Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Spotlight: Victoria Stiles, Makeup Artist on the Go

Victoria Stiles, or Vicki for short, is a young, go-getter makeup artist with an impressive resume and incredible momentum in the industry. If you haven't already heard about her, you will. Remember reading this post! I'm going to introduce you to Vicki here for a couple of reasons.
  • I really like her; I knew from our first contact that she's a warm, inclusive, sweet gal - someone I wanted to count as a friend.
  • I know some of you want to know what it takes to become an established makeup artist (hint: talent and hard work).
  • I'd love to share some of Vicki's everyday makeup tips with you.
Vicki had a passion for makeup in her early teens! Her parents gave her the ultimate gift, the master bedroom suite with lots of space and her own bathroom, and she turned her little suite into a makeup lab of sorts. At 14, she had subscriptions to all the beauty and fashion magazines, including Allure, of course.

Along with her passion, she had an eye. She looked at the photographs in the magazines and worked to recreate the looks she liked. Imagine how much time that took! Makeup application for photo shoots can take an hour or more, and there was teen Vicki, perfecting makeup looks in her bedroom suite. It was only natural that she started to experiment on her friends, and one thing led to another. One friend recognized Vicki's talent and asked Vicki to do her daughter's makeup for special occasions. Knowing the teenage love for all things beauty, you know that had to be a thrill for all of them - mom too.

Fast forward, and Vicki was working as a makeup artist while managing a M·A·C store. With M·A·C, she had opportunities to work with celebrities. While she enjoyed that time in her career and perfected the "M·A·C look," she really wanted more variety and greater challenge. Although she had started as a model, she wanted to be on the other side of the lens, creating looks for fashion shows and magazines.

Vicki connected with a photographer who steered her toward wedding events, where makeup artists can make or break the beauty of the event just as easily as the dresses worn by the bride and her bridesmaids - or the weather. Vicki's business grew, based on her talent and referrals by happy clients. In fact, the area "list of bests" magazine, the Washingtonian, featured Vicki (and Loyd Cassler of Armani Beauty) among the best local makeup artists last year.

She had her eye on the fashion industry, though. She got that break through will, determination, networking, and talent. Of course, having an agent helped. Agents are the enablers in the beauty industry, and Vicki was a smart gal who signed with one. Over time, she has grown her resume to include print (e.g., Capitol File, the Washington Post, and O), celebrities (once, with little notice, she flew to Paris to work with Melody Gardot on her album cover), and the runway. You can see a list of clients at Vicki's Web site. It's pretty impressive.

There was a beautiful fashion shoot in Capitol File this spring (one of the photos shown at left). It was shot at the National Arboretum. I studied it, just as Vicki might have when she was a teen, because it was so pretty. I learned from Vicki that it was shot last December, in freezing cold weather. Who would have guessed that the model, photographer, makeup artist, and others who made those pages come to life were all freezing?

Vicki is always on the go, dividing her time among weddings, editorial shoots, fashion shows, and communication and networking. She even finds time to write a blog, Makeup Artist Backstage, organize events for charity (read about Makeovers for the Cure) here), and have a fun life! At the recent Makeup Show in New York, Vicki presented a seminar on developing your online presence. You can watch the video at her blog.

I asked Vicki what advice she would give to women who want a pretty, but fast, look for everyday. Here are her tips.
  • Your skin has to look good if you want to look your best, so before investing in a lot of makeup, do whatever you have to do to perfect your skin! See a dermatologist if you have skin problems, and make sure to use the right products to enhance and protect your skin. Vicki mentioned drugstore staples, Cetaphil and Olay, as accessible products that can help you keep you skin looking good. She also mentioned several Chanel products, including a cleanser, that she counts among her own must-haves.
  • I specifically asked about face primers, since I have been testing primers lately. Vicki recommends Embryolisse Concentrated 24-hour Miracle Cream because it doesn't leave a film. She often uses concealer as an eye primer.
  • Find a nice foundation.Vicki likes water-based and silicone-based foundations. She likes silicone formulas because the foundation doesn't settle into pores or expression lines. She uses Armani Luminous Silk Foundation. She also likes Face atelier foundation.
  • Vicki loves Bobbi Brown's Creamy Concealer Kit.
  • Vicki thinks brow grooming is very important and often overlooked. She suggests doing your research to find a pro. In the DC area, she recommends Erwin Gomez.
  • For eye shadow, don't go dramatic during the day. Stick with neutrals (brown, beige, nudes, and mauve) for the lids and a vanilla shade under the brows. She recommends using a dark shadow as a liner; it's softer and more natural looking than dark liner.
  • Vicki believes there are fabulous drugstore options for mascara. She likes COVERGIRL Lashblast Length.
  • She prefers cream blushers for a natural look. Find one that blends seamlessly. She loves the pink and coral shades in the MAKE UP FOR EVER Flash Color Case.
  • She recommended Smashbox's Artificial Light Luminizing Lotion - it's a great highlighter.
  • For everyday lips, select a lipstick shade that's two shades darker than your lips. She likes shades by Face atelier and MAKE UP FOREVER. Then add a bit of gloss over your lipstick, and you will have a pretty, natural look.
  • One more tip. I asked Vicki to share with you one secret tip for flawless makeup. Without hesitating, she named billybBEAUTY's foundation brush.
Vicki recently partnered with Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics to develop a new OCC Lip Tar shade, Memento (shown at right), to benefit CancerCare. OCC Lip Tar combines the longevity of a lipstick, with the ease of application of a gloss. Memento is a hybrid color, developed using colors in some of Vicki's favorite M·A·C lipsticks. Check it out!

That's Vicki in a nutshell! Passionate, talented, knowledgeable, hardworking, and giving. I hope you get a chance to meet her someday!

Vicki's photo courtesy of Nicholas LaClair
Other photos courtesy of Capitol File, Fashion Washington, and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics


Marley's Mom said...

I am going to have to see those Face Atelier products. I have never used that brand. Thank you and thank Victoria!

Charlestongirl said...

Worth checking out, my friend!

Clarisse said...

What an impressive personality! It is so interesting to hear about Vicky, always great to meet passionate and talented people! Thank you for sharing her tips too, very precious too..

Charlestongirl said...

Thank you, Clarisse,

Vicky is a "dynamo." You would love her! I'll tell her that she needs to go back to France to visit.