The Challenges Of Modeling

If you’ve never balanced on a craggy boulder, while freezing your ass off and also managing to muster a facial expression which makes everyone believe that you are having the time of your life, then you have no idea what models often have to endure in order to get “the shot”.

Shot by the late Weiferd Watts in 2010

Modeling often is hard work. Those of you who are snickering need to hear me out. Those elegant or sexy poses which you will often see models in are often incredibly uncomfortable, especially when there are boulders, creepy crawly things, nasty wind gusts, and weather extremes to negotiate as well. Outdoor locations can be teeming with insects, or they may have shards of broken glass everywhere which makes it quite treacherous for a model to strike a pose. Models often have to “cheat” a shoulder or limb, meaning that they have to turn a body part in a certain way to create an angle which looks right in the camera lens, but which feels completely unnatural and often sparks muscle cramps which linger for days after the shoot wraps. I still remember holding a pretzel pose for a full ten minutes while the photographer happily shot away (see blog image at top of this post), but because I put myself into a bit of a meditative state, I was able to hold the pose without much discomfort. Alas, as I have gotten older, my joints are far less forgiving, and I must take a brief break after several frames are shot.

Another major challenge which models constantly face is that they have to evoke certain moods and looks at the drop of a hat, even if they feel ill, tired, bloated, or otherwise uninspired to shoot. If a model can’t convince the photographer, and more importantly, the camera lens, that she is indeed the vision which is called for in a campaign, she can forget about lining up much work as time goes on.

Over the decades in which I have been modeling, I have learned so many tricks which increase efficiency and reduce the risk of injury while on the job. I know what essentials to pack in my bag, even if I end up not using them at all. When shooting on location, I always bring a large black robe, which I refer to as my changing robe, and which gets so much flak from the photographers because it makes me look like a transient when I wear it. If I have to put my bikini-clad ass on a felled tree stump which threatens to deposit some splinters into my flesh, I grab a small towel or scarf to protect my skin. I have also adopted the habit of wearing aqua shoes when on location so that my feet don’t get scorched by hot sand or torn up by rough terrain.

Believe me when I say that being a model isn’t just about standing in front of a camera and looking pretty. Good models WORK HARD, and they maintain a positive, cooperative attitude. Even when the ocean water is freezing cold, or the weather is so blazing hot that makeup is literally melting off, models who know how to be professional will honestly grin and bear it unless it is actually causing frank injury.

Full Makeup For Working Out?

This blog post is dedicated to the ladies who have a compulsion to pile on loads of full face makeup for the gym. While I consider a small amount of clean makeup (eyeliner, waterproof mascara, translucent powder, maybe lipgloss) to be acceptable for a workout, some women spend their time exercising in enough makeup to put Bozo the Clown to shame. It’s one thing if they’re at the gym for a photo or video shoot, but if they’re just at the gym to train, then all they’re doing is clogging their pores and looking ridiculous.

Ladies at gym who wear too much makeup send a message to everyone that they are insecure. Who needs a smoky eye while doing lat pulldowns? I’ve actually seen some heavily made-up women who begin to resemble an abstract painting when their makeup begins to streak and smear from perspiration and contact with the equipment benches. Trust me, if you’re at a gym where people truly care about getting their workouts done, they won’t care if you look like you rolled out of bed or if you look like you’re going to the Academy Awards. Just relax and focus on your training!

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, also known as OCC, is a cruelty-free and 100% vegan makeup line which has won great favor with makeup artists. The key feature in this line of cosmetics is the intensity of pigments used, but it hasn’t quite blown up on the mainstream makeup scene, which makes this company a relatively hidden gem. The most popular product in their line is Lip Tar, which comes in a myriad of brilliant and distinctive shades.


Check them out at:


kim kardashian Before-And-AfterInstagrammers who are into the concept of applying face makeup in a manner similar to warpaint, then blending it in like mad to create a “flawless, airbrushed finish” have been littering the site with countless images of the process. It is now commonplace to see a “before” image juxtaposed with a “during” image in which the subject is covered in a pattern created with highlighter, foundation, and contour shade, and the “after” image. Major makeup lines have launched contour and highlight kits in answer to this makeup trend. Now Kim Kardashian wannabes can use these kits to create an overly “done” look which can transform a person’s face, often to the point of making the person unrecognizable.

