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A Q&A with Celeb Makeup Artist Stephen Moleski

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International celebrity makeup artist Stephen Moleski has come a long way from his Bradenton roots. His beautiful body of work includes a lengthy list of credits in film, music, fashion and television–especially top rated shows like Australian X Factor and Keeping Up with the Kardashians. In fact, he’s been credited as the person who firmly […]

January 18, 2013


Celebrity makeup artist Stephen Moleski.

Celebrity makeup artist Stephen Moleski. Photo by Nate Jensen.

International celebrity makeup artist Stephen Moleski has come a long way from his Bradenton roots. His beautiful body of work includes a lengthy list of credits in film, music, fashion and television–especially top rated shows like Australian X Factor and Keeping Up with the Kardashians. In fact, he’s been credited as the person who firmly placed Kim Kardashian on the beauty scene with the likes of his signature smokey eye technique.

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Moleski’s A-list clientele ranges from Jennifer Hudson to Gwyneth Paltrow to Julianne Hough. And if you loved Carrie Underwood’s wedding lashes, those were Stephen’s work, too. He designed and customized the “Heart” lash for Carrie, and since then it’s become the must-have for celeb weddings and Carrie’s go-to lash.

Love Carrie Underwood’s Heart lash? Find it and other’s by Stephen Moleski at Smoke and Mirrors Beauty http://www.smokeandmirrorsbeauty.com/smb_shop_lash_hrt001.html

Love Carrie Underwood’s Heart lash? Find it and other’s by Stephen Moleski at Smoke and Mirrors Beauty.

Want a lesson with Stephen? Thanks to his friend and local makeup artist Eri Vincent of Molinari Models and Talent, you can have one. Clear your schedule for Sunday, January 20, or Monday, January 21, because Eri has arranged a master class with Stephen from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., both days in downtown Sarasota. Stephen will teach that famous smokey eye and take us step-by-step through the process of how to apply natural, clean, beautiful makeup.

Cost of the class is $300 and the first 30 people receive a pretty fabulous gift bag of some of Stephen’s favorite and essential products. And if you have a student ID, the class is $225.

For tickets, contact Eri Vincent at (941) 284-7844 or eri@erivincentmakeup.com.

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You have such an impressive and growing resume, when did you know you had hit success in the beauty industry?
I still don’t think I’ve hit it, but the very first time I realized I made an impression was when people from around the world sent messages to me through MySpace after seeing me on TV or loving Kim Kardashian’s makeup. I did have a touching moment while watching a Mario Lopez interview with American Idol’s Pia, who I worked with on the show. Mario asked about her favorite AI memory, and Tia replied that when she made it big she “wanted Stephen Moleski to do her makeup, and now I’m working with him.” It really touched me.

What’s your biggest industry challenge?
The hardest thing is to get women out of their comfort zones and into a fresher look. I just don’t want them to get them stuck in rut. Even celebrities have their “things”; for example, Kim Kardashian loved a dark smokey eye, and eventually we adapted it with softer browns.

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I’m kind of obsessed with lashes at the moment. Tell us about your chic Smoke and Mirrors Beauty lash line. How did that evolve?
My longtime friend and business partner Niki Toney-Pressley and I had always wanted to start a company. One day Kris Kardashian, who’s a brilliant businesswoman, asked me why I didn’t have my own line. So I gave it some thought. I was always buying lashes and customizing them, and since everyone knew me for it we came up with Smoke and Mirrors Beauty. We have the lashes now, but we’re growing into more. We want to expand the business with other industry experts–for example, hair products and makeup brushes signed off on by respected beauty artists.

What would most people be surprised to learn about you?
Now that there’s Twitter and Facebook, not much! I post everything from being a gym rat to my love of family, and that if I wasn’t a makeup artist I’d be a chef. I love to cook.

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Since we’re in the swing of red carpet season, how do you get an A-lister ready for her close up?
First of all, everything is approved through the stylist. The dress comes first, then the hair and makeup concept. And you have to plan for the event. For instance there’s a different vibe for the Golden Globes than the Grammys. It’s a completely involved process, but ultimately the client’s got to feel confident when she walks out the door.

On to some beauty tips for us…

I’m not sure I know a woman who doesn’t have a dark circle to cover. What’s your advice on brightening up those pesky under-eyes?
My trick, which I’ll teach in the class, is a good concealer and, believe it or not, pink powder. Set the concealer with the powder and it instantly brightens the eye.

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What common mistake do you see women make when it comes to their makeup?
Trying to do a new look when they’re in a rush. For instance, don’t try a smokey eye or new lashes when you’re on a time crunch or the night of the date/event; you’ll get frustrated and abandon the idea. Experiment with a new look when you have time. Get a glass of wine–not too many though, and practice. Take a photo, wash it off and go to bed.
I’m sure all of us would like to take a peek in your makeup kit. Tell us your go-to products.
Beauty Blender, which is a must have pink sponge in the shape of an egg–the blending is amazing. I always have a Japonesque eyelash curler with me–it’s the best I’ve ever used. And Sensual Skin enhancer by Kevyn Aucoin and L’Oreal mascara.

How do we keep our makeup application skills fresh?
Get instructions from a professional or take a class like this one. The perfect way to stay fresh and hip is to know the latest trends and it’s always good to learn new techniques.

And before we go, what’s next for you?
There are always a lot of things on my plate. I’m an Aries; I like to stay busy. At the moment, I’m putting the final touches on a new lash line of demi and individual lashes for the everyday woman. I’m definitely doing more education programs like this one around the country and wherever else that takes me. In addition, I’ll soon be launching a three-week finishing school in Atlanta for hair and makeup. Not only will students master techniques with me, but I’ll bring in other notable experts like makeup artists for Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson. They’ll also get on-the-job training with lessons in the field, like a live, active photo shoot and working on set.

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Read Heather’s Fashion I.Q. in our January issue, follow her on Twitter @heatherDUNHILL or subscribe to her updates on Facebook.

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