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Oscars Week: Precious: Gabourey is a True Gem, Mo’Nique is Crazy in Love, and Gorgeous Drama Free Red Carpet Makeup for Women of Color

Six Academy Award Nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress Gabourey Sidibe and Best Supporting Actress Mo’Nique



In casting Gabourey Sidibe for the title role of Precious, director Lee Daniels found a diamond in the rough. Her first film has already earned her ten awards including the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture. She has been nominated with sixteen others including Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Best Actress in a motion picture.


Gabourey makes her acting debut in Precious, but for this former psychology student, performing is in her blood. Her mother, Alice Tan Ridley supported her daughters by teaching special education and singing gospel. I’ve often seen her performing in the NYC subways as part of the MTA’s Music Under New York program. Huge crowds gather and several trains pass before some visitors will carry on. While my favorite renditions of hers are available on YouTube including “I Will Survive” and Alicia Key’s signature “Fallin”, but she’s also performed above ground and off-broadway in Goddessdance. Transcendental is the simplest word to describe her performance of the show’s ballad “Spread Your Wings.”



In spite of the heavy subject matter, the cast of Precious has been having a great time promoting the film. Gabourey has looked consistently stunning on the red carpet and head turningly ethereal on the cover of V Magazine. While Vanity Fair dropped the ball by not featuring this bodacious beauty on the cover of the its Young Hollywood issue,  Ebony snapped her up and flip curls have never looked better.


Gabourey appeared as a dancing delight on the Ellen Degeneris Show (pre-choreographed by her roommate) as did Mo’Nique who talked about how scripts like this require you to leave work at work. Speaking of dancing though, did you see Mo’Nique and her fierce troupe of plus size backups dancing “Crazy in Love” at the 2004 BET Awards, much to the delight of Beyonce? Either way, click here to watch. After bringing down the house, she deservedly patted herself on the back and in the spirit of her achingly witty, fashion forward, big is beautiful love letter, the 2006 film Phat Girlz, Mo’Nique cheekily shouted “I know the skinny video girls, you all real nervous right now.” If anyone is gunning for the role of most joyful entertainer on stage, sorry, the position has been filled.


It took several views of the Precious trailer to recognize Mo’Nique as her character Mary Lee Johnston. Her transformation for Precious was reminiscent of Charlize Theron’s for Monster in 2003, but has since returned to her usual full on glamorous self, often by the hand of makeup master Sam Fine, seen below. Visit to read the interview with Sam.



If you’re rooting for Precious at your Oscars party this Sunday, you’ll love this look picked out by stylist Sara Mitzner. Sara recommends this gold houndstooth dress available on “The movie Precious was set in 1987 in Harlem, New York so I chose a Corey Lynn Carter dress that had a bold print with a kicked up 80’s vibe, though the classic wrap style keeps it sophisticated.” She also notes the bright yellow hue which is frequently noted as Precious’s favorite color.


Hair would look great with flip curls like Gabourey’s or pulled back in a bun like Mo’Nique’s. Either way, flaunt this fun headband by! “Precious is a true 80s fashionista who always matches her headband to her look.”


Dressed flawlessly, you’ll need the perfect makeup look. I’m a huge fan of the  Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancers  (especially for women of color) which I used many times on Kerry Washington. Applied with a sponge, they deliver beautiful coverage applied just under the eyes or even all over. Illamasqua also has an amazing selection of cream foundations in the darker range. To warm your skin, reach for one of the bronzers from the CoverGirl Queen Collection Bronzer in Ebony Bronze and in honor of New York Native Sidibe, proudly wear a Herald Square mineral blush by DEX or one of the other shades, all named after Manhattan neighborhoods.



Wash a gold shadow over the whole lid and use a liner brush to trace the Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Liner in Midnight Black going past your lash line and slightly upwards. Add a pair of Shu Uemura Lashes in S 217 and finish the look with Lancome’s Le Rouge Absolue in Merlot.

Ten films are nominated this year for Best Picture this year, and the cast of Precious already has much to celebrate, but will they walk away with Oscars gold?  Whatever the outcome, their brave performances are worthy of all the praise they receive and with their incredible spirits, we can at least be certain big girls won’t cry.


