Francesca Giaimo: The Face Grace

GA 20 | Making Things Pretty

 

She has a YouTube channel with tutorials called Francesca Make Me Pretty… and she will. Francesca has a degree in art from LMU and has been doing makeup since she was a teenager. Her mother is a hairstylist and her father was an art director. Making things pretty is in her genes. She’s been in the business for over twenty years. She went from working at makeup counters to freelancing to being the beauty editor of Darling Magazine to working at E! News currently and continuing to work with high profile private clients or anyone who wants to book her for a special occasion. Less is more is her motto. Amplifying everyone’s natural beauty and making people feel like the best versions of themselves is what she’s after. She says spend a few minutes getting ready in any way that makes you feel good, as an act of kindness to yourself, then go out, be of service in the world connecting with humanity without obsessing in the mirror for the rest of the day.

Listen to the podcast here:

Francesca Giaimo: The Face Grace

Francesca Giaimo came and sat with me. I love her so much. She’s a face sorceress. She’s a makeup artist who’s done everyone and done everything starting as an artist and maybe going to go back as an artist. She has worked at makeup counters. She has done music videos and she works on private clients and for E! News. She’s amazing at what she does and I hope you like what she has to say about makeup and where real beauty comes from. Welcome to the show, Francesca.

Jenny, I’m so excited.

It has been pointed out to me that you are the second Francesca in a row because we had Franki Floro, but you go by Francesca.

Yes, I was Frani growing up. I don’t know what’s going on at work, but they have started calling me Fran.

How are you with Fran?

I don’t care what you call me as long as you call me, but if we could add an I onto it to make it Frani. Fran sounds like I’m going to make ambrosia salad and come over to play bridge later.

Fran doesn’t sound like what you do, Frani does. You are the most wonderful makeup artist.

That is kind of you to say that.

I wish I could have you all the time in my life and it’s not like I get my makeup done all the time. I wish that was my truth. For special occasions, once or twice a year, if we ever get family photographs, I text you. I had a wedding and people were getting their makeup done and it was the most perfect and awesome excuse for you to bring my face from tragic to magic.

I love that. I haven’t heard that, from tragic to magic. That’s cute. I know zero to hero, but tragic to magic is nice and you’re not tragic. Internally, people can be tragic but on the outside, I never think people are tragic.

I felt that you are an amplifier of beauty. I never feel when you do my makeup, it’s never heavy-handed. It never looks like, “This might be good in twelve hours when I sweat it off.” It looks great. I wanted you and maybe your very talented friends can start a dry bar for makeup.

That sounds like a lot of work. Do I have to be there? I just own half of it or something.

Can’t you do a little show session for people? You’re like, “No, I don’t want to do that.”

Maybe many years ago, I would’ve done that but now, I don’t need to.

How did you get into it? You are an artist, a painter.

I grew up in a family full of artists.

I can tell by the pictures of your family.

They’re pretty stylish.

Your dad is the most dapper man I’ve ever seen.

When we go out together, people think he’s my much older lover, which is disgusting. He’s got a great style. He’s retired now, but he was an art director.

He could be a personal shopper or stylist.

He takes me shopping and I trust him implicitly to be like, “You can pick that out for me.”

Does he ever choose something and you say like, “No?”

He likes my style. I am preppy. I like to look like a boy from the 1950s who put on his mom’s red lipstick.

I feel it has a very French new wave flair.

I want to be a blue-collar dad with the mom in the 1950s and a mixture of Stand By Me.

I think you got it.

Thanks.

You are a family full of artists.

My mother is a hairstylist. She is still working. She is still doing hair at the age of 71. My stepdad worked for Olympus cameras, so he is always out and about with his camera. My stepmom is a painter.

It was everywhere surrounding you.

In high school, I wanted to be a nutritionist. I was on the brink of an eating disorder and I loved counting calories. I thought, “I’m going to go into nutrition and I’m going to help people who have HIV and cancer.”

I’m going to count calories for the rest of my life.

It was the ‘80s and ‘90s. It’s all about the Devil’s Food Cake, SnackWell’s.

I did like those. They were delicious.

Yes, if it’s fat-free.

Often, what's right in front of you seems obvious to everyone else but you. Click To Tweet

If it’s fat-free, it’s great for you, meanwhile it’s poison.

It’s so funny that I wanted to be a nutritionist due to my horrific body image, but I always was drawing and painting all the time.

