Saturday, August 13, 2016

Pro Makeup Artists' Advice on How to Take Your Career to the Next Level

In a digital world filled with self-proclaimed makeup artists, beauty gurus and insta-artists, so many aspiring makeup artists are confused as to whom to turn to for advice as to what to do to take their makeup career to the next level. I give credit to the online personalities making videos teaching makeup enthusiasts how they execute their makeup on themselves. Those videos can be fun and many definitely provide great tips, not to mention how much time and editing go into making them.

However, if you want to be a true working artist or take your career to the next level, the best thing to do is heed the advice of those who do it full time. Working makeup artists are extremely hard workers and the constant hustle of freelancing is not for the faint of heart. There is so much more involved than the glamour and fun that is shown on social media outlets. Being a full time freelance makeup artist requires a lot more than a full artillery of cosmetic products. What can you do to take your makeup career to the next level? What can you do if you feel stuck in a makeup rut?

I asked some of my makeup artist friends that have years of experience as full time freelance makeup artists. They live in NYC, one of the most expensive cities in the world, and sustain themselves economically only via makeup work income. These are the artists you can become a sponge with and absorb all of the invaluable information they share with you in regards to what helped them grow as artists  and what steps to take to elevate your career and take it to the next level.

All of the artists that shared their advice with me for this blog post maintain busy in a highly competitive industry, all have great reputations and work in various facets of the makeup industry. These are the working makeup artists, aspiring makeup artists should strive to be like. They are the ones who work internationally for fashion shows, on big movie sets, television shows, travel around the world learning and teaching beauty as well as with celebrities and those in the music industry.


Chris Milone
Union & Fashion Makeup Artist

Me: What advice would you give makeup artists wanting to take their career to the next level?

Chris:
Never stop learning! Try new products, rotate your kit every so often. Have a favorite product you can't leave home without, challenge yourself and get rid of it, give it away. Never get too comfortable. Always keep things fresh, I guaranty your artistry will improve, and you will become a more confident artist. Never take "NO" for an answer, when one door closes another is always waiting to be opened. I'll say it again: always challenge yourself. I'll tell a short story I'm sure you have heard before. A poor man went to church everyday and prayed to a statue, "please let me win the lottery, please let me win the lottery", for months he would go and pray until out of frustration the statue comes to life and says: "my son, buy a ticket!" Your goals require action. Just go for it!

(Chris is an avid, active member of the Local 798 Union as a makeup artist, works side by side on some of the most well respected fashion makeup artists for fashion week, has had his work published on an international level and manages to juggle both television & fashion work, earning respect in both facets of the artistry).


Global Beauty Expert & Founder of AroundTheWorldBeauty.com



Me: What advice would you give makeup artists wanting to take their career to the next level?

Stephanie: My advice to makeup artists wanting to take their career to the next level is: be excited. People like to be around people who are passionate, driven, and are excited about whats to come. Your career can only take you as far as you can imagine.. think big..make a difference everyday and most importantly, be inspired by who you are becoming. That next level is all about how far you can see yourself going. It's not just makeup, its your best life this time around. Work hard, be on time, be always in gratitude, and most importantly dream bigger than what you think is possible.

(Stephanie is an agency represented makeup artist who is also the founder of AroundTheWorldBeauty.com where she travels all over the world learning the beauty secrets from all over the globe. She is also a Clinique Color Pro artist)


Makeup Artist

Me: Me: What advice would you give makeup artists wanting to take their career to the next level?

Tracy: If you are thinking about taking your makeup career to the next step; whatever that step that may be- remember this, it's very simple. Stay humble. Stay aware. Try and keep your ego out of it.
Don't burn bridges with people you may feel you are superior to. You don't know what they have done to get where they are and you don't know what they can do in the future to help you get to your next step!
Pay your dues. Nothing with be handed to you, but if handed to you, don't forget where it came from and don't forget where you came from.
Don't get jealous of others' success. Be happy and surround yourself with those people!  I promise it will do more positive for you in the future.
Don't ever stop learning. Once you think you're the best and you know it all-you just stopped yourself from learning and growing with this everlasting art we are so lucky to be apart of! 

(Tracy has lived and worked in Florida, Los Angeles and NYC. She currently resides in New York city. She is not only a beauty makeup artist but also knowledgeable and trained to do Special Effects and had her start in knowing skin when she attended esthetician school. Tracy has worked with various actors we all admire and respect.)