Writing about the glamour and comedic talent of Gabourey and Mo’Nique feels a bit like it’s undermining the serious work they’ve done in this film. However, the films speaks for itself and says it better than any reviewer could. Hopefully, Gabourey agrees the sillier topics are worth writing about too. As she told New York Magazine, “They try to paint the picture that I was this downtrodden, ugly girl who was unpopular in school and in life, and then I got this role and now I’m awesome. But the truth is that I’ve been awesome, and then I got this role.”

Shine on!


For personalized fashion advice, click here to co
ntact Sarah Mitzner on


Andrew Sotomayor is a celebrity makeup artist in New York who’s worked with Juliette Binoche, Kerry Washington, Saffron Burrows, Rose Byrne, Justin Kirk, Jonathan Groff and champion boxer Andre Berto. His clients have appeared on Project Runway, The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, Good Day New York, and CNN. He’s created the makeup for Victoria Beckham’s denim and eyewear look books, and assisted on fashion shows for Dior, Diesel, Marchesa, and Project Runway. Magazines like Marie Claire, Shape, InStyle, Glamour, People, and numerous blogs have interviewed him, and he’s appeared on television for Access Hollywood. Andrew leads makeup artistry workshops for the students at The High School of Fashion Industries. See his work at DramaFreeMakeup.comShare/Bookmark

Oscars Week: Avatar Inspired Fashion, Eco Chic Beauty Products, and Oscars Ready Makeup

It’s a safe bet James Cameron loves a good adventure flick as much as I do. I don’t know him personally, but I’d assume as much.

Critics often mention how beneath the revolutionary technology of Avatar is a story that’s already told before (think Dances with Wolves or Fern Gully – The Last Rainforest) and thankfully, they’re right. As a Latino American, I’ll be the first to argue that stories inspired by the Spanish Inquisition will never be cliché. Furthermore, the preservation themes of films like Avatar and Wall-E have emboldened the spirit behind my childhood obsessions with Captain Planet, Free Willy and ET that have lingered like as a canvas tote bag I made in grade school with SAVE THE EARTH in vibrant puff paint that resides somewhere in my parents’ basement.

In honor of Avatar’s cry for mother nature,  I’m gonna give shout outs to two of my most favorite beauty brands that benefit beauty fanatics and mother earth.

Cargo’s PlantLove Lipsticks have tubes made from corn instead of plastic, are free from petroleum or parabens, and the cardboard wrapper is infused with wildflower seeds that actually grow when buried.

Chantecaille has worked hard raising money to protect endangered species by donating a portion of the sales of their blushes and eye shadows beautifully embossed with designs representing tigers, whales, coral reefs, butterflies, and most recently (my childhood favorites) dolphins.

Going back to nature is important for our future, but technology has earned it’s role in entertainment. Both times I saw Avatar in IMAX 3D, the landscapes were so breathtaking, I felt a bit of relief from my yearning to run off and move to the rainforest. Unfortunately, that fantasy will not come true until they have an iPhone app that cures one’s fear of snakes.

Fun with technology inspired photographer Lizzy Sullivan, dancer Marcus Phillips (from the original Off-Broadway production of Fela!), and I to brave the winter winds for a rooftop photo shoot last fall. Building on the skills I learned when I keyed Patrick Wolf’s Hard Times Video, we used blacklights, blue UV activated body paint and a long exposure to create motion blurs of Marcus moving with the Brook
lyn Bridge behind him. The final look reminded me of Billy Crudup as Dr Manhattan in Watchmen.

If you’re eco chic, and headed to an Oscars party this Sunday, this easy Avatar glamazon look is the perfect way to show your futuristic wild side. Brighten your whole expression with a single tiny Swarovski crystal placed in the inner corners of each eye. Pick it up with tweezers, dip it in a tiny bit of lash glue and place it just beyond the tear duct. The effect is much more subtle than you’d think and looked amazing at Marchesa F/W 2010 presentation. To keep the rest of the look simple, avoid shimmery eye shadow and instead add a pop of vibrant matte blue color on the lid using Shu Uemura m 685. Follow with several coats of mascara and you’re done.

If you’re not willing to paint yourself blue in full Avatar solidarity, you’ll obviously need to know what to wear. stylist Eric Himel suggests turning to Alexander McQueen’s S/S 2010 collection, Plato’s Atlantis. The “eighties-inspired tribal futuristic” dresses “epitomize the strong tribal culture of the Na’vi people.” The prints even look like the markings on Pandora’s flying Ikran.