I’ve seen your doodles, their artwork, their illustrations. You have an Instagram that’s a tiny Instagram account.

That’s something that I’ve shoved away and I find joy in them. I’ve used makeup as my means to have a career. When in reality, I think I have a secondary career.

I believe that. This is so exciting.

I’m changing careers at 42.

Why not? You didn’t become a nutritionist.

I went to Loyola Marymount, which is right down the way, talk about a full circle. I was going to be a nutritionist and then I realized, “This is a lot of science classes, which is not my thing.” I didn’t declare my major until I had to. I was in my third year of Loyola and they looked at me like, “You need to declare a major.” I was like, “I don’t know what I want to do.” When the counselor looked over my records, he goes, “You’re already three-quarters of a way to an art degree.” Every elective I had taken was an art class. I thought, “Okay.” I don’t know why that seems so odd to me to declare art as a major because my whole family is artists.

Often, what’s right in front of you and it seems obvious to everyone else, but it isn’t for you.

I declared my art major. I did receive my bachelor’s degree in Illustration, studio arts and computer graphics.

You know how to do computer graphics too.

Maybe if you gave me Adobe Photoshop 2.0 1996, I can turn something for you. It was retro. I was building websites with HTML code in the class, but that was right at the beginning. We used something called PageMill. This was at the beginning. These were the big Mac computers that were turquoise and orange. The big bubble ones. It was cool and huge.

Did you graduate with a degree in Art?

Yes, I graduated. I was drinking, smoking tons of cigarettes and dating boys who were terrible and horrible. I went back home and moved in with my mom. I got a job at a floral shop that my dad had worked at in high school with the same owners and everything.

Is it in California?

Yes, in La Cañada. It is a small little town near Pasadena. I was Miss La Cañada in 1995. You will laugh really hard. I think a whole eighteen girls tried out.

It’s a big deal.

It is not. I’ll bring you pictures. You’ll be hysterical.

I need to see them. You’re working in a flower shop. Were you good at floral arranging?

I wasn’t allowed to. This was one of the floral shops where you study, you learn how to make arrangements. I ran the register and watered the plants and made deliveries, which was fine. I was like, “That college degree did me good.” I was going on interviews for all these graphic design jobs and I’m not getting the jobs. I even went to one interview where it was airbrushing pornography.

Did you have to do a trial?

No, I walked in and they looked at me. They probably thought, “Lawsuit.” I had a pencil skirt and a tight sweater on too like, “I’m going on a job interview.” I’m 21 and I’m in high heels and it didn’t work out. I don’t think I needed to be airbrushing pornography. I was going out for every job that was out there that was hiring in the graphic design field. Nothing was happening. My mother said to me, “You’ve always loved doing makeup. Why don’t you go to makeup school?” It’s so funny, I never realized that you could do makeup on set. I didn’t think about it. I thought there were five people who did that and that was it.

That’s one of those mythical unicorn careers.

I knew who Kevyn Aucoin was. I was always reading fashion magazines. I had subscriptions to Vogue, Mademoiselle and Bazaar all growing up. I used to go through the pages, look through, study the makeup and I loved it.

Were you always doing different looks on yourself for different events?

I love doing makeup on myself and I used to help other people do their makeup. I would assist my mom sometimes. She would go to a wedding and she’d bring me on. I was sixteen or seventeen years old going in and assisting her and doing makeup. Talk about having confidence in yourself.

Most sixteen to seventeen-year-olds have incredible confidence. They don’t know any better. They think they’re incredible at everything and it’s awesome. I wish we could all keep a little bit of that because later on, you have to temper your delusions and take it down a notch but maybe not all the way because you’re so freaking good.

I go to makeup school full-time for three months.

Is that all it is?

Yes. There’s a cosmetology school which you can go to, which is a nine-month program. That’s hair, nails, that’s so you can get licensed so that you can do hair in a salon. As a makeup artist, you don’t need to have a license to work on set. You don’t even need a makeup certification. You need to know the right people and be good or have people like you.

You can’t just jack up people’s faces.

You can and I’ve seen it. Three months in a school and I had started dating this guy who I had gone to college with and we had both graduated. It turns out he was a budding music video director. I was going to school and totally falling in love with Frank. Frank and Frankie, that was at that time in our lives. We were head over heels in love with each other and he was making music videos. Once I graduated from my makeup school, he was like, “Do you want to work on music videos?” This was at the height of music videos. This was 2000 when music videos were everything. There were budgets. There weren’t iPhones yet, so people weren’t recording stuff. I feel like you could make a music video on your iPhone at this point.