While I understand that contouring and highlighting can do wonders for uneven skin tone, uneven texture, dark eye circles, wide noses and indistinct jawlines, I have a couple of problems with the current trend. First off, I see no reason to go through so much contouring and transforming for a daily look. Photo shoots and special events, yes. Going to the grocery store, uh, no. The second issue I have with the contouring trend is that suddenly, every woman thinks she is a makeup artist. Though makeup companies have taken the fuss out of purchasing everything a la carte, using one of the contouring kits requires some skill, especially if a woman wants to do corrective makeup. I have seen women who are relatively clueless about BLENDING. Another thing I have seen is women who pick the wrong foundation shade, which makes the contouring and highlighter look garish. Even men have jumped in on the contouring frenzy (admittedly, most of them are makeup artists), and have developed a regular habit of posting contouring videos featuring themselves as the models.

before-and-after-contouring Mona Lisa

I don’t have a problem with people wanting to improve their personal appearance so that they can look their best, but I honestly think that the makeup frenzy which has become so popular is getting out of hand. Slap a bunch of contour onto a face to create angles which aren’t there, use brow stencils to draw in brow shapes, apply false lashes, draw in a false lip line to create the illusion of fuller lips, and voila! You no longer have to look like yourself, especially if you have jumped on the injectable filler bandwagon and don’t know when to stop filling your cheeks or lips. Allow your natural features and your true beauty to show a little.

Brows Are In

Suddenly, eyebrows are in, and in a big way.

Those of you who are old enough to remember the caterpillars which framed the eyes of Brooke Shields and Margeaux Hemingway might be cringing at the new trend in brows which Kim Kardashian, Ariana Grande and Cara Delevingne have popularized, better known as #EyebrowsOnFleek. What is fleek? Flawless, perfect. So if you have any interest in new makeup trends, you had better make sure those brows are meticulously groomed and filled in.

Brooke brows

Similar to the trend in the early 1980’s, today’s brows are full and thick, but an obsession with drawing in a false silhouette to “shape” the brow has dominated the makeup world. The problem I have with this trend is that it creates a false brow line, rather than accentuating a natural arch. Take a look at this transformation, and you will see what I am talking about.


Women these days are encouraged to keep tweezing to a minimum, and let it all grow out, which means that those who have anemic, pencil-thin brows will be forced to use eyebrow waxes, stencils, permanent tattooing, and even faux brows to create the illusion of much fuller brows. Faux brows? Oh yes. There’s something called lace front brows, which are fantastic for people who have gone through chemotherapy or alopecia.

faux brows

As for me, I plan to work with what Mother Nature gave me. Though I have a sparse area on my left brow, it can easily be filled in with a bit of brow pencil or brow wax. I accentuate my natural arch, and only make my brows look thicker if I have full makeup on with a dark smoky eye. After seeing too many young women with shaped brows which make them look like clowns, I prefer to avoid jumping on the brows-on-fleek bandwagon. It seems to be a trend best suited for the young crowd anyway.

Don’t Sleep In Your Makeup!

sleeping in makeup

There are enough women out there who are in the habit of sleeping with their makeup on that I thought this would be a great topic to tackle in my blog. The three most common reasons why women sleep in their makeup are 1) they don’t want their bedmates to know what they really look like (listen, if you’re that concerned, the object of your love/lust is probably too shallow to be a good catch anyway), 2) they are too lazy to take a few minutes to remove their makeup, or 3) they are too drunk to perform a makeup removal ritual. I am not going to say that I have never fallen asleep with my makeup on, but it is exceedingly rare. I am so fastidious about removing makeup that I do a thorough face cleansing immediately after photo shoots and events, because I can’t stand the feeling of full makeup on my face. I honestly don’t know how many women wear full makeup every single day, and I especially cannot understand how some of them will sleep in those layers of gunk!

I cringe every time I hear a woman say that she frequently sleeps in her makeup, because I immediately think about how her skin is unable to breathe and heal because of all the pollutants, germs and oils which bake into it while she sleeps. Makeup is like a mask, and when it sits on top of the skin at night when you are sleeping, it prevents the cells in the skin from performing their restorative processes. Harmful chemicals from the environment cause free radical formation which goes unchecked when the skin is not cleansed, so the result is dull, prematurely aged skin.

Another reason why sleeping in makeup is unhealthy is that it clogs pores. As if that wasn’t enough, all that caked-on makeup serves as a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. I can always tell when women sleep in their makeup, because their skin has a congested, dull appearance, and acne breakouts are common. Even on the nights when a woman who habitually sleeps in her makeup decides to cleanse her skin, she is re-exposing herself to the bacteria, pollution, and oils which were left on the pillowcase along with the makeup from the evenings when she was too lazy to remove her makeup. In addition, sleeping with full makeup is a sure way to stain pillowcases.

