As a make-up artist, I get close, both figuratively and literally, to women. When I’m not gilding a genetically privileged model or a radiant young bride, I work with women who come to me to design a beauty routine that will serve them well every day.
There was a time when I could be creative and adventurous with my own make-up. My 20’s were spent as a professional rock singer and I had to fix myself up each night to go on stage. I was challenged by a truly awful complexion; I had struggled with acne since adolescence and most of my application time, about an hour, was spent painstakingly covering blemishes on my face and neck.
I must have had some raw talent and ingenuity, because I discovered –without any assistance from YouTube or The Google–how to cover my acne effectively and in such a way that it would last through three hours of jumping up and down on stage. I also figured out how to make my eye make-up bullet proof.
I moved to New York City in the mid-80’s to further my music career. In 1990 my late, great ex-mother-in-law asked me what I’d like to do with myself. I mentioned that I was “good with make-up,” and what seemed like the next day, she called and said that she had just had a makeover with a woman who was looking for an assistant. That woman was make-up artist was Laura Geller, of QVC fame. I labored briefly behind Laura’s counter, then freelanced for her and another cosmetic success story, Kimara Ahnert, for the next 14 years. And yes, I’ve worked with famous people.
At that same time I completed my undergraduate degree in Religion from Hunter College in New York City with a 4.0 grade point average. I was Valedictorian and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in my junior year. I went on to earn a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. So that was cool.
In 2005, I hung up my make-up brushes when the job I had in a large, Godless, not-for-profit organization became too burdensome to commit to extra work on weekends. Being fired in 2007 confirmed that I was unfit for corporate life and neurotic bosses. Now I’m my own neurotic boss, but at least I’m a known quantity.
I have a makeup studio in Philadelphia and in 2019, I founded the Paint School of Makeup. In preparation to claim legitimacy regarding the latter, I became licensed as an esthetician in 2017, but don’t ask me to give you a bikini wax. Bikini waxes are neither fun to give or to receive.
I don’t love make-up. I love my clients, and have an abiding compassion for women who face the aging process in a world where youthful beauty rules.