Now you can.

It was a big deal and the budgets were crazy.

Were you the head makeup artist on these videos?

I was on a few. My first experience as a makeup artist was pretty traumatizing.

GA 20 | Making Things Pretty
Making Things Pretty: Makeup artists don’t any license or certification to work on set. You just need to know the right people and be good or have people like you.

 

Was it all men?

It was a rap video. I don’t want to say who the musicians are. In this industry, you never want to speak poorly of anybody. They were very kind, but they were very inebriated. I remember them having guns on set and being drunk and high.

This is a bad combination.

I was the only makeup artist and they had hired 50 extras on set. They didn’t hire makeup artists to take care of the extras. There are four or five guys in this group and I was in charge of them. I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off because at that point I was so inexperienced. I had never been a makeup artist on set before. They were thrown in as doing lead talent. I didn’t know I could go to production and say, “I can’t do this. I am only one person.” I didn’t have an assistant. I had nothing.

You did 55 people.

I was doing the main guys. They had two camera units, so I was running across the Universal lot from one place to the next. Nowadays, I have enough experience to say, “I only do the four-lead people.”

Four is a lot.

I thought if I said I wasn’t able to do it, it meant I wasn’t good at my job. I called my mom and had her come the next day to assist me. I still didn’t even go into production and say, “Hey.”

Did your mom come and make everybody with you? She’s a sweetheart.

She came and helped me because I had a full-blown anxiety attack. I was freaking. At the end of the shoot, they handed me $2,000 in cash for two days of work. I was 21 and they’re like, “We’ll pay you out of petty cash.” I didn’t get taxed. I was like, “Maybe it wasn’t that bad. Maybe I can do this.” I did it for a couple more music videos and I was like, “This is too nerve-racking for me. I didn’t feel experienced yet.”

That must have given you some good experience working on set, working with people and working under pressure.

Yes, and then I said this isn’t for me. I went and got a job at Macy’s Prescriptives counter.

I loved Prescriptives. That was a good brand.

It is such a good brand.

It was so good.

It is way too ahead of its time.

It has folded now, hasn’t it?

No, they have an online presence. They’ve minimized the number of products in the line, but they still have the Super Line Preventor.

I liked their stuff.

I became one of their custom blend foundation experts. I would be at the counter and all of my clients would come in. People who couldn’t find a match for their skin tone with their foundation because, at that time, it was very limited. You’d go to Clinique and you had Fair Bisque, they had Ivory. It was harder to find foundations, especially for African-American skin and Asian skin.

What did African-American women or Asian women do?

It was Shu Uemura at the time and Shiseido, but still things were quite pink and then African-American women were doing Fashion Fair. I don’t even know if Iman had come out with her line, yet. It was very limited and frustrating. With my art background and color theory expertise, I became a good foundation maker. I loved it. That was such a good education for me.

Someone who’s not in your business, that to me is the most important thing is getting the color right. The custom-made blends must have been good. When I go somewhere and I see the big line in between my jawline and my neck, it’s so gross.

You want to look like you. That’s always been my motto with makeup. That job taught me so much and that’s where I met Nikki.

That’s how I met you. We have a mutual friend in Nikki. She is so great.

I haven’t seen her in a few months. You’d think we live 3,000 miles away from each other.

I live two blocks from her. I haven’t seen her in years, but she’s awesome. Did you work there together for how long?

I was at Prescriptives for almost a year and then I heard that Neiman Marcus was hiring. People don’t talk about money enough. I was making $11.25 an hour at Macy’s. I’m living in Beverly Glen with my then-boyfriend, Frank, the music video director. He’s off doing music videos. We got married, the whole shebang. I find out that my old boss gets a job at Neiman Marcus and she says, “They start at $20 an hour and I was like, “That’s an enormous difference.”

Your old boss from Prescriptives left and went to Neiman’s and told you?

I was like, “What am I doing here?” I got an interview over at Neiman Marcus for this very high-end skincare line called ReVive. It is so expensive.

Is it still around?

Yes, it is. They used human growth factor. This was in 2002. They had glycolic acid cream ahead of its time and I was 24 years old.

