Monday, November 13, 2017

A Journal of my Work So I Remember When I Get Old

 (Polaroid photo of makeup I did for a Drag Party on one of my forever muses)

When I was younger I kept a diary, a journal and always wrote about my daily occurrences; what was important to me at that point of my life, what I didn't dare voice to any other being, not even my mom. Like when I got my feelings hurt by someone, or my fears. As I got older, I started writing about things I wanted to do in the future, goals, setting smaller goals to achieve bigger goals. I have kept this type of tradition with myself but now I don't always write in a diary and although I always try to use a pen and paper, I more often than not find myself typing in stuff on my notes.

I just wanted to take some time and although I have said this numerous times before, really start taking the time to blog again. Blogging, like the writing part of it has died down and people tend to do more of the vlogging, or curated IG posts, Pinterest boards, the new wave of things. Not sure that anyone even reads this but I want to do this for the maybe one or two readers I might have but most importantly for myself.

The past two years have been incredible for me in regards to growth both on a personal level and in my career too. I initially wanted to be a fashion makeup artist but I soon realized that the universe was pulling me more towards television and commercials. The best thing to do for me, is to go with the flow of things. So that is what I have done and although I don't spend as much time working on my book, I do get the chance to do an editorial or beauty story here and there. I had set out the goal for this year to work on my book and I have done more shoots than I have in the past couple of years prior but need to do more.

In the weeks to come I will be doing recaps of special moments of 2016 and 2017. The most incredible ones I can think of off the top of my head are:

* Working with my favorite band ever Tegan and Sara for their White Knuckles music video
(This is like a Bey fan doing makeup on Beyonce...just wanted to clarify how big this was to me)
* Traveling for the past two and half years to Europe for show seasons and meeting incredible people
* Assisting artists I admire and respect backstage in Milan & Paris
* Doing shoots in Milan & Paris and obtaining clients overseas
* Was able to work on a Major film out in 2018
* Grew my artist client base

All of these things are great and although I am vague with the things I have been doing this year, I am most thankful for being able to go back home to California and see my mom and babies (dogs Coco and Amber) and also attend my younger brother's wedding in the Central Coast with someone he loves.

As freelancers, we are constantly on the hunt for what's next, the following project, the upcoming goal to reach and so forth... that we really forget to take the time to take care of ourselves, those we love and what really matters in life. Yes, yes, we all want to live, breathe, sleep, eat fashion, makeup etc, but at the end of the day, at the end of our life, what will be remembered is who we were, how we treated others, basically our soul, our legacy.

My all time icon was and will always be the late Kevyn Aucoin, and although he was far ahead of his time and setting trends for decades to come, we have to also thank him for putting makeup artists at the forefront of the media and recognizing artists as an integral part of the celebrity package and taking artists from the backstage to the fore front. However, whenever anyone talks about Kevyn, the talent he possessed is inarguably what he was known for the most but equally as important was his character. Anyone ever asked about how it was to work with Kevyn always talks about how he was pure love, a joy to be around and everyone adored him as an individual. Beyond his artistry and legacy as a master face painter he was beloved and made everyone he blessed with his touch feel great, from the inside out.

This has been a challenge for me since I have a very serious character and way of being. I am not bubbly nor extremely loving when I speak or interact with people but through my respect and sincere care for others I have managed to maintain wonderful work relationships with clients and photographers as well as other colleagues that continuously refer me to potential clients or have me cover for them on their regular clients. That trust is gold to me. Thank you everyone. Thank you for walking on this journey with me and for taking me along as well. I want to thank myself for not changing who I am and knowing that although I am introverted and I struggle to be comfortable in over the top environments, I am making it work all while being myself, always.

This week I will attend a documentary screening of Kevyn Aucoin here in NYC. I was personally invited by the KA Beauty team and I am very excited and emotional about attending this event. I will keep you updated on the event.

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?

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

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 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?

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 

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