Finally, every good warrior princess needs to accessorize, so jewelry designer Jenny Jordan recommends these handmade bangles from her Symbology collection, available on and at Elle Squared in Livingston NJ. Her Pisces and Aquarius designs are both hand painted and plated in 22-karat gold. “People born under these signs are humanitarians. They are sensitive, headstrong, creative, intuitive and have a very large imagination.”

Avatar is hands down the most technologically advanced film of the year, but will blue take the gold for best picture? I’ll be glued to my TV set Sunday, eager to find out. I’ll “see you” there!

For more styling tips, click here to reach out to Eric Himel via

To see more of Jenny Jordan’s designs visit her online boutique at or in-person  at Elle Squared in Livingston, NJ (973) 533-1111

New York makeup artist Andrew Sotomayor has worked with celebrities including Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Lawrence, Juliette Binoche, Kerry Washington, Emmy Rossum, Christine Baranski, Alicia Silverstone, Nina Garcia, Natasha Bedingfield, Rose Byrne, Adam Levine, Bruno Mars, Isaac Mizrahi, Adam Lambert, and many more. Supermodels including Liu Wen, Arlenis Sosa, Angela Lindvall, Elettra Wiedemann, and Du Juan, have worn makeup by Andrew and clients have worn his makeup for appearances on Project Runway, The Oprah
Winfrey Show, The Today Show, Live with Regis & Kelly, The CBS Early Show, Good Day New York, The Rachael Ray Show, CNN, and The Tony Awards. He’s created the makeupfor Betsey Johnon and Victoria Beckham’s look books, and assisted on fashion shows including Chanel, Dior, Marchesa, Oscar de la Renta, Diesel, and Project Runway. See his work at

Oscars Week: An Education starring Carey Mulligan and Vintage French Beauty

Nominated for Best Picture, Best Adaptation of a Screenplay, and Best Actress – Carey Mulligan



Coming of age tales are often so compelling because of their ability to conjure emotions that are much better as nostalgia than as recent experiences. Who doesn’t love the adventure and camaraderie of Stand by Me, the fidgety magnetism of a first crush in My Girl, or the desperate game of social-circle chess in Mean Girls? Such stories are equally endearing, though occasionally more subversive on the other side of the pond.


Two of my favorite British teenage narratives are the film adaptation of Beautiful Thing and the controversial series Queer as Folk (which inspired Showtime‘s American version). Charlie Hunnam, who currently stars in Sons of Anarchy on FX, played a teenager entering a lascivious affair with an older man. Hunnam’s cautious, rabbit eyed look allows the audience some semblance of peace knowing he at least his guard up. In “An Education” Carey Mulligan’s young Jenny throws such caution to the wind.


Jenny, a British teen in the 1950’s rejects the traditional female archetypes attributed to her mother, her teacher, and an unscholarly socialite in order to explore the decadence of Paris, concerts, fine dining, and dating an older man. Jenny meets Peter Sarsgaard’s sheep skin clad David with such open minded faith that I’ve since vowed that if I ever have kids, the first rule for dating my teenage daughter will be that guys with vowels repeated in their last name are automatically given a restraining order (Mark-Paul Gosselaar that means you too).


In spite of the sometimes heavier subject matter, it’s hard not to notice the many great performances, the revealing cinematography, and the versatile beauty of Carey Mulligan. With her hair down, perfect skin, and uber wearable school uniform, she looks like the quintessential girl next door. With her hair pulled back, makeup done up, clad in a delicate beige party dress, she so easily carries off sophisticated ingenue she could pass for Audrey Hepburn’s granddaughter.






























If you’re attending an Oscars party this Sunday and want to show your support for Carey Mulligan and An Education, why not go all out French chic?


Start by capturing Mulligan’s timeless vintage look with a French touch using just a few key products. The idea is to look dressed up, but with a youthful Parisian ease. After applying undereye concealer and basic face makeup, trace the upper lashes with a black liquid liner, sweeping up at the corner. Try Lancôme’s Artliner in Noir which has a thin felt tipped pen applicator that creates a thinner line with a soft touch and a thicker line with a firmer touch. Next, capture Mulligan’s bright eyed innocence using Virtuose mascara in Black, also by Lancôme. Use the curved brush to focus on the outer lashes and get the most out of the lash curling formula. Finally, get the same cherry pout with Rouge Volupte by Yves Saint Laurent in Red Muse. Die hard beauty seekers will want a matte finish for a historically accurate French 50’s look, but will have to wait for the debut of Color Design Lip in Red Haute later this month.    



