Friday, June 28, 2013

SUYMU On The Scene: "Nice N' Nautical" Photo Shoot

Nice N' Nautical. June 2012. Makeup, creative director: Aleah Rae Dorsey for SHAPE UP YOUR MAKEUP. Wardrobe and Styling: Olisi Johnson for STAMP ON STYLE. Photography: Doug Ramsey for D. RAMSEY PHOTOGRAPHY.
As glamourous as they may appear, photo shoots are NOT all fun and games!  Like the first day of school, I'm always a ball of nerves and excitement...But it's a feeling I wouldn't trade for the world.
Nice N' Nautical. June 2012. Makeup, creative director: Aleah Rae Dorsey for SHAPE UP YOUR MAKEUP. Wardrobe and Styling: Olisi Johnson for STAMP ON STYLE. Photography: Doug Ramsey for D. RAMSEY PHOTOGRAPHY.

Earlier this month, I had the chance to collaborate for the first time with an uber talented group of artistic professionals for a National Harbor vintage-30s-by-the-sea inspired shoot, I titled "Nice N' Nautical".  From the intricate of styling of Olisi Johnson (Stamp On Style) to the smoldering stare and natural beauty of model (and lifestyle blogger) VeCoya Green, to the panoramic photography of Doug Ramsey --- teamwork really did make the dream work.  And the final shots were better than I could have ever hoped for.  
Nice N' Nautical. June 2012. Makeup, creative director: Aleah Rae Dorsey for SHAPE UP YOUR MAKEUP. Wardrobe and Styling: Olisi Johnson for STAMP ON STYLE. Photography: Doug Ramsey for D. RAMSEY PHOTOGRAPHY.
Nice N' Nautical. June 2012. Makeup, creative director: Aleah Rae Dorsey for SHAPE UP YOUR MAKEUP. Wardrobe and Styling: Olisi Johnson for STAMP ON STYLE. Photography: Doug Ramsey for D. RAMSEY PHOTOGRAPHY.
Curious about the man behind the lens, I decided to interview my new favorite photographer. 

Read on to see what I discovered after talking to the one person who probably knows D. Ramsey better than anyone else... 

SUYMU: Tell us about when did you first fell in love with photography.

DR: I’ve always had a fondness for viewing images.  My father introduced me to photography when I was fairly young; around 13 or so. He owned an old Minolta and a couple of lenses that he purchased the year I was born. I would love when my father would shoot and bring home newly developed black and white photos. Over the years the father’s hobby/passion eventually spilled over to the son and I silently fell in love with photography when he gave me his Minolta in the Summer of 1993, my freshman year in college.

SUYMU: "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder"...What feature do you find to be most beautiful in the women you shoot?

DR: Well, let me first say that all women are beautiful. The fact that you and I are on this earth bears witness to that fact. The Almighty in His infinite wisdom created woman such that she is the vessel for life and for the continuation of life on the planet. 

SUYMU:  Ok, get to the answer Doug! 

DR:  (laughs) Ok, ok, to answer your question, the feature I find most beautiful about women would be a tossup between the eyes and the lips. Eyes and lips both have the power to communicate strong signals as well as evoke a range of positive and/or negative emotions in the viewer.

SUYMU: So many women (me included) hate themselves in photos...What tips can you give for taking better photos? 

DR: We all are our own worst critics. I think that should be stated first! Moreover, if you really want to make yourself more appealing in a photo there are a few general rules to adhere to: 1) Smile 2) Have the photographer shoot from an elevated angle or tilt the head down to minimize extra skin under the chin area. 3) Relax, have fun and remember that people won’t typically judge you as hard as you’ll judge yourself!

SUYMU: Dream assignment???

DR: My dream assignment would probably be to manage, shoot and oversee the biggest ad campaigns for Apple, Ralph Lauren, the NFL or the NBA. On the extreme opposite side of that, I would love to shoot on location in a village that has had very minimal contact with the outside world. That would be an exhilarating experience!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Model Memoirs: Cara's Heavy Metal Lids

From heavy metal to soft rock --- metallic eye shadows in pewter, platinum, copper and (rose) gold were in serious rotation on the Spring/Summer '13 catwalk.  I love the way the  charmingly cheeky 
Cara Delevigne pulls this trend off (right). Futuristic and sexy, Cara's heavy metal lids can actually be worn during the day --- with a few necessary tweaks. 
To create a softer, more wearable metal lid (like Cara's left and mine below) pay attention this easy how-to.  And get ready to see how cool molten metal can actually look on you!
  • When choosing your shadow color, keep in mind that metallics in rose gold and bronze tend to complement skin with warm undertones --- while silvery and pewter shades are generally best for cooler undertones.
  • Now, using either powder or cream shadow, sweep the metallic on the lid from lash line to crease.  Do not put any metal on the brow brown (#overkill).
  • Use a soft black eyeliner to lightly line the upper and lower lash line, and be sure to focus the majority of the liner on the outer corners of the eye. 
  • With a smaller shadow brush, place a lighter metallic shadow (true silver or gold with a little bit of sparkle are good bets) in the inner corner of the eye. Apply two coats of black mascara (or false lashes if you please), and finish the look with a muted gloss!

Monday, June 17, 2013

SUYMU On The Scene: D'Milikah Fashion Show

Like a school of sexy water sirens, the models at last Wednesday night's D'Milikah Fashion Show seem to sizzle in the evening sun.  The show, which featured the swimwear and accessory designs of Brazilian born NoVa resident, Emily Gonzaga, was held at Nick's Riverside Grill in Georgetown.  I thoroughly enjoyed the cleverly executed soiree and am already plotting on at least two D'Milikah designs for my next beach getaway.  

