By Mayillah Ezekiel

How did it all start? It all started back on a rural farm in Willow, Oklahoma when I was around 12 years old. I would sit in the wheat track reading Vogue magazine while I waited for the combines [harvesters] to fill the truck so we could drive to the grain elevator. I would slowly go through the pages, and they would take me on a photographic journey. It was here I began visualizing myself in the world of fashion and beauty.

Every Sunday after church my Mother would allow me to charge one beauty product [to her tab] at the local pharmacy, adding to my tackle box of products. Mostly I chose those credited on the [Vogue] covers that I had been reading. I also collected any fashion and beauty books I could find. [American make-up artist] Way Bandy soon became my obsession, so began the days of painting one half of my face one way and the other another. I became hooked on the transformation, becoming an everyday beauty junkie. My mother and father were incredibly creative – my mother encouraged my love for dreaming and my father showed me any idea is possible.

What is one of your all-time career highlights, or a pivotal moment in your career? Professionally, I would have to say it was meeting Kevyn Aucoin the day of the Perry Ellis fashion show. It was Marc Jacobs’ first collection. Jed Root had chosen me to assist him and of course I had never met him (Kevyn or Marc). Carla Bruni came running backstage late, she took one look at me and my empty chair and sat right down in it. I’ll always have an affinity for her [for] taking a chance on the new girl. That show became one of many days with Kevyn, which ultimately validated my life as an artist. Personally, [a highlight] was my first Vogue job with Grace Coddington in Paris, shooting couture for the March issue with Arthur Elgort. Being in the presence of those clothes and that woman was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.

What do you love most about makeup? Everything. Its ability to inspire, to give confidence, the colours, different textures, the packaging. I love all of it. I have built my life around it.

Where do you get your inspiration from? Art, nature, pop culture, fashion, photography, music and of course travel. I would say everything I look at or hear daily ends up inspiring me one way or another – Whether that [be] in colour, texture or innovation.

Who are some of the people that have inspired you throughout your career?  Well, hands down Kevyn Aucoin. However, great editors like Grace Coddington, and a hairdresser named Recine [have inspired me too]. My parents and my dog named Rider.

What is the most important beauty advice that you can give to women? To experiment! Makeup is meant to be fun. I find so many women don’t wear any as they are afraid of applying it wrong. The only rule I live by is to get that foundation right and blend, after that creativity and freedom should take over. When beginning to practice your talent, start with a softer, lighter application as you can always go back and layer for a bolder look.

What is your favourite look to do on clients? Having equally established a love affair with both fashion and beauty taught me that makeup should enhance all of you. For me, as an artist it all starts with beautiful skin: from there anything is possible. A defined brow, a statement lip or unexpected pops of colour, I love. In the end, I want my client to look [like] the best version of herself while exuding confidence.

What are your favourite Beautycounter products? How do you like to use them? I have a few but Tint Skin applied with the retractable brush is a game changer. It gives you a perfect flawless finish with ease. The Charcoal Cleansing face Bar to ensure you have the perfect canvas, the Baby Balm as I love to press just a bit on the eyelid to enhance the eyeshadow, or worn alone to catch a pop of light opening up the eye.

What is your favourite spring beauty trend, and what products would you use to achieve this trend
?  Beautiful skin. The Cleansing Balm and Dew Skin are the two products that will give you just that.

Why do you think it is more important to be aware of what we consume, and to start to move towards health-conscious brands like Beautycounter? Because health is the greatest gift we have and we must honour that. So often we all take this for granted. Asking for cosmetic reform is a no-brainer for me. Beauty is meant to be full of life and every time a product touches our skin it must just that [– infusing life]. My hope is to inspire others to feel the same.

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About The Author

César Ochoa
Art Director

Cesar Ochoa studied arts in Mexico City where he finds a fascination for fashion magazines. He moved to Canada in 2006 and soon he started collaborating for some magazines in Toronto and Montreal as photographer and graphic designer. Huge fan of Dress to kill he started working for the magazine for four years now as art director.

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