You don’t need any of that stuff. You still have human growth hormones pumping through your veins.

I was laughing because they offered me the job and they said, “How does $20 sound? I said, “A year?” I thought they were offering me $20,000. I said, “Is that a year?” “No, $20 an hour.” I was like, “I could almost double my salary.” I thought I was a millionaire.

You’ve made it. You’ve arrived.

I’m going to go in and I’m going to sell $600. I’m not kidding you. The vitamin C serum was $600.

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Would you make any commission on that or just hourly?

No, just hourly. Nobody wants to buy an unknown $600 serum from a 25-year-old girl.

Did it not go well?

I was in between La Mer and La Prairie or something. I was like, “That job gave me agita.” I was not making the numbers.

You have to make a quota.

I got phone calls all day. People were checking the numbers going, “There was a return. Why aren’t you selling anything? What’s going on?” I lasted for three months.

Did you quit or were you fired?

I had to quit. I had hives all over my body. I was not in a good place. It’s like smoking far limit lights.

It sounds so stressful and then coming back and working on people’s faces with your cigarette hands.

I was like, “I can’t do this.” It’s a high-pressure world of expensive skincare. Laura Mercier, which was across the way, they knew I was so miserable doing skincare. Somebody over there said, “Do you want to become an artist for Laura Mercier?” I needed to go back to doing makeup artistry because I was trying to sling lotion.

It’s a $600 lotion when you don’t have any lines on your face.

I would lie. I would tell people I was 32. I remember thinking if I tell them I’m 32, they’re going to think that like, “She looks amazing.”

I worked in a really high-end lingerie store in college. It was very fancy. It was called the Bra Smyth in New York and they sold everything. I was eighteen to twenty at the time. I had enormous natural boobs. They were up to my neck because I was that age. Women would come in their 40s and ask me if I had a pushup bra and if I had my boobs done. I would lie and be like, “Yes, it’s all in the bra.” If I take this bra off, my boobs too are down to my navel. We had to work. You had to sell the fantasy. Laura Mercier saved you.

Laura Mercier saved me and I’ve never been a salesperson. It’s not in my nature to upsell.

The anti-salesperson is the salesperson that most people are obsessed with.

That’s why I became the best salesperson because I was sitting people down in the chair doing their makeup and giving them a lesson while I was doing it. Sometimes, they’d buy $1,500 worth of makeup because people at Neiman’s are not messing around. This is where I blossomed and learned so much about makeup artistry. I was starting to do training. When they put Laura Mercier in Sephora, I would go in there and teach the employees at Sephora about the line and educating. I was doing little masterclasses at Nordstrom where people would pay to have private lessons. A group of six women would have a conference room upstairs and we would have a little brunch for them and I would walk them through a group makeup lesson.

I wish I had been in one of those.

They were really fun. It got my groove at the Grove.

It is the hottest place on Earth. The happiest place on Earth too. How long were you there?

I wasn’t just at the Grove. I traveled for Laura Mercier anywhere in the Los Angeles area, wherever they needed training or artistry, normally at Neiman’s and Saks in Beverly Hills. There was one in Palos Verdes or Santa Barbara when they had those Saks Fifth Avenues. That was good. I got to move around a little bit and I felt more respected because I was a visiting artist. They offered me to travel around the USA.

Did you take that?

No, I didn’t. For me, it felt like I had my husband and my dog. I didn’t want to be traveling all the time. It didn’t seem a smart thing to do for my marriage at the time. I didn’t go and Laura Mercier offered me a job at the Warren Tricomi Salon in West Hollywood, which they have a salon in New York, but then they put me into the West Hollywood location.

Was that fun?

It was fun because Warren Tricomi was brand new and they were filming an offshoot of the Blow Out series. That’s the reality show with John.

I know the one you mean, but I don’t know the name.

It was called Blow Out. Brandon was the bad boy on the show who rode a motorcycle. He was working at the Warren Tricomi Salon. It’s like, “We’re going to do a reality show here.” I thought, “I’m going to be famous because I’m going to be the makeup artist in the salon where they’re shooting the reality show.” They shot one episode, the pilot and it never got picked up. I ended up working at the Warren Tricomi Salon for a couple of years as their resident makeup artist.

Are you doing everybody, all different kinds of faces?

