Famous last words…because, like if a D-List celebrity, if you have to ask that question, no, people don’t know who you are. So here I am sitting in front of my computer and attempting to answer that question. An introduction of sorts. A resume’. A walk down memory lane…
A lot of you just know me as ‘that crazy makeup artist I follow on Facebook’. And that alone floors me- whenever I get ‘recognized’ when I hand someone my card, I am always astounded that anyone has ever even heard of me. I haven’t won any Oscars or been on any reality shows. So how did I get here, with people asking or BEGGING me to write a blog? I’ll get there, but first, just the facts, ma’am.
Some of my first memories are of doing makeup. My mother, always a very glamorous woman, used to teach as a makeup artist for Barbazon in the 70’s- if you’re under 35, you’ll need to google that ‘ish. But during that period, she also sold makeup for Mary Kay. As a child, I was never allowed to have Barbies – only ‘creative’ toys in our house- mounds of construction paper, crayons, crafty stuff. I can’t even venture to guess how many pairs of Wonder Woman wrist cuffs I must have fashioned for myself back then. So when she stopped working for Mary Kay, her makeup kit became my toy. I still have the most vivid memories of those shiny pink cases, and the exact SMELL of a Mary Kay foundation. I would spend my days in the basement (or the ‘rumpus room’, as we called them back then), painting my face for hours, listening to my record player, with “Saturday Night Fever” and the Broadway cast recording of “Annie” on heavy rotation. At that moment, true love was born- I wasn’t a kid in a basement on the West Side, I was a STAR! I could put makeup on my face and become the most beautiful woman in the world! And it didn’t hurt to make me feel girly, considering that back then my haircuts were given to me in the garage, so I kinda looked like a boy, but alas, I digress….
Fast forward a few years- as you can imagine, I grew up with quite the imagination. Anything creative, where I was the center of attention, I was doing it: musical theater, acting, singing in choir, playing the drums,etc. But at some point you graduate high school and you have to star doing weird adult thing, like pay bills. Although I was accepted into the musical theater program at a college, I opted out. I mean really, what was a girl from Ohio going to do with a degree in Musical Theater?
At some point in the early 90’s, I was given my first Kevyn Aucoin book, and I took my lead from there. Kevyn’s work was mind-blowing, transformative, and so inspirational. I knew that if I could be .00000001% of the makeup artist he was, I would be happy.
So I took my very first job at a makeup counter for Prescriptives, and that’s where it all started. I owe so much to that company for teaching me color theory, hard core and right out of the gate, custom blending people’s foundations. And I LOVED it- well, part of it, anyway. I loved interacting with women, doing their makeup, and making them feel good about themselves. It’s funny that a little bit of mascara and some blush can do that to us. All told, I ended up working for Prescriptives, Clinique and MAC before I ended up moving to Los Angeles to chase my dream.
At 26, I decided to run off and join the Navy, but we’ll tackle that another day. But hey- it got me stationed in SoCal, so I went for it.
Los Angeles was a lot of things that I had never even imagined possible. I attended and graduated with honors from Makeup Designory, aka, the “Harvard of Makeup”, where I studied beauty and character makeup. I worked on movie sets, music videos, and runway shows with designers I had only seen in Vogue. I pounded the pavement, building my portfolio, paying my dues, and worked under some other really amazing MUAs. I basked in the amazing weather, and even ended up teaching my OWN makeup classes. I hung out with celebs and did their makeup, and lounged by the pool drinking $15 cocktails at the infamous Roosevelt Hotel. Hell, getting run over by Lindsey Lohan on one of her drunken rampages was a real possibility on any given day.
But with all of the things Los Angeles was, it wasn’t home. I missed my mommy. I missed my friends. So two years ago I decided to move back to Cincinnati. And I haven’t regretted it one bit. Life is just easier here. I have all of my old friends around me. I have the support of my family, and Cincinnati has come a long way since I left t so many years ago. I sold my Hollywood Mercedes and bought my Jeep. I also have a rent payment that is under $1200.
So here I now sit, happier than ever with my life. Is it as ‘glamorous’ as L.A.? Maybe not. But in reality, I would prefer to do makeup on a gorgeous bride on her wedding day and feel that love and appreciation, do a creative shoot for a magazine, or teach a makeup lesson to a woman that just wants to feel more confident in herself. I feel appreciated. I feel fortunate. I LOVE my job. It’s funny how a little bit of mascara and some blush can do that for us…