Photographed by: Nadia Albano
I’m standing in the elevator heading up to the MAC Pro Loft in New York, and I can’t help but feel giddy as I am about to meet some very talented Pro Artist, and one of them is going to do my makeup! Let’s be real here, I’m usually the one doing everyone else’s makeup, so of course I’m super excited that the rolls are being reversed and that I get to be pampered this time! As the elevator doors open, I step into the main entrance and am amazed at how beautifully designed this space is. I feel like I’ve died and gone to MAC heaven! I mean this place huge and is fully set up with it’s reference library and a photography studio, where some of the campaigns are photographed! After taking a look around, I was introduced to MAC Pro Artist, Marissa Jade Willinsky, who set me up a the makeup station and began my makeup consultation. What a doll! Marissa has been with MAC on-and-off for 12 years and has quite an extensive resume. She was part of the glam squad for Lady Gaga, Brittany Spears during their world tours, and has assisted backstage at several New York Fashion Week events. She oozes talent and it’s clear that she LOVES her career! You MUST check her out on Instagram (@therealmarissajade). My before-and-after reveal of the makeup she created for me is at the end of this post – LOVESKY!
In the mean time, I’m feel extremely privileged to have been able to interview MAC Senior Artist, John Stapleton; a veteran at MAC for 19 years. Stapleton is a makeup artist, writer and filmaker from Brooklyn, New York and now calls LA home. He’s worked on countless celebrities including Kelly Osbourn, Margaret Cho and Sienna Miller, to name a few. His artistry has graced the pages of some of the top magazine publications, on screen and of course backstage at some of the most prestigeous fashion catwalks. You are going to get a kick out of him; he’s handsome, charming, witty and extremely well versed in the world of MAC. Here’s what he shared with me…
What are some makeup essentials that every girl traveling to New York must have?
Pepper Spray. An umbrella. A pair of good walking shoes. All kidding aside, a great mascara and a good lipstick can take you very far.
When did M∙A∙C Pro open its doors?
M∙A∙C Pro opened in 1998 at 139 Fifth Avenue in New York City.
What makes M∙A∙C Pro unique? Can anyone work there and/or shop there?
Anyone can shop (or potentially work) at M∙A∙C Pro – though I dare say we hire the best of the bunch when it comes to staffing. We have an amazing client base – Oscar winners, Emmy winners, all of the industry’s best – who come to shop and who expect knowledgeable service and answers when it comes to the particulars of their production. M∙A∙C Pro is unique because we carry one hundred percent of the line there including accessories, body-painting supplies, airbrush products and all of our professionally geared products.
MAC is loved and recognized all around the world. What has made this brand so successful?
All the wonderful products wouldn’t add up to anything if we didn’t actually enjoy each other and enjoy what we do. We love makeup, we love to be creative, and we love a party and celebrating the individual. It’s like being invited to a great party that you never want to leave. Isn’t it always about the people? The people make this brand great.
How can brides achieve flawless skin on their wedding day?
Drink lots of water the entire week before – it will have huge results. Moisturize skin day and night, and condition lips at night the entire week before. Exfoliate often. Use a primer and your favorite foundation day of. Choose the most flattering Instagram filters!
I work with many local and destination brides. What are your tips for achieving the best, long lasting bridal makeup look?
Primer! It helps control oil and apply makeup evenly. Carry blot film, too. I prefer these over powdering because they remove the oil instead of adding another layer of powder and oil. Try a foundation with a long-wearing claim; M∙A∙C’s Pro Longwear series is incredible for lasting results.
You’ve worked backstage at a New York Fashion week. What were some runway trends that stood out to you?
Yes, I have. I was really happy to see the return of blush. There were a lot of flushes of coral and pink on the cheeks during SS15. I’m hoping we walk away from the stony contour colors and embrace a glowing apple of the cheek.
What are you tips for aspiring makeup artist trying to break into the industry?
Starting at a makeup counter is a great place to get your career off the ground. It’s a revolving door of ages, faces, and races. You can learn a lot about dealing with people and their needs at a cosmetic counter.
What’s on your M∙A∙C makeup top 10 list?
1. M∙A∙C Cosmetics Studio Face and Body Foundation: It looks like real skin and feels great to wear. Best kept Hollywood secret!
2. M∙A∙C Cosmetics Eye Shadow in Soft Brown: The perfect backdrop to any eye makeup. It’s a warm-toned shadow for all skin types and works great in a crease or on a lid.
3. M∙A∙C Cosmetics Lipstick in Candy Yum Yum: Putting this on Kelly Osbourne changed the lipstick game. It’s the greatest hot pink on the market.
4. M∙A∙C Cosmetics In Extreme Dimension Lash: Thick, black, gel-like mascara that adds tons of volume and drama.
5. M∙A∙C Cosmetics Cream Colour Base in Virgin Isle: This can be worn on cheeks, lips and eyes. I’m a huge fan of coral!
6. M∙A∙C Cosmetics Strobe Cream: A facial in a bottle. This glow-y moisturizer takes years off the face when applied to the apples of the cheeks.
7. M∙A∙C Cosmetics Eye Brows in Lingering: A soft taupe to fill in brows. This is one of the most used colors backstage.
8. M∙A∙C Cosmetics Prolongwear Concealer: This concealer means business. Serious coverage. Mixing with the Studio Face and Body Foundation will thin it out for when you need less coverage.
9. M∙A∙C Cosmetics Eye Kohl in Teddy Eye Kohl: Gorgeous frosted brown, perfect for every eye. Smoldering and warm.
10. M∙A∙C Cosmetics Prep + Prime Fix+: The perfect hydrating spray to help makeup adhere- finish off with it after powdering to make skin creamy.
How long have you been working with M∙A∙C Cosmetics?
I’ve been with M∙A∙C 19 years this January – and we’ve never had a fight!
Who are your style inspirations?
I love the work of Way Bandy, who was an incredible makeup artist who made his mark in the seventies.
With Oscars just around the corner, who made your top 3 best makeup list at the Golden Globes this year?
Kelly Osbourne and I have had a long-standing relationship (I’ve worked with her for twelve years), and she has been working with a good friend of mine, Denika Bedrossian, who really knows how to make Kelly look incredible. I think she looked amazing at the Globes.
Thank you, John, for taking the the time out of your busy schedule for this interview; it was fun! You are a superstar; I love following your life, art and work on social media (Instagram: @johnstapleton and Twotter: @MAC_JON_S) and I hope everyone reading this has the opportunity get to know you better!
And now for the big before-and-after makeup reveal created by MAC Artist, Marissa Willinsky (drrrrum roll please
AFTER: DAY LOOK
AFTER: EVENING LOOK
Get the Look:
What an incredible experience! Thank you to EVERYONE at the MAC organization, both in Canada and US. This New York visit with you was the icing on the cake and I really look forward to our next trip!