Union & Agency Makeup Artist & Beauty Educator

Me: What advice would you give makeup artists wanting to take their career to the next level?

Margina:
1) learn to master clean beauty and many variations of it along with really good skin (foundation) work. Learn to make the skin look flawless not cakey. Nailing this will help you in assisting and getting work on your own.
2)  get off of social media and look at credits on advertising jobs, Editorials, tv and films to see who you might want to assist.  Many working artists don't have huge social media following, so do your homework to see who is working on what.
3)  Develop a thick skin; listen and never stop learning or striving to be better.  This industry is ever changing and you must continue to evolve or you will get left behind.

(Margina has over 15 years of experience in various facets of makeup artistry as well as being a beauty educator and guest speaker at international HBA conferences. She has made her stamp while working with an array of celebrities, fashion editorials, advertising and television work.) 

I feel so encouraged when I speak to fellow makeup artists that inspire me on the daily with their dedication to their career, immaculate work ethic, refined talent and passion for art. We can all learn from their advice and I thank them for taking the time to share their tips on how to take the next steps to further  your career. 




Thursday, August 11, 2016

Dewy Skin & Glitter by Leriam Photo


Leriam was one of the first photographers I worked with when I started doing makeup. She was actually the first photographer I did a beauty shoot with an agency model. I work with her a few times a year for a look book, for a client of hers. It's always a pleasure to work with her, but whenever we do a test shoot or an editorial it's always awesome.

I love working with all sorts of teams but I feel that women photographers are severely underrepresented, and there are so many talented ones in the game. Since I am all for women empowerment, it is always super exciting to work with an all female team. Leriam has a vision when she shoots, is a quick shooter and also gives great direction to the team  as well as the model. All of this is great but the cherry on top is that she allows her team to actually collaborate with her and we all vibe off of each other.

For this shoot I used OCC glitters and skin, as well as gloss. For the highlighter I used Pat McGrath Labs in the gold tone.

Credits and images below:

Photographer: Leriam Photo
Model: Amanda Madigan @ MUSE
Nail Artist: Tee for Nails
Makeup: Maria Ortega using OCC Makeup and Pat McGrath Labs
Hair: Maria Ortega using Kevin Murphy











Wednesday, August 10, 2016

"Pretty in Punk" by Nick Eucker for NOI.SE Magazine

I am obsessed with the Ramones. Just about anyone who knows me well, is aware that I wish I could have attended a Ramones concert during their hay day. Hashtag PuNk iS nOt dEaD! I just got back from London a few weeks ago and was living for and absorbing every second I spent in Camden- where the real punk scene still thrives. From mohawks and crazy bright hair color, to the Docs, leather jackets everywhere, studs, band patches, more studs and ripped vests-everywhere you look you will see a punk vibe.

I am always thrilled when anything involves The Clash, Sex Pistols, Crass, The Misfits, Bad Brains or a little Rancid. So when my photographer friend, Nick told me about a shoot that had punk rock vibes I was so with it. 

The thing about fashion is that you can always take inspiration from anything and put a spin on it and interpret it in whichever manner you like. For this shoot, we made her pretty in punk. I had worked with the model Dom before and was excited to be reunited with her. 

Pretty in Punk was a cool shoot and I had fun with the makeup. I had recently returned from Europe when we had the shoot and I was inspired by graphic liner because that was all the rage for many shows during FW 2016 season. Dom the model also had perfect lips so we opted for statement lips to offset her bleached hair and brows. 

When I first started doing makeup I really wanted my work to be in NOI.SE magazine one day. This was something I was finally able to scratch off my list. Many artists gravitate to the indie magazines geared towards creatives. 

Below are the images as well as team credits:

Photographer: Nick Eucker 
Producer: Jaime Ritcher
Model: DOM @ State MGMT NYC
Stylist: Z Schaderova
HMU: Maria Ortega using OCC




Tuesday, August 9, 2016

"STEEL" by Jason Laswell for JUTE Magazine

I showed up to my friend's apartment in Brooklyn a few minutes before the call time. We were going to travel out of the city to a home in the country. It was a chilly day and I was excited to have a day trip out of the city.

When the model showed up she had this dope, black suede jacket with long fringe, vintage of course, as well as an English accent coupled with a semi-raspy voice. The down to earth model was the icing on the cake to working with a chill crew.  I knew it was going to be a smooth and fun day.

