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Category Archives: Behind the scenes
- Pack as many makeup wipes as you think you’ll need… then triple that. Cotton swabs, too.
- Comfortable. Shoes. I will only say this once.
- Release the model from your chair for a “quick fitting” at your peril. Get a real ETA and then memorize her face so you can find her again. (Get her name, too, but sometimes it will be difficult to pronounce or easily remember so don’t rely on that.) I’m the first to admit that I find models with identical hair and makeup very difficult to tell apart.
- Be sure that the beautiful person who plops down in your chair is actually a model who is actually walking in your show. (At some shows, this will be confirmed for you, but not always.) On my third day of shows, I drew very specific eyes on someone who turned out to be a promotional model. (Fortunately it wasn’t a problem, but if I’d known, I could have saved myself some time!)
- People who have no compelling reason to even be backstage WILL ask you for a makeover or “just a quick touch-up” if they see an empty chair. Make sure you know the difference between the designer making this request (good!) and the friend of a friend of a PR person (less good).
- Related to above: when in doubt, clear it with the key. They’re usually happy to be the bad guy, they’ll actually recognize the VIPs, and it saves you awkward questioning.
- Related to above: there are no stupid questions except the ones you don’t ask but assume you know the answer to.
- Photographers and camera crews can and will go wherever they want, knock shit off your table, and rest their equipment on your shoulders while you work so they can shoot directly up the model’s nose. It’s all part of the fun, but if you’re tight for time, politely insist upon the space you need to get the job done.
- “Don’t masturbate over the makeup.” – Viktorija Bowers, on speeding things up. Backstage makeup is no time for a spa day for models; knock out the big parts of the look and fix what needs fixing, but in a crunch, don’t let perfectionism slow you down.
- The key designed the look and knows what the designer wants to see. Don’t take feedback, edits, or changing your work personally. You’ve already proven yourself by being selected; the rest is details that the key will know much more intimately than you will. (Of course you need to pay attention to the details, but don’t flog yourself over mistakes or requested changes.)
- Don’t apologize when you make the model look away from her smartphone. You need her eyes and chin UP for a goodly portion of the makeup, and she knows that. Don’t let a 17-year-old walk all over you!
- That said, be nice, and be as gentle as you can. Most models are friendly and so poised and professional that you’ll forget they are teenagers/young adults who are routinely poked, prodded, dragged around like props, and have precious little claim to personal space (or modesty). Be respectful.
- Prominently display the sponsor’s products and use them as much as possible – this stuff DOES get photographed. (Keep the “contraband” products off to the side or in unlabeled containers if possible.)
- Many models will be coming directly from another show and will be covered in makeup. See above, re: wipes. But if you’re pressed for time and can work over some of the existing makeup without compromising the end result, go for it.
- Eat, drink water, sit down, and visit the restroom every chance you get (because you won’t get many!)
This shoot was lots of fun – we got to invade a fancy restaurant in New Bedford and shoot multiple outfits from Calico, a local shop. We worked from sunup to sundown! The concept for the makeup was very simple: clean, very bare airbrushed faces (almost no eye makeup at all) with strong contouring and burgundy lips. The editorial will be published in the Summer issue of Turn Magazine, a new online magazine that spotlights emerging talent.
(Check out the stylist’s dog making an appearance – she was a terrific model!)
Photography: Angela Perez
Models: Caroline Reddy & Kim Rydzewski
Hair: Katie Hayes
Styling: Elissa Paquette, Calico
Venue: Cork Wine & Tapas Bar
Yes, men need a little makeup love too when they’re going to be in front of the camera all day – that goes for models appearing in print ads, actors and personalities on TV, as well as everyday-Joe grooms who don’t wish to look like shiny, blotchy messes next to their immaculate new brides! For the most part, makeup for men is a subtle affair – just enough touching up to the skin to make it look smooth and even in photos. Here are some examples from a recent ad campaign I did with Jackson & Connor, a local designer menswear retailer. This was an especially fun shoot because John and Paul, the guys in the pictures, aren’t models – they are local businessmen. I think this was the first time either of them had been made up for photos!
Here’s a little behind-the-scenes glimpse (I’ll bet fellow locals can tell where we are!):
Photos by The Terrible Child; styling by Candice from Jackson & Connor. Check out their store in Thornes! I’ve shopped there before, though (haha) not for myself, and I can highly recommend them – amazing clothes and the owners are incredibly helpful! It was a treat to be able to work with them on this shoot.
This photo was from a group shoot several weeks ago; I meant to post it on Halloween but I was taking Amtrak back from NYC that day so I completely forgot! Anyway, some of the models wanted to try out a little B-movie vampire glam, so this is what I came up with:
…and then everything went STRAIGHT TO HELL!
Models: Manda & Josh
Photography: Lesley Arak
Hair & Makeup: Me
I’ll admit, I was worried that I’d be overwhelmed and exhausted yesterday. I was up (at 6am) to get ready for a 5-person wedding, and then to the city to assist backstage at a Boston Fashion Week event (which wrapped up around midnight!) But when you’re enjoying yourself so much, and working with great people, you tend to forget how long you’ve been on your feet. It was a fabulous day, and the sheer fun of it energized me (and made me forget I’d stashed bottles of 5-Hour Energy in my bag).
