‘I used to put pictures up on a cork board during Fashion Week because I wanted to work it. Now, I’ve done over 20 seasons of Fashion Week.’
“I’ve been a makeup artist for almost 20 years. I didn’t think I was going to end up in the makeup industry, but I fell in love with it. I actually wasn’t allowed to wear makeup when I was younger. I would hide this glossy lipstick in my school locker and put it on when I got to school. Before I went home, I made sure to wipe it off.
“I became really interested in makeup once I got to college, and then I always ended up doing makeup on friends and family. I came back to Long Island after graduating college and got a job at a makeup counter at a local mall. Then, I got a full-time position not related to makeup. I was working seven days a week – my full-time position and makeup on the side. I was freelancing with clients and then ended up getting my master’s in art therapy.
“At night and on weekends, I would build my portfolio by working with private clients and bridal, as well as freelancing for MAC [Cosmetics]. Somehow, I was able to do everything. I loved it, so I didn’t mind. Eventually, an agency approached me. I had to make a decision if I was going to leave the cushy 9-to-5 and go fully into the freelance world. I chose freelance, and I never looked back. It was one of the scariest decisions I made, but I have been able to do so much within the makeup industry.
“Fast forward, and I’m now in a union and have worked with so many people and in various departments, like film and television. Makeup has always called to me. I used to put pictures up on a cork board during Fashion Week because I wanted to work it. Now, I’ve done over 20 seasons of Fashion Week. It’s been wild. You never know who’s going to sit in your chair. Makeup is so much more than just products. It’s not just lipstick or mascara. Every artist is different, but my focus is with my clients. I want to know what they love about themselves and to help pull those features out. If they’re in front of a camera especially, then they want to feel comfortable and feel like the best versions of themselves. I’ve had celebrities and models tell me parts of themselves that they don’t like, so I talk them through the makeup process and help make them feel as powerful and beautiful as they really are.”
The only thing that got me out of bed was my job of being a makeup artist.
“About 10 years ago, I went through a really bad breakup. I had been with the person for almost six years. I thought we were going to get married. The breakup came out of nowhere. I was devastated. I didn’t want to leave my apartment. I didn’t want to go anywhere. The only thing that got me out of bed was my job of being a makeup artist. Applying makeup on others and seeing how it transformed them and brought out the best versions of them was inspirational. I knew there was a power in makeup. It’s literally our form of art. It’s our outlet and how we express ourselves.
“I was doing a lot of sleeping at that time. Looking back, I was depressed. I woke up and had a random saying in my head: ‘Love raised me, lipstick saved me.’ I had no idea where it came from, but it was the beginning of my brand, Breakups to Makeup, which are beauty accessories with quotes on them. The whole premise behind my brand is to spread empowerment and inspiration to others who are in a dark palace. The quotes are fun and quirky and really describe what I was going through at that time. I thought of the makeup clutches because I wanted something a bit different. At the time, Instagram only let you post square images and I wanted my product and content to fit into that square.
“As a makeup artist, we always use clear bags so we can easily see our makeup. I wanted to create a clear bag that was cuter than a Ziploc one and deep enough to fit a lot of products, but in a fun way. I started with these makeup clutches, and now there’s apparel, too. We’ve been in Walmart, QVC, Sephora. I’ve expanded the brand and have educational courses and a podcast now. My goal is to really talk about life and to show others they are not alone. There’s a community that can relate to what you’re going through. Makeup is all that to me.
“It’s been amazing, and this all started from a breakup. I felt so alone. Even though I had my friends to hang out with, as soon as I got home and into bed, that’s when I felt very lonely. I want to make sure that others know they are not alone, and I want to help them in the best way I know how – with makeup.”