Megan Thee Stallion’s makeup artist Akil McCoy shares how Atlanta shaped his career

His client list also includes Fantasia, B. Simone and The Clermont Twins

Love perusing through social media to find out what your favorite influencers are up to? Get a closer glimpse into how they spend their time in Atlanta with “ATL Closeup,” an AJC feature that explores the leisure lives of some of the city’s most notable personalities as they go from work to play mode over the course of a typical weekend — from their favorite places to dine to the little-known spots where they find retreat. 

Akil McCoy has a bit of a super power. He can see his future. Need proof?

» RELATED: What’s in your makeup? Atlanta-based brand keeps it clean

Nearly five years ago, the makeup artist, also known as Akilaface, entered the Bronner Brothers ‘Name Your Face’ Makeup Competition and declared on Facebook he’d win first place.

Around that same time, he also proclaimed his work would appear in magazines, music videos and television shows.

Both of those predictions came true.  

“My dad always taught me to speak over my life. You speak what you want, and you work for it,” the 26-year-old told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I believe I have power over what I say.”

Now with a client list that includes Fantasia, B. Simone, The Clermont Twins and Megan Thee Stallion, who he connected with on Instagram Direct, he’s striving to solidify his name in the beauty industry. 

From spreads in Elle and Fader to photo shoots in Paris and Amsterdam, McCoy believes Atlanta has played a big role in shaping his career.

“I moved here from Tuscaloosa in 2015. There’s so much culture that goes into Atlanta. It motivates me to create. It motivates me to paint. It motivates me to go harder,” he said. “That’s what Atlanta does for me.”

When the Vinings resident isn’t beautifying faces, he is carving out time to hit up his favorite places. Here’s where you’ll likely find him on any given weekend in Atlanta.

Finger-licking good meal

Atlanta’s expansive food scene is one of McCoy’s favorite things about the city. From Italian to Mexican cuisines, he loves discovering new eateries. 

But one of his go-to restaurants is undoubtedly The Juicy Crab in Smyrna. 

“Give me two pounds of King Crab from the menu. Period,” he laughed. “I love the potatoes, corn and the boiled egg with the special Juicy Crab seasoning.”

Which seafood place won the top spot in our Best of Atlanta poll? No. 4: Crawfish Shack Seafood in DeKalb No. 3: Pappadeaux, with locations in North Fulton, Cobb and Gwinnett No. 2: The Optimist in Atlanta No. 1: Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar in Cobb

And if he’s in the mood for some smoked meats, Tom, Dick & Hank in South Atlanta always hits the spot. The black-owned business offers ribs, pulled port, brisket and more. 

“Everything they do is basically smoked,” he explained. “They have great mac n’ cheese and steamed broccoli. That’s definitely a good one.” 

His top dining pick:

The Juicy Crab, 2524 Cobb Pkwy. SE, Smyrna. 678-403-1677, thejuicycrab.com.

Tom, Dick & Hank, 191 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. SW, Atlanta. 404-343-3774, tomdickandhank.com.

» RELATED: Winner: Best barbecue in Atlanta 

Shop-til-you drop spot

McCoy doesn’t just do makeup. He’s also a fashion designer. He sometimes makes his own clothes with help from the thrift stores around town like Rag-O-Rama in Little Five Points. 

“You see garments that are 20 years old that you know have style and potential, and you get to bring it back to life. That’s what I do,” he said. “I like timeless fashion.”

ATLANTA 10-09-19 AJC reporter Najja Parker talks Akil McCoy who is an Atlanta-based celebrity makeup artist, whose list of clients include Megan Thee Stallion. (Tyson Horne / Tyson.horne@ajc.com)
Photo: Tyson Horne/TYSON HORNE /TYSON.HORNE@AJC.COM

He’s a big fan of designer brands, too, so you might catch him picking up items at MCM and Louis Vuitton in Lenox Square. 

“I use designer labels to compliment whatever out I got on to make it my own. I simply do it for the fashion,” he said. “I got a good list, honey, and that’s all I need.”

His top shopping pick:  

Rag-O-Rama, 1111 Euclid Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-658-1988. ragorama.com.

Lenox Square, 3393 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta. 404-233-7-6767, simon.com/mall/lenox-square.

Social Hour

The entrepreneur loves to be surrounded by art. There are paintings and artifacts throughout his home, and he gets much of his inspiration from the High Museum of Art

“I love the High, because it shows me that art can come in so many shapes, forms and sizes,” he said. “Every time I come here, it inspires me to do more.”

He  particularly keeps an eye out for the African artists, educating himself on cultures different from his own. 

And when he needs a good dance floor, he heads to Compound Night Club. McCoy and his friends typically go to  “First Fridays” to hear hip hop music and order a few cocktails.

“It’s for the gays,” he said. “It’s other people in the gay and ball community that are hairstylists, makeup artists and producers. So when we all come together for those ‘First Fridays,’ it’s a star-studded event.”

His top party pick:

The High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-4400, high.org.

Compound Night Club, 1008 Brady Ave. NW, Atlanta. 404- 400-5061, compoundatl.com.

The wind down:

McCoy’s schedule has been jam packed lately, but he still makes time to relax.

“When I’m taking time away from this new world, I truly love being in my house to get my mind together,” he admitted. “That’s my space and serenity. That’s what gives me peace.” 

While his home provides plenty of solace, a little action from The Joint Chiropractor helps, too. You can find relief from back pain, neck pain, migraines and more.

“My friend just got me into that. I’m standing up all day for work, so sometimes you just need to go and get your back cracked. I go whenever I have time.” 

His top relaxation pick:

The Joint Chiropractor, 4500 W Village Place, Smyrna. 770- 824-0718, thejoint.com/georgia/smyrna/vinings.

Hidden gem

Atlanta’s museums capture the city’s rich history and heritage, but McCoy thinks one needs more attention: The Trap Music Museum.

“It shows you the art of Atlanta. People like Yung Jeezy, T.I. and Lil Jon and Eastside Boys have paved the way for Atlanta to be the music mecca that it is now,” he said. “It’s art in our form.”

During a trip to the establishment founded by T.I., you’ll view artworks of rappers as well as realistic scenes associated with the development of the trap music subgenre.

“The first time I went was amazing. I went with my best friend, and it just took us over,” he said. “Who would have ever thought to create something like this. It was a good time.”

If you go:

The Trap Music Museum, 630 Travis St. NW, Atlanta. 

trapmusicmuseum.us.

This Sept. 14, 2018 photo shows rapper Clifford Harris Jr., better known as T.I., during a tour of his Trap Music Museum in Atlanta. Trap is a popular sub genre of hip-hop with the term trap referring to places where drug deals take place. The museum opens on Sept. 30. (AP Photo/John Amis)

This Sept. 14, 2018 photo shows rapper Clifford Harris Jr., better known as T.I., posing in front of his grandparents' home in Atlanta. The rapper is paying homage to the trap music culture with its own museum dedicating areas of the exhibit to rappers including himself, Gucci Mane, Jeezy, Rick Ross and Future. The Trap Music Museum opens on Sept. 30. Trap is a popular sub genre of hip-hop with the term trap referring to places where drug deals take place. (AP Photo/John Amis)

This Sept. 14, 2018 photo shows rapper Clifford Harris Jr., better known as T.I., on the porch of his grandparents' home where he grew up in Atlanta. The rapper is paying homage to the trap music culture with its own museum dedicating areas of the exhibit to rappers including himself, Gucci Mane, Jeezy, Rick Ross and Future. The Trap Music Museum opens on Sept. 30. Trap is a popular sub genre of hip-hop with the term trap referring to places where drug deals take place. (AP Photo/John Amis)

This Sept. 14, 2018 photo shows rapper Clifford Harris Jr., better known as T.I., standing in a room lined with simulated bricks of cocaine which is dedicated to fellow rapper Geezy, during a tour of his Trap Music Museum in Atlanta. Trap is a popular sub genre of hip-hop with the term trap referring to places where drug deals take place. The museum opens on Sept. 30. (AP Photo/John Amis)

This Sept. 14, 2018 photo shows rapper Clifford Harris Jr., better known as T.I., next to a car once owned by 2 Chainz and converted into an exhibit for Trap Music Museum in Atlanta. The rapper is paying homage to the trap music culture with its own museum dedicating areas of the exhibit to rappers including himself, Gucci Mane, Jeezy, Rick Ross and Future. The museum opens on Sept. 30. Trap is a popular sub genre of hip-hop with the term trap referring to places where drug deals take place. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Photo: Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

» RELATED: Don’t forget to visit these 8 museums in metro Atlanta

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