The wedding went smoothly, with subtle smoky eyes for the bridesmaids and beautiful 40′s-inspired makeup for the bride (hopefully I’ll have photos to show soon!) Then I picked up friend and fellow artist Karrie Welch to get to Boston, and we managed to arrive quite early to set up.
Our charge: assist the two key artists, Julie and Christy, backstage for the presentation portion of The Emerging Trends – specifically, Karrie and I were responsible for all of the skin prep and airbrush foundation work.
The event was held at the gorgeous Park Plaza Castle, and the backstage area was huge and packed with busy stylists and models in various stages of preparation. We were representing David Paul Salons from Sudbury, MA (near my hometown!), a really talented and enthusiastic group of artists who produced some amazing sculptural work (one of the four presentations in particular was time and talent-intensive):
The looks were very diverse: the first, a delicate, natural look with a bright jeweltone lip to complement the work of jewelry designer Barbara Garwood and clothing by Vennie Caprice:
The second was a vibrant gold and fuchsia eye paired with a nude lip and the dramatic hair shown in progress above (the makeup here is still unfinished, but check out that cotton-candy hair!)
The third, dark smoky eyes at a modern angle with nude lips. And the fourth was intentionally paled-out skin with dramatic winged eyeliner and bright red lips.
There were ten models, and many of them appeared in two of the four presentations, which took place in between runway shows. There was ample time to prep everyone for their first presentations, but there was much less time to change up the hair and makeup for their second stage appearances. By far the most challenging portion of the evening was transitioning two of the models from look #2 to look #4. First, all of the pink and gold makeup had to be removed – so far so good. Then the faces had to be airbrushed to be unnaturally pale. Then, the eyeliner had to be drawn on along with the red lips.
The catch? All of this had to happen while the models’ dramatic, backcombed hair from look #2 was being brushed out, smoothed and arranged into buns on top of their heads!
Since the key artists were busy prepping models for look #3, Karrie and I had to execute the remaining two models for look #4. It was really challenging because the models were getting their hair pulled (sometimes painfully – no one said being a model was easy) and couldn’t hold their heads still – normally a requirement to do eye and lip liner! (Imagine trying to line your eyes while sitting in the back of a Jeep bouncing along on a rocky country road.) I steadied my hand (and her head) as best as I could and angled the liner so it wouldn’t poke her in the eye. I’m sure our resulting looks could have been more symmetrical and fully developed, but they passed muster with the lead artists just in time for the models’ return to stage. Here’s the model I made up:
At the end of the night, everyone was invited onto the stage for a round of applause, so I actually got to step out onto a runway. Definitely something I never envisioned happening when I was a shy tomboy back in high school. (Props to the models for managing to walk smoothly on stage; when I was facing front I couldn’t see a thing because of all the lights! At least I didn’t blunder off the edge or something.)
All in all, it was a fantastic day, and I owe it to Christy Lavallee (for bringing me on board) and Karrie (for being a fantastic fellow assistant) – we managed to get everything done and turned out some great faces in the process. Not bad for three gals who are new to runway! Here we are, left to right: yours truly, Karrie, and Christy:
I also shot a little video of our prep area during a bit of downtime between models (believe me, before I so much as touched my camera I checked around to see if there was anything useful I could do!) – check it out here.
Hard work, but so. much. fun!
What did we ever do before Facebook?!? I saw some photos surface from a just-for-fun shoot I did awhile back with some friends of mine, and I thought it would make a nice post because I think I like the behind-the scenes images from that shoot best of all:
That’s Onawa on the left and Kimberly on the right. If I remember correctly, the white necklace that Onawa is wearing ended up on Kim more than once throughout the day. I’m pretty sure I snapped the second photo, but I don’t know who took the first one.
(Amusingly, that was not the first time I took pictures of Onawa. At least this time the ACTUAL photographer was indeed present, but the first time – very early on in my portfolio-building efforts – I booked a test shoot with a fauxtographer in Holyoke who didn’t show up AND didn’t answer her phone! So I ended up taking photos myself, including one that I still use:)
Saturday’s group shoot at FNS Studios was amazing – so much talent and plenty of opportunities to try new things! I got to work with Karrie Welch and David Schumann, so there was an awful lot of talent packed into the beauty/prep area, which was also delightfully strewn with clothes and shoes and cupcakes. (Yes, there were cupcakes. Fashion, beautiful models, and cupcakes. I know, I kind of envy myself sometimes!)
Here’s an in-progress smoky eye on model Emily Therese, one of several looks she wore throughout the day:
(Once in a rare while a small percentage of yours truly ends up in a picture – I’m just glad I’d thought to do my nails! That’s OPI Hey! Get in Lime. Yes, I’m 32 and wear bizarre nail polish colors. At least on the weekend.)
I always enjoy working with Freya, and photographer Kris Atendido captured her ethereal beauty perfectly!
This shoot was great fun, if my dorky giggling is any indication…
Saturday at LensProToGo was so much fun! I rarely have the opportunity to work with other makeup artists and it was so inspiring to see their work (and always fun to talk shop and gawk at each other’s kits). The event was an educational opportunity for local photographers; naturally I didn’t see any of the lessons because I was backstage (well, in the kitchen) getting the models made up, but it must have been good because it sold out and there was a waiting list!
When I was between looks, I took the opportunity to walk through the cavernous warehouse studio space and see the photographers and models in action: