You’d never guess that Charlton Alicea—with his flawless, olive skin, perfectly arched brows, chic style, and cosmopolitan comportment—grew up in small-town Indian Land, S.C. You’d also never guess that the ever-youthful Alicea, owner of cosmetics mecca Jeffre Scott Apothecary in Myers Park, is 41.
Outside the shop, the worldly makeup mogul is a man of many talents, doing everything from teaching dance lessons at Midtown Ballroom to starring in local theater productions. This year, he was even crowned Mr. Entertainer of the Year—a national pageant run by a nonprofit group out of Louisville, Ky. Alicea chatted with SouthPark about holiday beauty trends, his celebrity muse, and that otherworldly tattoo on his arm:
What do you love most about being the owner of Jeffre Scott Apothecary?
I want to bring joy to people. I get so excited to see the transformations. Even something as simple as a blowout can brighten your day. There are women in their 50s and 60s who come here and have never used more than soap and water. I love educating them on the benefits of good skin care, including moisturizing. They leave here feeling more beautiful, and that feeds my soul.
Let’s talk about your latest accomplishment, winning the “Mr. Entertainer of the Year” pageant.
I thought it would be fun to try. Once I decided to do it, I went all in. I sang “Hey, Big Spender” from Sweet Charity and had six backup dancers. My suit—with plumage!—for the formalwear competition had 25,000 Swarovski crystals hand-sewn onto it. That white suit was shipped from Charlotte to England three times during fittings.
I love your work on stage, in everything from Theatre Charlotte’s “Rent” to CPCC’s “Cabaret.” What’s next?
That’s another way I try to spread joy. I’m doing a male version of Jessica Rabbit at Boulevard 1820, the dinner theater with drag shows on South Boulevard. And I’m working on a Prince impersonation. Our birthdays are the same—June 7. People tell me I remind them of him. In Houston, someone stopped me on the street and said, “I just want to hug you because I loved Prince and you look so much like him.”
What are your beauty tips for the holidays?
It’s all about the glow. Using a liquid highlighter under your makeup will give your skin a radiant finish. Our favorite is from Kevin Aucoin—the The Celestial Skin liquid lightning. Also, keep your skin hydrated.
What are the biggest beauty trends you’re seeing now?
The med-spa. Also, men are becoming more interested in taking care of their skin.
Tell me about the tattoo on your arm.
It says “enjoy the journey” in Elvish. Did you know I’m a total sci-fi geek? That’s one of the languages J.R.R. Tolkien (author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy) invented. Years ago, I met Elijah Wood (who played Frodo in the Lord of the Rings films) and asked for his autograph. He wrote, “Charlton: Enjoy the journey. Elijah Wood.” It’s framed in my bedroom and has become my mantra.
You’re a makeup artist, hairstylist, entrepreneur, ballroom dancer, actor and entertainer. Is there anything you don’t do?
(Laughs) I don’t play a musical instrument, but it’s on my bucket list. I bought a keyboard and have it in my living room. So far, I know where Middle C is.
This story first ran in SouthPark Magazine.
Photo: Justin Driscoll