We drove out to the shoot location and as soon as I got out of the car I could smell the earth aromas and took deep breaths. I didn't struggle to breathe. My asthma was to be serene throughout the day. Sometimes, you just need out of the city-no yellow cabs, no bright lights or streets filled with locals being annoyed at tourists. Just a mellow day surrounded by trees, green grass and a blue sky with the wind sending a cold breeze across our faces. My favorite type of weather.

The makeup for this shoot was rather simple. A soft brown smokey eye to enhance Emily, the model's blue eyes and a nude lip with rose and brown hues to accentuate her lips. I opted to keep the skin fresh and with minimal foundation and a subtle highlight.

Below are the images from the shoot as well as team credits:

Publication: JUTE Magazine
Model: Emily Steel @ MC2
Photographer: Jason Laswell
Wardrobe Stylist: Hellen Barbieri
Hair: Marcel Dagenais
Makeup: Maria Ortega using Marc Beauty












Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Yahoo Video: Beauty On A Budget


I am a highly introverted person that only becomes a chatterbox with my family and closest of friends. When producer and journalist Jeanie from Yahoo Personal Finance asked if I would like to be part of a video focusing on beauty on a budget I was nervous beyond explanation of words but accepted the opportunity.

The video focuses on 6 Must-Have Drugstore Beauty Products Under $10. It is geared towards women who would like to have quality makeup products that don't break the bank. To prepare for this makeup, I asked all of my fellow pro makeup artists what drugstore products they swear by and carry in their makeup kits.

Although I personally don't carry many drugstore products in my pro kit, I have had the opportunity to work on pro teams for some of the larger named drugstore brands for events, fashion week shows and products launches, therefore allowing me to play with them and apply their cosmetics on the everyday woman.

These are my top drugstore makeup picks:

Moisturizer: Simple Nourishing 24hr Day/Night Cream

Brushes: Real Techniques 2-in-1 case and stand

Foundation: Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Foundation, normal to oily, by Maybelline

Concealer: Face Studio Master Concealer by Maybelline

Finishing powder: Revlon PhotoReady

Bronzer: Ultra-Nourishing Argan Oil Bronzer by Physicians Formula

Powder blush: color: tea rose #08, by Milani


Eyeshadow: “The Nudes” palette by Maybelline

Eyebrow powder: Brow this Way by Rimmel London

Lip liner: Precision Lips, color: soft blush, by Boots No7

Lip gloss: Super Lustrous, color: super natural, by Revlon

Eyeliner: Waterproof Ultra Liner, color: black, by Maybelline

Mascara: Voluminous Carbon Black by L’OrĂ©al Paris


You can read the article on Yahoo! Personal Finance page and also check me out in the video:

6 Must-have Drugstore Beauty Products Under $10

I hope you enjoy watching the video! This was a wonderful experience that pushed me out of my comfort zone and I am so proud of myself for overcoming my fear of public speaking and being in front of the camera. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Forever Young Makeup in a World of Aging Makeup



Take a stroll through the skincare aisles of any Sephora or Department store, you will be overwhelmed with skin care products that cater to preventing any signs of aging. We as a society, seemed to be obsessed with anti-aging and age reversal products, not just resorting to preventative topical measures to avoid it but even succumbing to needles and knives all in the pursuit of looking forever young. That's why its so mind boggling to me to see see teenagers packing on layer upon layers of makeup and over contouring in a non-blended manner as well as inappropriately distorting their face shape and bone structure because they copy what a guru shows them.

When I was a teenager, I looked older than I was. I noticed that my friends would apply what I believed to be a lot of makeup but in comparison to the Instagram/Youtube phenomenon that currently exists among pre-teens and teens, it was very light.

I was part of a shoot recently with a model who was in her twenties. I opted to keep her makeup light, fresh and natural with a soft wash of color on the lids and lips. Don't get me wrong, I love a heavy glam look, it gives me life....but I feel that there is something so ultimately chic about clean, soft makeup. It helps you look healthy and fresh and when you actually do glam it up on special occasions it is more of a noticeable, drastic change. Also, why not look forever young by using makeup to enhance your best features and save the super glam stuff for special occasions?

Model: Sydney Westgate @ Major
Photographer: Melina Tavares
Hair: Andrita Renee
Makeup: Maria Ortega
Manicure: Maria Ortega 






Monday, February 1, 2016

Interview with Couture Manicurist: Kelly B.


