I’ve always been fascinated with beauty history, ideals, products and culture from generation to generation and across cultures and centuries. From Cleopatra’s kohl rimmed eyes and milk baths, to geishas using nightingale droppings to keep their skin looking creamy white, to women during war-time soaking in tea to mimic the look of healthy, glowing skin.
As a young girl, (much to my mother’s horror) I rejected the trendier if safe beauty ideals and instead experimented with my hair poofed up as a Gibson girl, arranged in bombshell inspired Victory Rolls, or dyed royal blue and razor cut and punk rock inspired. My makeup was as transitional as my hairstyles. Some days would find me with a scarlet red pout. Other times I’d try to emulate the glam rock ideal, still others would find me with swoops of cat’s eye liner and flirty mascara. And sometimes I’d combine elements of each and mix or match until I achieved a signature look. I’m still something of a beauty chameleon never shying away from embracing then rejecting the beauty modes and moods of generations past- though my signature cat’s eye black eye liner usually remains a constant.
In a previous incarnation I worked as a celebrity makeup artist creating makeup looks for notable tastemakers, politicians, socialites and celebrities. Over the years I studied as much history about beauty, women’s spending power throughout the ages and advertising created by or geared to women. I dabbled with launching my own line of cosmetics and have consulted on or developed cosmetic lines and products for prestige and mass market brands belonging to L’Oreal Brands, Estee Lauder, P&G, J&J, Shu Uemura and celebrities including Wyclef Jean and Christina Aguilera and more recently on the rebranding of plus model Tess Holliday. I’ve even worked as a national spokesperson for beauty and lifestyle products.
I also co-created and launched of the first and most beloved beauty and lifestyle web sites including the now defunct (original) Airkisses.com, WeddingBelles.com, NYCBest.com & PlanetPretty.com. I wrote about beauty, but mostly under a pseudonym since my day job was (and still is) as a marketing strategist and people found it hard to understand that I could be both a serious business person and beauty enthusiast. My how times have changed.
These days, I write under my own name including my award-winning books Hello Gorgeous!, Beauty Products in America ’40s – ’60s which inspired a week-long retro beauty event at Henri Bendel and Career and Corporate Cool. I was recently featured on the Sundance series Love/Lust & Makeup for my take on the evolution of the beauty industry. I’ve lectured at FIT in the Master’s program on the history of cosmetic and fragrance advertising and branding and created customized, fun, retro-inspired events as team building experiences for those in the cosmetic industries. I’ve consulted for movies and TV series on beauty looks and advertising in the last mid-century including of course the one where men are mad and the women were mod.