I have actually heard women say that as long as they remove their face makeup, there shouldn’t be any hygienic issues with leaving eye makeup wrong. They couldn’t be more wrong. Eye shadows commonly have highly irritating substances like bismuth in them, and leaving them in contact with the delicate skin of the eyelids can invite eyelid inflammation, aka blepharitis, which is NOT fun at all. In addition, mascara, eye shadow and eyeliner can transfer onto the pillow, then get into your eyes, causing corneal irritation or infection.

Another reason why sleeping in eye makeup is a bad idea is that most mascara formulas dry out the eyelashes, and when left on for prolonged periods of time, can cause them to become extremely brittle. Lashes are more prone to breakage when they are dry. Also, for those of you who dare to sleep in false eyelashes at night, be aware that lash adhesives also tend to be very drying and irritating to the lash line, and can even inhibit lash growth if kept on the lash margin for too long.

Though the best way to cleanse your skin at night is to use a gentle yet thorough cleanser and a motorized brush (Clarisonic makes great brushes, but there are decent drugstore brands too), you should at the very least use a makeup remover towelette. If you are truly lazy, keep the towelettes by your bed so that you can easily grab them and wipe your face and eyes before hitting dreamland.

Depotting MAC Eye Shadows Is Not Fun


Despite the fact that I hardly wear any makeup in my daily life, I have an enormous collection of makeup which I accumulated mostly during 2006 through 2010, when my love for MAC Cosmetics was at its peak. My collection of eye shadows is particularly impressive, with over 80 MAC eye shadows, about a dozen NARS, Chanel, and Chantecaille eye shadows, and roughly 60 MAC loose pigments.

My collection of eye shadow pots was neatly organized in bins, but because I had so many, the shades at the bottoms of the stacks were neglected because I couldn’t see them without digging through the plethora of pots. I kept thinking that I would eventually depot these eye shadows and organize them into palettes, but my busy schedule prevented that from happening for years.

I finally decided last month to depot my MAC eye shadows, and also thought it would be a good idea to depot my MAC blushes, MAC Mineralized Skinfinish bronzers and highlighters, and press the pigments. For those of you who know what all that means, I am sure you are groaning at the idea of depotting that many eye shadow pots, 12 blushes, 17 MSF domes, and all of those pigments. Nevertheless, I was determined.

Before I began the project, I asked a number of professional makeup artists if they had any tips on how to easily depot the eye shadows, and every single one of them told me that it was very challenging.

I decided to start with my MAC blushes. An hour later, I had depotted six of them, but not without denting the pans they were in and crumbling a couple of them, which meant that I was forced to master the art of re-pressing crumbled powder makeup pans. Oh joy. I was so frustrated that I took the rest of the blushes off the list.

MAC blushes depotted and in a MAC Pro Palette Duo.

MAC blushes depotted and in a MAC Pro Palette Duo.

About a week later, I decided to depot my MAC eye shadow pots, which meant sorting them out in groups of 15 by color family, then heating up the pots on my straightening iron. The setup for this project took up the entire dining room table:

Here was my setup for the MAC eye shadow depotting session I had.  The larger pots in the top left of the image are my MAC Mineralized Skinfinishes.  The other pots and small palettes comprise only about half of my MAC eye shadow collection.  The knives, cookie sheet, rubbing alcohol, and magnet sheets you see in the image were used in the depotting process.

Here was my setup for the MAC eye shadow depotting session I had. The larger pots in the top left of the image are my MAC Mineralized Skinfinishes. The other pots and small palettes comprise only about half of my MAC eye shadow collection. The knives, cookie sheet, rubbing alcohol, and magnet sheets you see in the image were used in the depotting process.

The pans were so difficult to wedge out that the pans became dented once again, and shadows crumbled. So I once again had to re-press some of them. I spent about two hours working on the palette pictured below, and became so frustrated with the poor design of the MAC palette and inserts that I moved all the pans over to the Makeup Forever palettes I purchased.

The first palette I attempted.  No more MAC palette nonsense for me!  I got rid of this MAC palette duo, and switched to Makeup Forever palette tins, which are great for the standard MAC eye shadow pans.  The Z-Palette brand is excellent for pressed pigments and domed makeup pans.

The first palette I attempted. No more MAC palette nonsense for me! I got rid of this MAC palette duo, and switched to Makeup Forever palette tins, which are great for the standard MAC eye shadow pans. The Z-Palette brand is excellent for pressed pigments and domed makeup pans.

