Monday, February 16, 2015


VFILES is a youthful, fashion-based online community derived from V Magazine, but this website functions like Pinterest: On, you can share and repost images you like as well as save images in albums on your personal page. For the past 3 seasons, VFILES has held a fashion show contest by picking out four emerging fashion designers from their online community. This year, VFILES held a contest in January 2015 and not only found four new fashion designers, they also chose the makeup artist, the hair stylist, the photographer and the wardrobe stylist to lead the show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week for Fall/Winter 2015.

Thanks to mua Nika Vaughan, she informed me about the contest and I jumped on it right away. I submitted 12 of my favorite images and hoped for the best. About a week later, I received a message from the VFiles Founder asking if I was available and interested for their show on February 11th, I said "YES!"

Next Day, VFILES posted this image on instagram and announced the winners for the Fall/Winter 2015 contest:

Then Dazed and Confused Magazine posted this image with my bio:

I was beyond excited! 
I had no idea what I was going to get myself into but I felt like I was ready for anything. I sent them a few images of ideas I had for each designer to work with their Fall wardrobe. After a dozen email exchanges, we came down to a few looks that I could re-create with Aveda for the makeup and hair test run. 

The winning image VFILES chose was created with photographer 10photos, so he also came with me to New York. 

Soon as we landed in NYC, I needed to head straight to the VFiles office to start the makeup tests. The most difficult makeup idea I had was for Discount Universe, their collection was the most colorful and I wanted the makeup to reflect their aesthetic.

V Magazine's head makeup artist, James Kaliardos, jumped in and gave me guidance right away. He has worked with Nikki Minaj, Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Vogue Japan; he has numerous amazing clients. James reminded me that the Vfiles team had to complete hair, makeup, nails and fittings for 75 models within two hours as well as quickly demo all four looks to the team of Aveda. 

I thought to myself two hours?!?! 

But then I remembered the times I assisted other artists and yes, two hours sounded about right for fashion week; so that changed EVERYthing. I had to tone down all of my ideas in order to stay within the time frame. 

One of Aveda's lead makeup artists, Eva Van Anglen, jumped in right away and gave me a brief product review of Aveda's makeup. Aveda is an all natural, plant based makeup line; we were a bit limited in color choices and texture ideas I originally mapped out, but after I 
re-created the makeup ideas, we made it work for all four designers. 

For Discount Universe, the hair was an 80's inspired Mullet, so I went from having super pink cheeks and green brows to a dark blue smokey cat eye inspired by 80's Queen Debbie Harry. After speaking with the VFILES fashion directors, Aveda, and fashion designers, I had to tone the makeup down even more.

This was the final look for Julia Seemann, Andrea Jiapei Li, Ximon Lee & Discount Universe:

White eyeliner, Bleached brows, Nude Glossy lips

Smokey cat eye, contoured cheeks, glossy neutral lips

Glossy skin, glossy eyes, highlighted inner corners, glossy lips

Matte Skin, Dark Brows

February 11th, 2015

Photo by 10Photos

The day of the show, I was pumped up yet SUPER nervous. I usually NEVER get nervous for anything related to makeup, but I had a whole team to demo in a short time frame and I was still very unsure about the look for Discount Universe. The looks that were approved by the VFILES staff I was not 100% happy with because the looks were not my original ideas, but I had to keep in mind that the show was not about the makeup, it had to blend in with everyone else's talents on board to be cohesive for the show.

Soon as I walked into Lincoln Center, Eva Anglen and Janell Geason (the Global Artist Director for Aveda) went above and beyond to really help me. Eva divided the artists into four teams for each designer; she demonstrated the looks to all the artists for each designer before hand; that took a HUGE load off my shoulders and it allowed us a little more time to prep the models. After every model was complete or close to complete, I checked on the models faces and gave my input to each makeup artist to make sure the makeup looks unison from face to face.

Photo by Xeung Lee

At the very last half hour, the Vfiles team let me know the makeup needed to be bolder for Discount Universe so it reads better on the runway. After briefing with Eva, we ended up adding black glitter and a hot pink lipliner called "Cactus Blossom" to pop on the runway. After I saw glitter flying everywhere, I was no longer nervous. 
Glitter solves everything!

Here are a few more photos and video from the show

Designer: Andrea Jiapei Lei

Designer: Discount Universe

 Designer: Ximon Lee

Designer: Julia Seemann

Discount Universe on

VFiles on

Julia Seemann on

VFiles on The Daily Front Row

I really thank VFILES for giving emerging artists a chance to shine, this show was a huge learning experience and I now understand how everything works at Fashion Week from both assisting and leading in makeup. It truly takes a team to get things done properly. I originally thought things would be difficult and I would have to do a lot on my own, but Aveda was so incredibly helpful and made things much easier than I expected. This experience makes me realize just how much lead artists go through; I absolutely have no regrets after learning there are so many dimensions to consider when putting on a show.

Thank you so much VFILES!


  1. Andrea, I find your blog postings refreshingly well written and interesting. You draw me in and hold my attention from beginning to end. Today you showcased your stressful moments, your excitement, and your ability to remain humble and thankful throughout that wonderful VFiles journey. I also watched the VFiles runway fashion show and enjoyed it tremendously. Loved the fashion, the make up, the hair, and the young models. Everything was spectacular. Kudos to VFiles, Aveda, you, and all participants for an amazingly impressive event! -Tailor Linn

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog! I love and appreciate your kind words :-)

  2. I cannot even express how proud and excited I am for you as you embark on this amazing new chapter in your life. You truly are one of the most genuine, talented, and inspiring people I know and I'm so happy for you and all your sucess. Keeping killing it! ❤️

    1. Jennifer!!! I love you and thank you so much for believing in me!! <3