Thursday, August 29, 2013

I'm going to NYFW! How did this happen?

I made an announcement last night via facebook, twitter, and instagram that I will be assisting two amazing, celebrity makeup artists next week at Mercedes Benz - New York Fashion Week. I instantly started getting inbox and text messages asking me, "HOW?"

Well, I'll tell you how!
I have to go all the way back to the beginning of my career to explain step by step how this happened.
This is a REAL Throwback Thursday.


This all started with this drawing I sketched in 2004.
I was attending Harold Washington College between 2002-2005. I drew a model I saw in Elle Magazine using my chalk pastels, my fingers, and an ink pen. Since I was 3 years old, I have always drawn models I saw in magazines, random faces, eyes, makeup, lips; I literally had no idea I was making face charts and preparing myself for my future.

I was a BROKE college student and I needed money to support myself. I stepped up to Macy*s , The Body Shop , and other retail places to interview for a sales associate position.

I had no resume, no experience, nothing: All I had was my ability to draw.

The management looked at me like I was crazy for only showing them my drawings, but they had faith that I could do makeup on customers, so The Body Shop hired me on the spot in August 2004.

Step 1: Discover your passion
This was when I first discovered my passion for makeup.

This was where I met a lot of amazing people like:
Vivienne, Jonilyn, RomneyLizi, Yesenia, JasmineBrittany, Ryan, Jordan, Justyn, Crystal, Anna, Shawn, Katie, EdithDanielleVera, Joaquin, Cleo, and last but NOT least my boss for 5 years, Ioana.

Each and every one of these people allowed me to experiment on their faces, or taught me something new, or we partied together, had fun together, laughed together, cried together. They all helped mold me into the woman I am today. I don't talk to every single person every day, but I think about all of them all the time. They don't realize how much of an impact they each had on me for my life.

To each and every one of my Body Shop crew: I LOVE YOU AND THANK YOU

I wanted to learn about makeup as much as possible, so I signed up for school at Makeup First LLC in 2007.


Step 2: Educate Yourself
It was here I learned from artists Jill Glaser and Lani Swasko about amazing makeup artists like Eve Pearl, James Vincent, Maurice Stein, Kevin James Bennett, and amazing products like Make Up For Ever and Cinema Secrets. It was here where I learned how to do theatrical makeup, makeup for film and media, clinical makeup, basic hair styling, airbrush makeup and agencies within the Midwest. School is not for every artist, but it helped me get more focused on what I should and shouldn't do for my career.
To Jill Glaser and Makeup First LLC: I LOVE YOU AND THANK YOU

Once I graduated with my Makeup Artistry certificate, it led me to create my first website and sign up for Facebook in 2007.

Step 3: Network

Through facebook, my little world of makeup grew into a major passion. I started networking with hair stylists, makeup artists, photographers, and any one related to fashion. This is where I met the young fashion photographer around 2008 from Tanzania, Africa: Nuru Kimondo.

Nuru is an extremely gifted young woman! I met her when she was just starting out, she was 16 at the time. We started doing photo shoots together on a weekly basis, we would hang out together all the time, traveled to New York together, we became really close friends.

On one of our last photo shoots together, I met hair stylist Dee Desalu.

Dee is absolutely amazing and she wowed me with her hair skills. Dee is super sweet, talented and amazing at hair styling. Dee is a true hair artist!

We always kept in touch and sent each other work from time to time. Dee always kept me up to date on fashion, events, networking, how to make a perfect curl and things I never knew about with hair!



I met makeup artist Nicole Rogers via facebook.
Nicole was the first makeup artist I ever assisted on set, I reached out to her casting call for assistance and she brought me on board for a film set. I thought I knew what I was doing, but I didn't. Nicole put me in check REAL quick and told me what to do and what not to do with assisting another artist. If it weren't for her, I would have easily been a hot mess in my career.



Step 4: Maintain Industry Relationships

One day, out the blue, Dee tagged me and a few other mua's to a post on facebook about a makeup artist looking for assistants for The Makeup Show.
It was celebrity makeup artist: AJ Crimson.

I honestly did not think AJ would reach back out to me, or answer my email, or even bother to read my message but in less than five minutes, AJ called me and asked, "Are you available?"

So myself, DeCarr, George, and Sarah were able to assist AJ for the launch of his makeup line.


Step 5: Find A Mentor

In June 2012, I was working with photographer Escalante on a weekly basis. I reached out to him and a lot of makeup artists and photographers within the industry just asking for help in 2010. The only person that reached back out to me was Escalante.

