Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I split my childhood in two different areas of Vermont; in a little town near Waitsfield, near Sugarbush ski resort, as well as Norwich along the Connecticut River. Needless to say, makeup is not a big part of Vermont life. I think the extent of mine was a Wet-N-Wild eyeliner (in royal blue!) and Silver City Pink lipstick. I went to an all-girls boarding school for high school and my makeup routine was reduced to Blistex! College was at the University of Colorado when I upgraded to one singular M.A.C lipstick to go with my Patagonia fleece jacket. It's really a wonder that I live in New York City and make a living doing what I do.
How did you first become interested in makeup, and what led you to become a makeup artist and makeup consultant?
I was always fascinated and intrigued by the makeup counters, but mostly for the many, many colors on display. Especially when the (then) boutique lines started popping up: Trish McEvoy, NARS, Bobbi Brown, etc. Those lines made professional makeup and the tools available to the mainstream and visiting the counters was like a trip to the candy store. But I was also always sensitive to colors. I continuously notice the colors around me and it can greatly affect my state of mind in a restaurant, a home, a hotel. So I guess it was a good, natural way to play with color and tap into my creative side. I was living in Los Angeles and being a bit of a dilettante, jumping from odd job to odd job and a friend of mine was a national for Stila (back when it was still small). She got to travel and play with makeup all day. I thought, "Wow, maybe I could do that!" But I really learned it all right there at the counter. I moved to NYC and got a job at Saks and it was insane. There are days when you just do back-to-back makeup for eight hours straight. You can't help but learn a lot. On slow days my friends and I would just yap and yap about makeup, trying new combinations and playing with them.
What inspired you to start your company?
After working behind the makeup counters for a couple of years in both L.A. and NYC I knew it was not for me. There was a tremendous pressure to sell and it wasn't conducive to my personality and independent spirit. I really just came up with the idea -- why not shop with the client one-on-one and get paid to tell the truth about the products that I love? No selling, just makeup and shopping and my unbiased opinion. I sat down with a notepad and came up with the basic structure of the services offered, thought of a name, got some business cards. I received some juicy press and attention right out of the gate and Cheek to Chic was official I've been lucky enough to make my living with my business ever since!
What are some of the highlights you've experienced in your career?
Lately I've been working with some much bigger corporations, giving seminars to groups about how to apply makeup. It's really fun working on that level. Sometimes I get a really fun job to make a bunch of models look a certain way for a corporate event. I love those, and now that my business is pretty big I have the means to staff it as well. Being a guest on Extreme Makeup was a hoot as well. I need to mix up the jobs or I get bored.
What are the products and brands you simply can't live without?
The hall of fame-ers!!! That's always a hard one. But I think these guys knocked it out of the park...
NARS Baby Doll Lip Lacquer
Sue Devitt blush in Belize
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
Cle de Peau concealer
Dior Diorshow Mascara
What is your absolute favorite place to take clients shopping, and why?
The beauty and fashion mecca -- Barneys! I love the vibe there. No one takes themselves too seriously and i can have some breathing room. They have a great selection of products, a fun apothecary for scented goodies. The people that I work with are great to my clients and it just feels really comfortable.
What is the most rewarding part of what you do?
I love it when a woman comes to me feeling fed up and overwhelmed with the whole makeup thing and I'm able to give her some simple instructions to help her along. When she looks in the mirror and sees a beautiful face, her whole body language changes and she has a new skip in her step. That's a nice feeling.
What are your top 3 makeup tips?
1) Take care of your skin! Once the skin is even, the rest is icing on the cake.
2) When picking out a blush don't be afraid to go bright, brighter than you would think.
3) Even out your eyelid with a primer or brightener. That is always a step where women are wowed. It looks like you got a great night's sleep.
Playing with makeup must be fun -- but what are some things you do for fun outside of being a makeup artist and consultant?
I am obsessed with interiors and am constantly updating my apartment. If I could, I would redecorate every week! I spend a lot of time in Central Park with my dog. And I also absolutely love to eat. I keep a running list of my newly discovered restaurants on foodistcolony.com and try and knock them off as much as possible!
Thank you so much to Raychel Wade for this fantastic interview. Be sure to check out Cheek to Chic -- and have fun with her at the makeup counters!