Attending The Makeup Show Dallas as “Press” is unequivocally one of the very best perks I’ve received since starting Boxy Ladies with Jill a few years ago. As a lover of makeup, it’s just such a cool opportunity to see “behind the curtain” and hear all of the stories and recommendations that successful professional makeup artists are sharing with makeup artists that are not quite on that level. As I mentioned in my pre-Makeup Show blog, it’s inspiring to see camaraderie in such a competitive industry. Not to mention all the makeup. About 75 brands are represented, including Make Up For Ever, MAC, Smith Cosmetics and way, way more!
I made it to several of the keynotes but honestly, I am a little upset with myself that I didn’t see and do as much as I had planned. You see, in the weeks leading up to The Makeup Show, my left leg was sore and I finally went to the doctor the week of The Makeup Show and they told me my hamstring/glute muscles were probably sprained, so I needed to rest. But like… I also needed to go to the Makeup Show Dallas… Unfortunately, because I was in so much pain, it made it a little harder for me to want to be as proactive as I normally would be, since all I could really think about was how much I was hurting. At this point, I think it’s more of a pinched nerve than a muscle strain/sprain, so I’ll be going back to the doctor next week and see what we need to do since nothing is improving and it might even be getting worse? I know that is all probably TMI but I just wanted you to know where I was at because, honestly, I feel like I could have done better to not only learn more but get the Boxy Ladies brand out there into the world more! I am already ready for the next Makeup Show Dallas, which has already been scheduled for March 2019!
Saturday started off with a press event with James Vincent, introducing us to the show itself and telling us a little bit more about each event and keynote speaker, and also told us a bit more about what was in our press packages as well. And when I say package, I mean tote bag, because they were INCREDIBLY generous with all of the products they gave us. They were mostly from sponsors and also vendors at the The Makeup Show, so that was really, really nice. I think I might do a whole blog just about the different products they gave us. Would you be interested in that? Let me know!
James also made a point to talk about how The Makeup Show is giving back to two important charities: The Family Place and Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Throughout the weekend, they accepted donations and also sold raffle tickets to win a huge prize of makeup and tools, with the proceeds being split between the two charities. They were able to raise over $6000, which is incredible!
Additionally, he talked about how The Makeup Show celebrated indie brands – specifically brands owned by women and people of color. He wants these brands to be exposed to more people, as the industry needs the people what actually support and use products, and brands should be working to please the actual consumers… not just those who are “taken to Fiji,” which was a thinly veiled reference to big brands that take the popular Influencers on lavish trips, who then inevitably give their products glowing reviews.
In this vein, James mentioned that he thinks that the industry has become homogenous – the portfolios he sees now are very similar, as everyone is using the same YouTube techniques. He made a point to tell us that social media tells us one thing, but fashion and real life is very different. It’s definitely an important distinction for an up-and-coming makeup artist.
The focus for James is always on the work, in addition with educating and sharing his passion but also doing everything with gratitude and giving back when he can. It was an inspiring session, and made me so excited for the rest of the weekend! (I will point out that James had a leg injury as well, and was using a cane. I was extremely jealous of his cane all weekend long. I needed a cane. Still do.)
The first keynote I attended was “Making It In Makeup” with Renny Vasquez. Sometimes, I feel like I am so interested in the art, the celebrities and the products that these artists share about that I sort of forget to think about HOW they got to where they are.
Renny told his story as he did makeup on a stage, and it was so interesting! He actually started out washing hair at a salon in the Washington DC-area when he was in high school. After he graduated, his mom convinced him to go go cosmetology school since he was clearly interested in the beauty industry. During school, they went over makeup for three days and ironically, he hated it! He actually gave away all the makeup he had been given for the class because he didn’t think he would ever need it again. What he couldn’t give away, he literally threw in the trash. Ha! And after he graduated from cosmetology school, he went right back to the salon and continued to wash hair.
At one point, he had the opportunity to be an assistant on a photoshoot with Derrick Rutledge, and Renny was suddenly inspired by makeup! Because he was a licensed cosmetologist, he was able to get a MAC Pro Card, which enabled him to get discounts at MAC. He bought makeup and books and just practiced and practiced on himself, and occasionally some of the clients at the salon, where he still washed hair.
