In 2002, just three months before I began college, I decided it would be a good idea to get a summer job selling makeup at my local department store. I knew almost nothing about how to apply it but came armed with a copy of “Making Faces” by Kevyn Aucoin. Friends would come by so I could try to duplicate Kevyn’s transformations with overly ambitious naivety, and a great sense of excitement. I carried the book to work every single day as I though I’d discovered the world’s greatest playbook written by the world’s most charming coach.
Immediately, the constant streaks of lipstick, mascara and at least three near randomly guessed shades of foundation on the back of my hand alluded to long forgotten images of my childhood hands, eternally stained with Crayola markers and chalk pastels. Fortunately, I was a quick study and I improved. Summer job would return as holiday job, then again after each semester.
Fast forward to February 12, 2010. I’m in my early late 20’s and making a living as a freelance makeup artist in New York City. Between working with glamorous celebrities, fidgety models, being interviewed by top publications and even Access Hollywood, prepping clients for early morning shows, organizing photo shoots, and using body paint to make gogo boys glow in the dark, I’ve often said, “I do a bit of everything.” Until today, one particular milestone was yet to be reached. Bryant Park.
I used to work at Lord & Taylor on 5th Avenue, and would eat my sandwiches from Pret-A-Manager sitting on the grass in Bryant Park, displaced only by rain or Fashion Week. Having only previously done fashion shows off-site, today marked a special occasion as I backed up key makeup artists Scott Patric and Deborah Altizio with the rest of the amazing team for the finale of “Project Runway” and my first ever show inside the tents at Bryant Park for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York.
Today’s milestone seems the perfect opportunity to launch my blog. Expect makeup tips and product recommendations, but also anecdotes from my life of running around Manhattan with my makeup kit as well as and posts on beauty icons, events not to be missed, and places to visit that stir the creative spirit. You’ll know where to go and what to wear! Stay tuned and I’ll help you cast aside cumbersome rules on beauty so you’ll know how to wear light on your eyes and your heart on your sleeve.
Tonight, I think about how much has happened during my career to this point and reflect on how a path I never expected to embark upon has taught me about art, passion, insecurity, ego, love, loss, solitude, grace, gratitude, and the thrills of a vibrant life in color.
As seasoned designers, editors, and makeup artists take their last looks around Bryant Park, knowing that the Spring 2011 shows will begin a new era at Lincoln Center, I start heading out of the tent in time for another gig, thinking about how my relationship with Bryant Park has finally come full circle. Suddenly, I notice a photo of Kevyn Aucoin, hanging on the wall just above my head.
Andrew Sotomayor is a celebrity makeup artist in New York. He has worked with Juliette Binoche, Kerry Washington, and Rose Byrne and appeared on Access Hollywood. He is a My Fashion Plate Trendsetter. See his work at DramaFreeMakeup.com.