Before the show, I had a chance to chat with Gonzaga about the inspiration behind her new "Blurry Feminine" collection; and in particular, behind the makeup she planned to feature on the runway.  Read on to find out just what this Brazilian firecracker and rising design star had to say!  
D'Milikah fashion designer/owner Emily Gonzaga (left) with SHAPE UP YOUR MAKEUP artist/educator/owner, Aleah Rae Dorsey (right).

SUYMU:  Tell us a little bit about the "Blurry Feminine" Collection?  What was your inspiration?  And another thing: What's the story behind the name???  We're super curious...

EG:  The collection is all about the “blurry” side of every woman. That goes along with the name choice as well.  We all have a side of us to hide, a place to hide, a secret to hide. Good or bad, it is a secret.  And that is the collection inspiration. That secret side of each one of us, the tigresses, the woman that wants to do it all, the super woman in us all. That hidden side that is an escape for all of us. The prints are intentionally and intriguing blurry, and it is meant to fit every sort of body shape and form. 

SUYMU:  So, as you were envisioning this show, what type of makeup look did you see on your "Blurry Feminine" models? Why?

EG:  I always think about the eyes first, as they say the the eyes are the doors to the soul. To keep with the feel of the collection, I was looking for eye looks that have some mystery to them. For the rest of the look,  we used earthy smoky tones on the models, like golden and brown tones and a sun kissed tone on the face. For the lips we wanted rosy cheeks and natural pinkish lipstick. This total look is best to carry out the "mysterious" image for models while on the runway.  

D'Milikah swimwear model, the "Blurry Feminine" collection. June 2013.

SUYMU:  Who was your lead MUA for the show?  How closely did the two of you work together to perfect that makeup vision?  Walk us through your creative collaboration.

EG:  I usually work closely with the W Salon team; they have a great understanding as to what I want. The process includes me sending them various pictures and from that we can come up with the right look. At times I even go to the salon myself before a show or event and we "practice" on me until we get it right. I have worked with them for all events with this collection, so they understand the looks that I want. The fact that I wanted smokey eyes and brown tones can also make it difficult for the models various skin tones so in those cases we adapt accordingly.
D'Milikah swimwear model, the "Blurry Feminine" collection. June 2013.

SUYMU:  Ok, Emily.  In case you hadn't noticed, we are super nosey!  So we have to ask: What's in YOUR makeup bag?  Tell us a few things you can't live without this summer. 
EG:  OMG! In my make up bag there are a lot of goodies. I danced a good part of my life, as a professional dancer, so makeup for me is very important. There was a time in my life when I would not leave the house without a face full of makeup. I am not like this anymore. After having my baby I am always so busy.  However, my make up bag is still pretty full, and I have not one but two with me when I travel on longer trips. One carries all of my bases and powders, and every eye and cheek shade you can imagine! The other bag is full of pencils and lipsticks of every color.  My daily must-haves are a MAC concealer; an eyebrow brush from Dior that is doubled sided with a golden/brown pencil, and two Dior mascaras (one is the Maximizer and the another is Blackout waterproof). Also I’m the biggest fan of the Nars Orgasm Illuminator cream and natural tone lip glosses also from Nars. That is me daily!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rock This? Beat That! --- "Urban Safari"

I've always had a thing for "oxys" --- oxymorons that is.  Those charming little phrases that combine completely contradictory terms (like "jumbo shrimp" and "organized chaos") tickle my fancy every time I hear them.

Last week, I came across a real humdinger of an oxy just flipping through the pages of Lucky Magazine's most recent issue (June/July 2013). 

Urban Safari the title said.  Like all great oxys, it "Huh-ed?" first --- and "Ohhh-ed" second.  And with Olivia Palermo's "Sex In The Serengeti" look right beside it, it was pure paradoxical simplicity. (wink)

Check out the Polyvore layout I created below, and start making your everyday wear-to-work classics more "adventureous."  First, enjoy this installment of my "Rock This? Beat That!*" series.  Then, stay tuned for more posts showcasing the perfect makeup products side by side with season's hottest trends.  Still haven't joined my #makeuprevolution?  What are you waiting for??? 

Urban Safari

*The word "beat" in this context is makeup artist (MUA) slang for makeup done right!  Ex. From one MUA to another: "Let me see how that client's face turned out. (Looks at client) Wow girl!  You really BEAT that face!" (smile)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Makeup Revolution...

Growing up, Friday night was always my favorite night of the week. School was out for two whole days (an eternity), Dad would usually bring home a pizza from Ricardo's Pizzeria around the corner (aka. my favorite food) and Family Matters (Remember Urkle?) would come on around eight.  But the best thing about Fridays was that it was the one night of the week I was allowed to "play" with the makeup I'd been collecting with almost every allowance.  

I wasn't allowed to wear makeup outside of the house until I turned 17 (a little mascara, blush and eyeliner was all even then).  Mom would say, "You'll have plenty of time to wear all that stuff.  What's the rush?"  She was right (naturally).  And now???  Well, let's just say I've been making up for lost time ever since...

In this picture, I'm wearing Denim Shimmer Ink gel eyeliner by Bobbi Brown which I smudged to give it a softer more smoky look, as well as the brand's new sheer lip color in Hot Raspberry --- so perfect for summer!

It's been more than twenty years since then, and today as a professional makeup artist and educator  --- everyday is "Friday"; and I get to "play" in makeup more than I could have ever dreamed...

Join my makeup revolution (#makeuprevolution) as I set out to teach women everywhere how EASY makeup can be through my own how-to videos, insightful interviews where industry experts and real-life women alike share their beauty secrets, and a wealth of other blog posts --- all with the goal of helping you SHAPE UP YOUR MAKEUP!  

Isn't it high time you, 
exercise your right to be beautiful