Do you ever wonder how celebrities and models look so flawless? Take television show Dancing With the Stars for example. The dancers can’t be touched up frame-by-frame to get rid of a blemish on the show (it would take FOREVER), and caking on traditional makeup would only sweat and smear off during the performance. Not looking perfect isn’t an option. So how do they do it? Airbrush makeup – also known as Photoshop in real life.
As you know, I am a product junkie and this problem often manifests with beauty products. Last year I went out on a limb (I will do anything for beauty!), putting myself on a train to Chicago and coming back with an entire pro airbrush makeup kit by TEMPTU, the best airbrush makeup in the industry. Over the past year I have been doing everything from forcing my husband to sit still while I practice on him, to watching endless amounts of YouTube videos to get my technique down pat. Then I started stalking a true airbrush pro, a TEMPTU makeup artist and model named Neda Stevic. Her portfolio of airbrushed looks was amazing, and the moment she mentioned a class for newbies like me I jumped at the chance. The class was insightful and inspired me to continue on my quest of being an airbrush makeup artist on photo shoot sets.
I had a moment to speak to Neda about how she became who she is, as well as a few tips for those looking to receive an airbrush makeup service or get involved in the industry.
First of all, tell us a little about yourself and your background:
For the past 15 years, I’ve been working nationally and internationally as a professional model. I had the fantastic opportunity to move to Barcelona and model there for four months with clients such as Adidas and Mango. I’ve worked all over the states, and am most proud of an LG Technology billboard I was on, which was located in Times Square for an entire year.
At each photo shoot, learning secret tips and tricks from the make-up artists was always one of my favorite parts of the process. The best make-up artists traveled around the world for work, and were capable of completely transforming my look so effortlessly. They intrigued me, and learning all of their secret tips and tricks was fascinating.
As an extremely artistic individual myself, I’ve always spent any free time drawing or painting ever since I can remember. In high school, I won Second in State for an All-School Art Competition. In college, I sold paintings and art pieces to help pay for my tuition as a double-major in Spanish Literature and Psychology. Eventually, I left my full-time job as a Bilingual Employment Counselor at The Women’s Center to model, and also added hair and make-up styling services in a full-time capacity. It was the smartest move I ever made, and between modeling and make-up artistry, I’m now doing what I love everyday around the country!
What made you want to become a makeup artist?
As a model, my favorite part of the job was always behind the scenes, getting to know the clients and crew. In our industry, we frequently “live in the future” by working on recently invented products which haven’t hit the marketplace yet. At the photo shoots for these new products, I loved learning more about what motivated and inspired these entrepreneurs, and how new products and ideas were most effectively conveyed to the public via advertising.
My interest in psychology, art and entrepreneurship converged with my modeling experience and naturally lead me to pursue being a makeup artist as well. Make-up artistry is very similar to painting, but it’s on a three-dimensional canvas which can hold a conversation with you! It’s also a wonderful opportunity to help people look and feel amazing, and calm their frazzled nerves before a photo shoot simply by having a nice conversation.
Who do you work with?
Some of my recent clients have included: Tiffany’s, TEMPTU PRO, Verizon Wireless, Harley-Davidson, McGraw-Hill, Jockey International, Reader’s Digest, A.C. Zuckerman Jewelers, Karastan, Bon-Ton, Lands’ End and many more.
|Some of Neda’s work.|
How did you become involved in airbrush makeup?
Initially, I was hired as a model for the TEMPTU Airbrush PRO demonstrations at a make-up artist convention in Chicago. What I learned from the NYC and LA artists while sitting in the makeup chair blew my mind. They made me look better than anyone has ever been able to, without even touching my face. These top-notch artists work on movies, music videos, celebrities and top magazines on a daily basis. I was thrilled at the opportunity to sit in their chairs, but I knew that, as an artist, I could do more.
I took my new knowledge and the TEMPTU airbrush machine and makeup that was given to me and ran with it! After some practice, I presented TEMPTU PRO in NYC with published magazine tear sheets showing my airbrushing work, and asked to be considered as one of their airbrush artists instead of a model. TEMPTU agreed to this and raised my pay rate as well. Now, I help select the TEMPTU demonstration model for America’s Beauty Show and I get to demonstrate airbrushing techniques on a stage to audiences ranging from two to approximately 50 people. I love working the crowd and getting people excited about this cutting-edge art form, which has single-handedly revolutionized my career as a make-up artist!
How is airbrush makeup better than traditional makeup (how long does it last, how is the coverage, overall look, etc)?
Airbrush makeup is the gold standard in achieving the flawless look required for high-definition photography, videography and T.V. It disperses onto your subject’s face in such a light, pre-blended mist, which is initially imperceptible to the human eye. You can build upon it until you have the coverage required for a Kabuki Mask if needed. It is the most hygienic and efficient method available to meet your clients’ expectations. It covers blemishes without a trace, doesn’t cake, never settles into fine lines and is sweat/water/oil/smudge/fade resistant. Clients are demanding it because they see celebrities getting it done on TV all the time. In terms of longevity, it can last all day and night without budging, even if you have oily, blemished skin and are getting married on a humid Wisconsin day. Ultimately, you’d look the same from the beginning to end in your wedding album photos, with no touch-ups required all day or night.
|Flawless skin desired at photo shoots.|
What’s your best makeup tip?
Smooth skin is the canvas required for makeup to look great. I suggest a skincare regimen which includes regular, gentle exfoliation combined with a broadband spectrum sunscreen to shield skin from damaging, wrinkle-causing UVA/UVB rays. I’m a big fan of the Clarisonic Mia to clean skin and exfoliate daily, as well as the Exuviance skin care line. That particular skin care line is very high-tech, and was developed by the world-renowned dermatologists who invented Alpha-Hydroxy Acids which gently reveal fresh skin through natural exfoliation. Also, plenty of sleep and water is key, and a daily packet of Emergen’C is a great idea to combat free-radicals which contribute to aging.
What’s your most interesting or funny experience on the job?
Recently, I had the opportunity to turn an eight-year-old boy into Frankenstein for a Reader’s Digest Halloween article. He was riveted by how his appearance transformed from a blue-eyed blonde into a little monster with greenish-black hair, green skin, a bloody scar on top of his ridged forehead, and ominous, metal bolts protruding from his neck. The best part of all was that I did it almost all by airbrush, including disguising his blonde hair by airbrushing it greenish black! The only time I touched his face was to attach the prosthetic ridged forehead, which was my signature Play-Doh creation.
Neda is a rare find and I was honored to have met and learned from her. If you are interested in receiving an airbrush makeup service for a special event or just a night out, feel free to comment below and I can direct you to a local artist!
Photos provided by Neda Stevic.