How did you link up with Ladies Lotto and has it been an asset to you?
I had heard of Ladies Lotto (LL) from several sources but my friend and Ladies Lotto member, photographer Carissa Pelleteri, took me to my first meeting. I loved it! I was thrilled and humbled by the amount of talent that was in the room. The networking aspect of Ladies Lotto is key in my line of work. I've met some fantastic ladies whom I've built good relationships with, all thanks to LL...
You started out studying Fine Arts at both the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Parsons School of Design in New York. How did you go from this to makeup artistry?
The transition was quite easy actually! There are a lot of makeup artists who have Fine Arts degrees. Makeup artistry requires the artist to know the human facial structure, it's basic shape and most of all you need to know all about color and lighting. While I was in school, I was fascinated by the human form. I never really wore make-up but I had done several pieces in which I used a live models in full body paint. This led to taking photos and being asked by photographer friends to collaborate on projects. So at first, most of my photos the models looked like weird peacocks, birds and whatnot. Looking back it was fun, but not refined at all. Just raw creativity.
I also began to play with different paints and foundations and realized I really liked working on a three dimensional form. I love humans. We are very beautiful creatures. I was hooked, so once I made up my mind that I wanted to pursue it as a career, I went to the biggest agency I could find and said: "I don't know who the biggest and best make up artist you have on your roster, but whomever that is I want to assist even if it's free." I was clueless about fashion. But this move led me to working for the very best artist. Namely Pat McGrath, Dick Page, and the late Kevin Aucoin. I learned a lot and made no money, but it was all worth it...
Did the painterly aspects of Fine Art help you in your current profession? I'm sure it was a huge leg-up to have a basis of mixing colors and different color palettes in general.
Oh indeed!!! I don't think I would have followed this path if I didn't know all about color. I can't wing anything. I am a perfectionist!
What's the most fun about what you do?
I love meeting new people, traveling all over the world and getting paid for it. It's fantastic.
Are there any celebrities that you're really hankering to work with (and on lol)?
You know, I would love to get my hands on is Naomi Watts. I love Jessica Alba too. Hmmm I dunno, I would do makeup on anyone who allows me to. I just like to paint faces... lol.
Working with folks such as Minka Kelly, Sia, Gabrielle Union, and Terry Richardson are great for keeping you busy work-wise, but what styles of makeup appeal to you personally? Do you do personal shoots that express a more artistic/less mainstream style of makeup?
I personally love the very clean, natural look. And this believe it or not is the hardest thing to do. It's easy to pile it on, but if I can make someone look like they have perfect skin, and if the focus is on the subject rather than the makeup itself I am happy. However, when I get inspired and if the team is the right one. Nothing beats an avant garde shoot. Bring on the wigs, the lashes and the body glitter (I am a drag queen at heart). From Victorian to a 60's look, I love it all!!!
Do you still enjoy doing art (other than makeup)? What artists (music, makeup or otherwise) and photographers are you inspired by?
Drawing and photography are major passions of mine. I am an image junkie. When I close my eyes, it's like a collage of photos, drawings and images I've absorbed throughout the day. Basically it's sensory overload. But it works because it keeps me creative. I always slow down and look at the small things. You never know where inspiration will come from.
On a more practical note, what would you say are five essentials in any LLady's everyday makeup bag?
A good moisturizer and lip balm with an SPF to start with a nice base and protect the skin from the elements is a must. But after that the goodies should be:
1. Tinted Moisturizer or foundation with an SPF for protection and to create an even tone.2. A good compact ( pressed )powder for touch ups on the go3. If you have trouble spots like dark circles under your eyes or blotchy patches of skin, you will also want to have a concealer.4. Mascara5. Eyeliner pencil (black or brown), in case you have to go out after work and you want to look more done up, nothing like a sexy smudgy eyeliner to take you from day to night.
Do you have any favorite makeup brands, and which would you say cater to the largest number of skin tones?
I love love love Mally Roncal's line. She's got soooooo many goodies. I want the entire line. Armani because they have the most amazing foundation. Nars for all the fun eyeshadow colors and Orgasm blush is my favorite. You can't beat L'oreal and Maybelline for mascaras and eye pencils. Makeup should be fun and fun doesn't always have to cost an arm and leg...
Where would you like to take your career in 2010? More runway makeup, perhaps?
Runway is always fun and I do love designing the looks for shows, so more of that for sure. I would love to be a spokesperson for a brand. More TV related things would be great, such as on-camera makeovers and that sort of fun stuff. Also I have my blog www.bestthingtoday.com which I hope will lead to being a guest beauty editor. I have the best agent (Jim Indorato at Contact NYC) in the world so I am sure whatever I do will be amazing! For 2010, I just want to have fun and make every woman I touch beautiful ;-)
See Claudia's work on her site: www.claudialake.com