Manicurists are not reserved for salons only. I always see them on set, backstage at fashion shows and most celebrities will not dare go on the red carpet without a nice set of nails. Kelly  B. is a Couture Manicurist working in the industry here in NYC or wherever her work takes her upon requests of clients. Her nail work has graced the covers of numerous magazines including Vogue, advertising campaigns and commercials. Throughout the years, she has worked with plenty of celebrities, notable personalities and elite photographers along with  top industry makeup artists as well as established models.

Kelly and I have known each other for some time via social media and we have worked together in the past year. I admire her attention to detail, years of experience and professionalism. She is a highly sought after manicurist in the industry. I always find it intriguing to get to know the individuals behind the art and discover what inspires them and motivates them.  Read along to get to know Kelly B. a little better, she has some good advice applicable to not just manicurists. 


Hometown: Canton, Ohio

Years doing nails:  over 21 years

Years in NYC: 10 years


Have you always had a passion for nails? Yes. I did my friends nails  and  my own  before I was trained in Cosmetology school. I feel I was destined to be a Manicurist. 
Nails found me, I never pursued a career in it at all. I literally would get the supplies that 

were available to me at local stores to paint my nails. I groomed my cuticles with nail 

clippers until I learned to use the correct implements in beauty school. 



Who or what inspires you? I love color & shape. I get inspired from lots of things.


How did you get into the industry? I have a salon background. I became friends with 

a girl who was a celebrity Manicurist but also worked part time in the salon I 

worked at. She would hire me from time to time. From there, I met a few different 

people and did test shoots until the opportunity came for me to get represented. 





Was the competition different when you started than it is now? Yes, there are a lot 

more people doing nails now for shoots. Some do good work others do not. Your 

work has to be good (clean & neat) otherwise why even bother. 


You have done nails since before it became a fad, how have you managed to stay 

afloat amongst the flood of new artists? I believe in sticking to foundational 

principles I learned years ago, which is: to take good care of the nail. Models are 

subject to a lot of torture from people who are not trained properly. I would never 

glue nail tips on with superglue but people do. I know not to ever put anyone’s 

health & wellbeing at risk like that. I stay true to who I am, a high end manicurist 

that takes excellent care of the nail.  



What is your nail technique style that sets you apart? I’m known for shapes, clean, 

beautiful, & well done high-end nails. 


There are tons of nail brands and products out in the market, do you have any 

particular favorites or kit staples?  I love Chanel, Dior, Deborah Lippmann, Zoya, 

CND, & Maxus. These brands are staples in my kit. 


You have worked with plenty of celebrities & notable personalities, who is the most 

fun artist you have worked with thus far? Drew Barrymore is funny & Alyssa Milano 

is a joy to work with. 



Not everything that glitters is gold, and being a freelancer is tough, have you had any 

setbacks or challenges in your career? The biggest challenge is my work schedule. I 

miss a lot of family events & don’t get to see my friends as often as I’d like. Thank 

God I haven’t had any setbacks. Freelance life is tough because you never know your 

schedule in advance, so I can’t make plans until very last minute. My friends 

understand but I still miss our girl time. 


Doing nails in a salon setting is different from being an editorial nail artist, what 

advice would you give to aspiring editorial nail artists? Yes it is. Know your craft, be 

sanitary, & be original. I’m careful not to copy someone’s work. If I’m inspired by 

others work I credit the person who originally did it. 


What has been your most outstanding moment in your career? Seeing my work on a 

billboard for a line I’ve worn for many years, working with iconic writer Toni 

Morrison, & having my work in a few Maybelline commercials. 



Have you set any concrete goals for 2016 and what can we expect from you this 

year? To have another great year, stay tuned... my lips are sealed on some projects. 


What do you think are the keys to success? Being humble, being kind, and always do 

your best work. Never take anything for granted.


Where do you see yourself in ten years from now? Married possibly with children, 

still contributing to the beauty & fashion industry in a huge way.

I can't wait to see what Kelly B. has in store for 2016 and I look forward to her upcoming work. Wishing her a wonderful ten years+  in her career as a Couture Manicurist!!!! I am glad to call her a friend and an inspiration. 

Follow Kelly's journey on Instagram:
@Rockstarnailgrl

Periscope: 
@Rockstarnailgrl

Twitter:
@Rockstarnailgrl
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