My first Makeup Forever eye shadow palette with MAC eye shadow pans

My first Makeup Forever eye shadow palette with MAC eye shadow pans

After completing the first eye shadow palette, I got lazy and removed the inner tray from the pots without bothering to remove the pans from them, and placed the trays into the palettes. Less work, and much less frustration meant a happier Stacey.


I spent a third day using my lazy depotting method on the domed MAC eye shadows. I thought it would be easy and safe. I was wrong. I sliced my fingertip and jabbed my right hand three times with the knife I was using to snap the domed shadows from their pots. But after placing them in the domed Z-Palettes, I was a pretty happy camper.


Finally, on my fourth day of makeup organizing hell, I pressed all the small sample jars of MAC loose pigment which I had collected over the years. Those turned out beautifully:


After all that, you would think I was done, but I am still planning to press a portion of the full sized MAC loose pigments I have:

My collection of MAC full sized loose pigments

My collection of MAC full sized loose pigments

I am also considering depotting the MAC Mineralized Skinfinishes, but the thought of them cracking and crumbling worries me. These things are beautiful!

One of my MAC Mineralized Skinfinishes

One of my MAC Mineralized Skinfinishes

A long row of MAC Mineralized Skinfinishes

A long row of MAC Mineralized Skinfinishes

Oh That Jenna Marbles!

I have followed Jenna Mourey, better known as Jenna Marbles, for a while now. She is original, irreverent, and cusses like a drunken sailor, which I totally dig. If you don’t know who this YouTube sensation is by now, I STRONGLY suggest that you look her up on YouTube. You will be amazed. One of her videos has gotten over 64 MILLION views. That’s crazy.

Since I have recently indulged in different lash enhancements like professional lash extensions and Latisse, I was pretty amused when I stumbled across Jenna’s video on what a girl’s eyelashes mean. Check it out and enjoy the laughs!

How I Feel About Makeup

color cosmetics
Though I like the colors featured in cosmetic lines like MAC, and have a massive collection of makeup which includes over 80 pro eyeshadow pans, I am really not a makeup person. Those rainbow hues sit in my giant train case, and are rarely used. I admit that the artist in me was drawn to those shades, and when I get a creative itch, I can create some lovely makeup looks. The problem is that the itch only strikes about once a year.

For the most part, I think daily application of full makeup is totally unnecessary. It looks phony, it’s a waste of time, it clogs and irritates the skin, and it can get pretty pricey.

I LIKE the look of clean skin with no makeup on it, even if the lack of contour makes my face and nose look wider. I don’t really wish to obsess over how perfectly applied my highlighter is, or if my blush will clash with my handbag.

I appreciate the power of contour, but as this image illustrates, this seems awfully extreme and mask-like:
contour ick
I cannot let go of the notion that black eyeliner and berry lipstick are the only important color cosmetics for me to have access to on a daily basis. It’s not that I walk out the door looking like I just rolled out of bed…though most mornings I literally roll out, quickly apply translucent powder and a thin line of eyeliner, throw on gym clothes and am out the door.

But you won’t see me rock ten tons of makeup to go to the gym, the grocery store, work, meetings, or even a nice dinner with friends. If I grab more exotic colors, that means a fancy event is coming up, and my five minute makeup routine suddenly expands to fifteen to thirty minutes, every minute of which I can’t stand. If false lashes are involved, you can be sure that I will be cussing up a storm at some point as the glue refuses to set or the lashes are applied unevenly. Not fun.

I hate the feeling of being encumbered by makeup, and I certainly don’t want to look “different” when I apply more than usual. I am a huge believer in allowing a woman’s natural beauty to come through, and think that makeup should ENHANCE a woman’s beauty instead of being corrective or somehow creating a mask which makes her look like someone else.

If you don’t believe that makeup can make people look very different, check out this video:

I love the freedom of light or no makeup. I love the fact that I never have to worry about smearing something during the day, since I really don’t pack on the paint.

What’s weird is that I can apply a small amount of eye shadow, and it looks like I have a ton on. It stems from the fact that I have large eyes, with a lot of lid. I have also noticed that if I apply black liner to the waterline, I get an instant super sultry eye look, so I have to be careful.

During a recent fitness expo, I had lash extensions on, so I didn’t even wear mascara or false lashes. Despite skipping those steps, my makeup ended up looking rather glam, all because I applied a small amount of eyeshadow and eyeliner.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoy having my makeup done for photo shoots and events. It’s fun for me, because I get to be a living doll. But I will never sign up for a daily makeup routine that enslaves me to my bathroom and has me gazing into my makeup mirror for lengthy periods of time.