Yes, but it is not very busy in a hair salon. I met so many talented hairdressers. I met Kristie Streicher who is an amazing brow person. She is the brow artist at Warren Tricomi, as well as my girlfriend, Stevi Christine, who has her own line of brow products now. Kristin Ess, who has her whole hair care line now. We have so many good people and then they were filming The Hills. The girls would come in and get their hair and makeup done in there and sometimes they’d film. It is so 2000s.

From there, did you move into the studio system?

I ended up going through a divorce with Frank. Frank and Frankie were no more.

You are now married to a wonderful Italian man.

He’s not Italian. Santino Stoner, he just had an Italian name because his parents liked it.

It’s a great name. You went through a divorce.

I went through a divorce and I was like, “Since I’m already going through so many changes, why don’t I quit my job at the salon and go full freelance?”

That’s so smart.

It was very ballsy. I was not busy enough to be doing that.

GA 20 | Making Things Pretty
Making Things Pretty: Going through an unexpected change in your life could be a springboard for something better.

 

You’ve made yourself busy enough now.

It’s several years later. I moved home once again with my mother. I quit my job and I was working a lot with Spike TV at the time. I scraped on by. I did that until a couple of years ago.

Now, you’re in the studio system, but you also have many high-profile private clients, YouTube stars. For a while, you were involved in a magazine.

I was the editor of a magazine called Darling and we were known for no retouching. That’s very important. I was the beauty editor of Darling. That was nice. I got to write some articles and meet a lot of great people.

How is it in the studio system?

I love it. People are like, “It’s an overnight success.” I’m like, “I’ve been doing this for many years.” Now I’m on a TV show three to four days a week. I work at E! News now.

They always look great on that show. People are beautiful.

Before I started there, I was like, “The hair and makeup on everybody looks good.” That’s been great. I’ve met so many wonderful people there. My routine is, I like it.

You are three days a week on set, then you have lots of private clients. People who use you, the YouTube stars or weren’t you recently the present to somebody? They flew you in for their best friend’s wedding.

I flew to Martha’s Vineyard on a little seven-seater plane.

They’re terrifying, but also so fun. You put a picture of the bride on Instagram. She was ridiculously stunning.

She was my very good friend’s best friend from college. She’s a very natural beauty. She is stunning. She was afraid of getting her makeup done on her wedding day because she didn’t want to look like not herself. Her best friend flew me in. Without me, she would’ve looked beautiful. She’s stunning, but I was very honored to be a part of a beautiful wedding day.

At least, how it feels to me is less is more. I never feel that you have spackle on my face. If you’re a woman, when you’re young, you get a hall pass to do whatever. Even if you have too much makeup on, you still look gorgeous because you’re twenty and juicy and whatever. As a woman, let’s say the late 30s to late 40s, it is the time where it needs to be a little less.

I’m wearing mascara now, which is crazy. When I go to work, I have a very specific look that I do because I get up at either 4:15 in the morning to be there at 5:30 because we have early call times. First of all, I don’t like how I look with a lot of makeup on. I don’t feel comfortable, so I dye my eyelashes black. I’m this weird little contradiction of be all-natural but do the little things that help you get by. I’m dyeing my eyelashes black. Little things to make you feel you’re pulled-together without having to do it. I have to wear glasses now when I’m working. Those have saved me because those big black reading glasses with a red lip is an instant accessory. You look pulled together too.

You have no foundation on because your skin looks wonderful. Skincare is obviously huge.

I’m big on skincare. I don’t know if you followed me along.

I want to talk about your cystic acne journey. It’s important because your skin right now is flawless and glowing and pretty magnificent.

I never thought I would have skin like this ever.

I did follow along and you would teach people or how you would cover your pimples and I would see what you were talking about. You definitely had some acne.

I had pretty bad cystic acne for a few years and I tried everything and nothing worked. I finally went on a prescription, it’s known as Accutane light, Spironolactone. That tamps down the androgens which are your male hormones in your body and it’s a potassium-sparing diuretic. You’ve got to get your levels checked and make sure you’re not eating too many bananas or avocados and things like that. It was a miracle for my skin.

You and one other person I know has taken it and the results are phenomenal. It is perfect. When I stopped breastfeeding Ray, my second child, I got horrific acne for a couple of months. They had me do the test. They said, “You should absolutely go on this Spironolactone.” For whatever reason, it went away after a couple of months. I feel my body calmed down and I haven’t, but I would go on it in a heartbeat next time.

I don’t ever want to stop taking it.