To really dress the part, stylist Sasha Gold recommends this chic 1950’s inspired dress by Dior. “It’s great for every body shape and the lilac color looks great on almost any skin tone. Update it with statement jewelry or keep it classic with smaller pieces.” The design is as clever as Mulligan herself in the way it manages to “demurely scream” I could have danced all night.



Competition for best actress is fierce this year, but we’ll have to watch to see if newcomer Carrie Mulligan will share in similar freshman success as Marlee Matin did for Children of a Lesser God. Either way, Mulligan will no doubt look angelic on the red carpet. Dressed for the part, you too could help celebrate her joie de vivre!


Get personal fashion advice from Sasha Gold by contacting her on

Call Lancome – The Boutique to pre-order Color Design Lip in Red Haute at 212-362-4858


ndrew Sotomayor is a celebrity makeup artist in New York who’s worked with Juliette Binoche, Kerry Washington, Saffron Burrows, Rose Byrne, Justin Kirk, Jonathan Groff and champion boxer Andre Berto. His clients have appeared on Project Runway, The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, Good Day New York, and CNN. He’s created the makeup for Victoria Beckham’s denim and eyewear look books, and assisted on fashion shows for Dior, Diesel, Marchesa, and Project Runway. Magazines like Marie Claire, Shape, InStyle, Glamour, People, and numerous blogs have interviewed him, and he’s appeared on television for Access Hollywood. Andrew leads makeup artistry workshops for the students at The High School of Fashion Industries. See his work at

The Fashion of Alice in Wonderland, Red Lips and Shimmering Eyes, Rescue a Rabbit and The Road to the Oscars

This is a huge week for movies. Hollywood’s biggest night returns this Sunday for the Oscars! Before we talk about the memorable performances of this past year, I have to mention that if you love fantasy adventure films like I do, you must be totally psyched for Alice in Wonderland, opening this weekend. I’m obsessed with Tim Burton (Have you seen his exhibit at MOMA? I checked it out with vlogger Michelle Phan), Johnny Depp (I can’t decide if I’d rather have Johnny Depp’s cheekbones, talent, or rock star attitude), and of course Helena Bonham Carter (Can anyone play “losing her mind” better than HBC?). The dream team behind Sweeney Todd and The Corpse Bride are joined by girl next door-turned fashion’s sweetheart, Anne Hathaway, who plays the White Queen.


                  To commemorate the film, the fashion team at the New York Post created a photo story using models dressed in modern clothes inspired by the film’s main characters. We shot the photos in the Rose Bar at the luxurious Gramercy Park Hotel (I can’t list names but this historical hotel is a favorite haunt of celebrities past and present). Knockout hairstylist Karim Odoms teased and twisted some wicked creations while Deborah Padilla did makeup for Alice and The Mad Hatter while I made up the Red Queen and the White Queen.




The            The Red Queen got her signature ruby lips from Lancome’s L’Absolu Rouge in Absolute Rouge and the White Queen got her sparkling eye shadows using Glitter All in Snow by Shiny Mama Makeup.  




Save for Nina Garcia and Audra MacDonald, I’m rarely star struck. However, I could barely keep my cool when Snowflake, a lop eared rabbit, arrived on set. Playing Wonderland’s tardiness prone bunny, Snowflake spent the morning with us courtesy of the local animal shelter. He was found alone on the streets of New York and was probably an Easter gift that someone grew tired of. I had a rabbit when I was in middle school and can tell you rabbits make great pets (they love being indoors though of course they love to dig in the grass) and will use a litter box with virtually no training. For information on how to adopt one of these needy critters visit






I can’t wait to see the makeup, hair and gowns this Sunday at the Os
. Expect to see Marchesa fully represented on the red carpet. The Oscars have the best makeup, hair, and fashions of any event second only to The Costume Intitute Gala. In honor of the women who left their beauty mark on film history this year, we’ll devote the rest of the week to the most memorable movies and the actresses who starred in them. Get some great makeup tips on how to get glamorous like your favorite stars or pay tribute to your most inspirational heroines.


Hollywood or bust!


Andrew Sotomayor is a celebrity makeup artist in NYC. See his work at