Having spent 25 years as an award-winning makeup artist in Hollywood, including on Dancing with the Stars, Melanie Mills realized she needed a major change. Fast forward: Today she and her family live in East Nashville, TN and on October 8, Mills opened the Makeup Altar, a highly curated shop with products and makeup tools for Nashville’s professional entertainment industry, as well as for consumers.
Here, she tells us about her career switch and what it’s like starting over in a new town with a new business.
“When COVID hit and everything finally stopped, I realized that I wanted to move to what I call my second act,” said Mills. “I’m not quite yet 50, and I just wanted another path, something more family oriented, something a little bit more community oriented. So my husband and I, we'd been wanting to get out of L.A. for quite some time, but nothing else ever hit the spot.”
Mills, who mediates daily, said the answer hit her one day like a train. The answer was Nashville, the home of country music and a broad mix of entertainment venues sure to keep anyone involved with the makeup industry incredibly busy. Mills and her husband had never been to the city but flew in to spend about 10 days there in November 2020. The vibe felt right and they made the epic move.
“I felt confident that I would find something here in Nashville for sure, especially within the makeup realm because this is a city full of entertainment and tons of makeup artists,” said Mills, who is also the president of her own makeup company, Melanie Mills Hollywood.
After settling in, she called a new friend in the area to say she needed some professional makeup supplies; she had searched on Google and found nothing in Nashville. His answer was that there was no professional makeup store in town.
Mills, who had been taking it easy, gardening and meeting her new neighbors, suddenly realized her calling. She would open the Makeup Altar to service the needs of the entertainment industry, as well as her neighbors.
“I ended up finding the cutest little house for the shop,” said Mills, adding that it’s not unusual in Nashville for stores to be in homes. “I really went for it decoration wise, making it very bold and colorful, but also whimsical with a Belle Epoque kind of vibe. We offer makeup services, too.”
In the above video, follow along as Mills speaks about listening to your gut and following your instincts. She personally sets a vision board at the beginning of each year, which helps her to better picture what she really wants to accomplish.