Renny attended a makeup symposium with many big name makeup artists and there was a makeup competition… and he won! The price, ironically, was a trip to The Make Up Show NYC. At that point, he set a goal for himself that he would someday come back to the Makeup Show and be a speaker– and look what happened!
But after that experience, he went back to the salon and continued to wash hair. He actually washed hair for 13 years total, which is kind of amazing. But after The Makeup Show, he was very driven and continued to ask clients at the salon if he could do their makeup and take their pictures. There was one night where a model at the salon there to get her hair done before a fashion show. It was towards the end of the night and so after her hair was done, she sat down at an empty chair and started doing her own makeup. Renny essentially had to save her from herself, haha. He helped her out and did her makeup. Apparently at the fashion show, the producer asked the model who did her makeup so the model put them in touch with Renny. The producer ended up calling Renny to see if he would be their traveling makeup artist for a show they were producing, so he did that for a few weeks. Years later, that same producer called him for jobs at BET.
After that job… he went back to the salon and kept washing hair. See a pattern here? Haha. Around this time, Gabrielle Union came to DC for the Inauguration and by that point, Renny was known around town, so he did her makeup. MC Lyte was in town for the same reason and also needed her makeup done, so Renny did hers as well. Afterwards, Essence magazine did an article about some of the best makeup looks from the event and Gabrielle and MC Lyte were numbers one and two! Gabrielle Union asked if he could be her artist for the press tour for “Being Mary Jane,” a show on BET. The tour was two weeks long and he did her makeup about 4-5 times and afterwards he received his check and it was well over $10k. Renny was like, “DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY HEADS I’D HAVE TO SHAMPOO FOR THAT?!” However… he still went back to the salon and continued washing hair while freelancing on the side, deciding that year would be his “year of yes.”
Brandy (you know — THAT Brandy) was in DC and she had heard about Renny and wanted to meet for dinner. He ended up doing her makeup for an event and then she asked him to do a European and African tour! Of course, Renny said yes. During this time, Kelly Rowland was on the tour and she had asked Brandy who was doing her makeup and so Brandy shared Renny’s information with her. Renny was like, “Wait. Kelly wants to work with me? Beyonce’s Kelly?” I laughed out loud at that point.
Throughout all of these jobs, Renny was sharing his work on social media and so while people in DC knew him and his work personally, his work was beginning to be known throughout the world! He ended up doing Monica’s makeup in New York City. (Yes – THAT Monica.) Then Lala wanted to work with him. Then he was with Loren Ridinger of Motives Cosmetics, doing makeup on a yacht, when JLo called and asked who was doing her make up!
After this job, he finally realized that he was ready to quit washing hair at the salon – his boss had to hire three assistants to take Renny’s place since Renny did so much there! He just knew it was the right time.
When Renny was right in the middle of moving to NYC, he got a call from JLo’s people to see if he was available to get on a plane in an hour. Of course he said yes, because JLo. He ended up doing JLo’s cousin’s makeup for that particular event. However, JLo really liked his work, and he worked with her for her cover of Paper magazine.
At this point, he was definitely a celebrity makeup artist, as he continues to work with some of the biggest stars in the world.
It was at this point when Renny started taking questions from the audience. It was here where he gave me one of the best tips that totally blew my mind! And it was about false lashes. So, I am not a false lash girl. I can never get them to stick but I also never practice, so I’m sure that is related, but he suggested that instead of only putting glue on the false lashes to put a few dots of glue on your lash line with a tiny brush. Then the glue acts as… glue, and really grabs to the glue on the falsies and then those lashes are DONE. I tried it last night and it was LEGIT. THANK YOU, RENNY. 🙌🙌🙌
Here are just some pictures I took while I was waiting in line to buy makeup. If you follow me on insta, you might have seen some of them!
This blog is already so long, so you know that there will at least be a Part 2 and potentially a Part 3 if I have the wherewithal to blog about that massive gift bag! So stay tuned for more!