Do you have to stop it?

I’m not a big proponent of drugs and stuff, but my vanity is taking over and I’m like, “My skin is so pretty.”

Your skin looks fresh and glowy.

For foundation, I have a favorite right now.

What is it?

It’s ILIA Beauty. It’s an all-natural brand and I’ve been using something called Serum Foundation.

Do you have that on now?

I use their translucent powder. I have the ILIA and I also have a favorite SPF.

What is it?

It’s a brand called Karyng. It’s a dermatologist by Karyn Grossman. She has her own line. It is 90% nature, 10% science. It’s a natural way of treating the skin. She does a retinol serum that I love and her SPF 50. Her line is called Karyng like Karyn G. That SPF 50 is titanium dioxide. It’s a natural sunscreen and I think that it is so good for acne. It’s what’s in Desitin for diaper rash. It’s very soothing to the skin.

I’m looking at your face. Everything looks beautiful, it is glowy and flawless. You have a tiny bit of foundation on, SPF. You have deep blush or bronzer on.

I’m into natural stuff. This is a brand called cocokind. It is very natural based out of San Francisco, woman-owned.

Who doesn’t love a woman-owned brand and smaller companies?

It’s a big ChapStick but it’s a highlighter stick. This one’s called mai-light.

Makeup should be made for any skin color. Click To Tweet

You’re pretty fair.

I’m pretty fair to medium. I’m definitely not alabaster, but in the ‘90s I would go very alabaster with my foundations because of that, white skin and brown lipstick look.

For any woman getting up, if they want to look their best and great for the day doing whatever they were going to do, whether it was school or work or going out with friends. Your look to me is perfect. It’s very put together. It doesn’t look like a lot. It looks like it was nothing. How long did it take you?

Five minutes. I don’t like to spend a lot of time hemming and hawing over what I look like because I don’t think it’s healthy. I honestly think it’s important as people, men or women, that when we get ready in the morning, we take pride in ourselves. We get ourselves together because that’s important. It shows self-respect and kindness towards yourself and getting yourself together in a way that makes you feel good. Whether that’s your outfit or you love red lipstick or you’ve got to put that pomade in your hair, whatever it is, do that. The rest of the day go and be of service to others and interact with the world and try not to look in the mirror too much. I’m in front of a mirror all day long.

Your advice for women of all different ethnicities is to find a foundation that works for you.

That is if you need it. I’m the anti-makeup makeup artist. I don’t feel anybody needs makeup. We need water and sunlight and shelter. We don’t need makeup.

For basic things, if you need foundation.

Put a moisturizer on. Curl your eyelashes. Everybody’s different.

When you are doing something for a shoot or you’re doing my makeup for the wedding, you discuss the look.

That is the most important thing because I could do makeup all day long and it could be absolutely gorgeous, but if it doesn’t suit the style of the person whom I’m working with, then it doesn’t do them any good. If you don’t feel pretty or beautiful or like yourself, then it’s not going to work.

I only get my makeup done once or twice a year. It’s so much fun when we get to have those conversations. You asked me to send you pictures of stuff I like and what am I thinking?

What are you going to wear? What kind of look do you want to go for?

It is so fun. It’s very exciting.

You’re fun to do makeup on because you don’t mind makeup. You’re more of a challenge because you want to look you’re made up and gorgeous but not heavy-handed, which is making it look so easy. That’s the hardest thing to do.

You do it so well. I love it every time you do it. I want to say to our readers, if you do have a special occasion or an event or you’re getting pictures, you can reach out to Francesca. If she is free, she will come to your home. You have the easiest energy and she will make you look stunning.

That is so sweet of you. I really appreciate that.

People should know because if it is once a year and it is a special occasion. It’s clearly not something I can do regularly, although I wish. We all sometimes get to get a little glammed up.

Some people need a few individual eyelashes glued on and by a few, I do twenty on each eye.

You’re on Instagram, @CescaDarling.

That’s the handle also known as Mrs. Stoner since that’s my married name to Santino.

Can we talk about your illustrations, which may become a second career? You made your wedding cake.

The cake topper and the invitation. I do these little drawings that I guess they would be considered almost like children’s illustrations that have more of an adult tone, like a Shel Silverstein.

That’s a good analogy.

I do write and draw.

Did you sell T-shirts at one point?

I have had T-shirts. I had a book of poetry that I was selling for a while.

You’re creative everywhere.

