
JWT: Less is more.
photo credit: Sergio Garcia