Escalante has been a fashion photographer for the past 25 years, so he knows all the ins and outs of the fashion industry from the United States to Europe. Escalante helped me sharpen my skills, fine tune my lines, quicken my pace with makeup, connected me to my first agency: The Rock Agency, and really helped me become an all around better makeup artist. He pushed me to my limits and encouraged me to do hair styling which I never thought in a million years I would ever do. He also encouraged me to travel and market myself outside of Chicago. Because of him, I dropped a lot of fears and doubts I had within myself and worked harder than ever before. I made my first trip to Los Angeles to visit my family, but little did I know I would also be signing with an amazing artists agency from a referral through AJ Crimson:


Step 6: Take Risks

When I first signed with Black Board, they told me I needed better models, better photographers, better everything in order to get better jobs; that's when Jennifer Avello and I started working together more often. I started working with Jennifer in 2010.

 Jennifer and I took risks together, experimented, completely changed our portfolios, we worked to exhaustion to try to make our books more to our liking. We were getting so frustrated with people telling us to tone down our work, and telling us, "Your work is not commercial enough." Or, "It's not edgy enough" or , "It's not good enough."

After a while, we said, "Fuck the agencies!" and we allowed our creative juices to flow when we worked together. We did whatever we wanted to do and our skills grew stronger together.
Jennifer Avello is absolutely amazing.
It wasn't until we did this photo shoot for Tantalum Magazine together, with stylist Marta of Factor Artists, that Black Board Group was finally excited about my work.
This was when I got the message on August 27th, 2013 simply asking,

"Are you available September 4th for fashion week?"

To Jennifer Avello: I LOVE YOU AND THANK YOU


Today was when I realized everything and every person in life is for a season and a reason:
- My drawing skills led me to employment at The Body Shop >
- which led me to  > school
- which led me to  > social media
- which led me to  > amazing and talented people that I networked with
- which led me to  > referrals
- which led me to  > fashion week

This was NOT an over night process.
Your journey will be completely different than mine, but just remember:
Who you meet today could be the key to your dreams coming true tomorrow.


It makes me sad that I'm not able to talk to all these people every day, but I understand now more than ever that they were all in my life for seasons and reasons that I can only explain is God's doing. I have been working, and planning, and editing, and deleting, and second guessing, and going broke, and messing up my career from the beginning, but it was ALL to prepare me for next week, and for the rest of my career.

So right now, if you are going through a crazy time period in your life, or if things are not panning out the way you hoped, or things are not as good as you think they could be, just remember:

It's only for a SEASON!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Tantalum Magazine

Check out this beautiful fashion story photographer Jennifer Avello, wardrobe stylist Marta Cebrat-Czernik and myself created on model Marta of Factor Women! I wanted to show you how you can achieve the same looks at home by sharing a few of the products I used.

Flower Power

Photographer | Jennifer Avello
Wardrobe Assistant | Hermina Chamnankit
The team was inspired by flowers, femininity and fashion, so I wanted to reflect an old Hollywood, glamorous mood with a modern twist for the hair and makeup. For this first look, I created classic, bow-shaped lips using Inglot Lipstick #409.

The eyeliner used was also Inglot!
My trusty, go to jet black gel eyeliner #77 mixed with Inglot's mixing medium: Duraline.
Together, these two create the best jet black, water proof, long lasting, pigmented eyeliner I have ever used. These two products by Inglot were recently voted as
 "The Best Melt-Proof Makeup" in the July 2013 Issue of Vogue India.
 I was a huge fan of Inglot for this story!
To create longer lasting curls, I used Bed Head Masterpiece Massive Shine hair spray before, during and after curling each section of hair with a 1" barrel curler from Hot Tools.
This is my most favorite hair spray EVER; it has the most amazing fragrance and it holds curls for hours.  I then pin curled each section and secured them with bobby pins. I let the curls set for about 45 minutes while doing Marta's makeup.

The Bed Head hairspray holds curls on all hair textures very well. 'Masterpiece' doesn't weigh the hair down and it helps you sculpt the hair through out the day; or in my case, through out the shoot. Marta's natural hair is waist length, so I created an illusion of shorter hair by doing a reverse victory roll on the ends of the hair.
I pinned and tucked her hair for two reasons: 
- To help show the details of the garments better
- To create a more structured, sleek look for the mood of the shoot

The pink lip color was a mix of 5-6 different lipsticks and lip glosses, so I honestly don't remember every product I used. This is the fun part about being an artist, you can mix the colors to your liking until you get the right tone to set the mood. I wanted Marta's lipstick to mimic the flowers surrounding her, so I mixed the lipstick colors I had until I had the exact pink hues as the arrangement on set.
 As soon as Marta dressed Marta in the amazing couture hats by Arturo Rios, I knew I needed to choose a lip color to balance out the colors and the drama of the head piece, yet be fashion forward.

I chose a deep, chocolate lip color called, "Cherry Chocolate" by Bobbi Brown, which looked like cookies and crème next to the wardrobe.

I fell in love with this lip!


Read the interview from the team and view more of this amazing story at the link below!