"My mother always called me her little cosmopolitan," he said Wednesday during an interview at the Polish National Alliance. "I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but I knew I belonged someplace like New York City. When I went off to college, I studied acting. I was on a soap opera, a co-host for a show on the Discovery Channel, on stage and in a few movies. During all of the time I was acting, I was doing make-up for myself and others. I designed the make-up for a few off-Broadway shows, then started doing it for television. One thing just led to another."

Johnson, a 1994 graduate of Hoosac Valley High School, returned home on Wednesday to host a makeup event for Beauty Society, the nationwide makeup and skin care company for which he serves as the executive makeup artist.

"Being the executive makeup artist for Beauty Society has been one of the most fulfilling years of my life," he said. "No matter how many celebrities I work with, real woman are still my heart and soul. I always think of my mom and aunts, who celebrity makeup and skin care products were so out of reach for financially. This is a way for me to teach women the tips and tricks of the celebrities with products that are good for them and are affordable."

He also provides advice to women through a variety of media, such as writing columns for Sephora.com on a monthly basis and for RunningwithHeels.com on a weekly basis, in addition to having articles and interviews appear in Harper’s Bazaar, Genre and Glamour magazines. He’s also done segments for CBS, Access Hollywood and Fox News.

"The first celebrity I did makeup for was Ice-T [who stars on Law & Order]," Johnson said. "I was then approached by Sephora to do a tips and tricks column. At that point, I hadn’t had any formal training, so I went to school."

Although he already held a master’s degree in acting from Columbia University and a bachelor’s in acting from Marymount Manhattan College, Johnson enrolled at the Make-up Designory in New York, from which he graduated in 2007 with a formal training in makeup artistry for fashion, film and television.

"Immediately after I got out of school, my celebrity clientele just increased," he said. "I’ve worked with over 80 famous faces. I’ve done work for people like Angela Lansbury, Chris Kattan and Nick Lachey. I’ve had my work appear in Rolling Stone and Elle. I’ve done makeup for the Tony Awards, Good Morning America, The Big Gay Sketch Show and The Early Show."

He added, "I’ve been very fortunate, I never feel like I work. I’d die behind a desk. I just couldn’t do a job like that. I love the challenge of makeup. I recently had the challenge of making a man look like Madonna. I had to figure out what features I could work with and what I had to add. It was great."

When he’s not in New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas or London for work, Johnson is usually working with real women through Beauty Society.

"Doing an event like this gives me a chance to work with a room full of people," he said. "Part of the reason I’m so passionate about what I do is because I understand what women go through. In school, I was picked on mercilessly for my weight and my sexuality.

"Magazines are tailor-made to make women feel bad about the way they look. Women are told by magazines that they’re too old, too fat, don’t wear the right clothes and they don’t have the right facial structure. I want to remind women that they are all so beautiful. Women need to be reminded that they are beautiful today, they were beautiful yesterday and they’ll be beautiful tomorrow. When they’re focused on how bad they look, the beauty can’t pour through their souls."

He said the worst mistake women make is that they believe makeup artists can work miracles.

"I can’t, only you can," Johnson said. "Skin care is so important, but it can stop at any time. I can teach you what are the right things to use on your face, but only the person opening the medicine cabinet can make sure that the products are being used."

He’s also a strong believer that women of every walk of life should have access to quality products at an affordable price.

"I was originally approached by another cosmetic company about working with their cosmetic line, but I opted to work with Beauty Society because they provide prescription-grade products to the average woman at affordable prices," he said. "Most quality skin care products cost hundreds of dollars because of the advertising campaigns behind them. A full-page advertisement in a magazine can cost $50,000 to $70,000. A full ad campaign can cost $500,000 for a product. We rely on our customers to tell each other how wonderful our products are, so we don’t have that added cost. We do everything in-house, in our own labs and nothing is out-sourced."

For more information on Johnson, visit www.nathansbeauty.com.