I am creative, but I’m waiting for that. Some season’s going to come and I’m going to be burnt out on the makeup and I’m going to feel I have to express myself.

You do an amazing job at less is more. You are an artist because I’ve seen your work on all different people of different ages, different skin tones. Everybody looks so beautiful.

That’s my favorite part of the job. I want people to feel their best selves, how they imagine themselves.

The best version that they can be. You’re also secretly very good at hair. I know that that’s not your thing. You don’t talk about that a lot, but you’re good.

The reason I don’t talk about doing hair is that I hate carrying around a whole extra bag of hair stuff. How much makeup I have to carry around?

That’s true but you’re really good at hair.

I’m good at an undone hairstyle.

The day after I’ve washed my hair, you make some good things happen. For anybody who might have gone to a makeup school or is coming out of makeup school, how long did it take you to get your kit together?

It’s constantly evolving.

GA 20 | Making Things Pretty
Making Things Pretty: You can do the most gorgeous makeup on a client, but if they don’t feel good, beautiful, or like themselves, it is not going to work.

 

You have a whole suitcase.

It’s a big clamshell suitcase that I divide up into categories. It depends. Some brushes I’ve had for many years. I love my brushes, but makeup you’re constantly rotating and I’m buying new eyeshadow palettes. What foundation am I into right now and companies send me things and I try things out. I have my old diehards like Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage will forever and always be my favorites.

Is that a concealer?

Yes, for covering pimples, nothing is better. Don’t put it under your eye. They are too dry.

What do you use under the eye? That’s where I need it here.

What I love under the eye is that little Garnier roll-on thing from CVS.

I love CVS. I love drugstore brand things.

It’s a little rollerball.

You are the one who told me about the mascara.

That’s my favorite mascara. It is Maybelline. The name cracks me up. This goes to show you what people are trying to sell you. It’s Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Angel Mascara.

That mascara could’ve been sold in my bra store. We were all selling the same thing.

Pick one name, but not all the names.

It was great stuff.

It’s like a little comb and I like waterproof because it makes them stand up. If your eyelashes droop, get a waterproof mascara. That helps them stand out. It holds the curl better.

You are great at hair. When you travel, do you always have all the different color foundations at the ready?

If I don’t know who I’m working with, I always make sure I have a color range that can suit every skin tone and then I can mix and match. I do that because African-American women and Asian women have not been represented as far in the makeup ranges. They’re doing so much better now with the makeup shade ranges. Fenty came out with her range and there was from albino, from the fairest of the fare to the darkest and I mean true dark, not like middle of the road colors. There has been a huge improvement in that, but every makeup artist should show up to a set ready to do anybody. I can’t emphasize that enough. It’s not fair to the talent that sits in your chair. That’s not right.

Everybody should be able to have a color that works that matches.

Exactly and always.

I love you. Thank you for coming.

I’m honored.

I can’t wait until I get to book you next time. Hopefully, I have something exciting coming.

You’ll have to have another baby so you can have another family shoot.

I would love another baby but my husband is not about it. I’ll have to either have an event, a girl’s night or a wedding.

We can go get a drink.

You’ll make me look pretty. Did you use to have your YouTube?

It’s still up. It’s YouTube.com/cescadarling and I had a little theme song that my sister-in-law wrote for me, Make Me Pretty.

Cesca makes me pretty is pretty much how I feel all the time. Could you bust out some brushes? Thank you.

Thanks for having me.

You are a serious artist. You make me look and feel better.

I’ll come back when my book is published. I’m putting it out on the vision board.

You should, that stuff works. Thank you.

Thanks, Jenny.

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About Francesca Giaimo

GA 20 | Making Things PrettyHello! I am Francesca Giaimo, a Los Angeles based makeup artist who was born in New York City and raised in Pasadena, California by a family full of creative types.

Surrounded by photographers, hairstylists, illustrators and designers, I became interested in the arts at a young age. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Arts from Loyola Marymount University in 1999 and then received my certification from Joe Blasco School of Makeup in Hollywood the following year.

I have been a working makeup artist since graduating (my first job was a Bone Thugs ‘n’ Harmony music video, remember them?) and I am currently the Beauty Editor of Darling Magazine. I find joy in making my clients feel beautiful through my natural and unintimidating approach to makeup and of course, my sometimes wacky sense of humor… A smile, after all, is the quickest way to look your best!

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