Monday, June 30, 2008

Down to Business: Roxanna Floyd

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it takes an army to groom a star and no celebrity worth their weight in gold would make an appearance without first consulting their makeup artist. Celebrity makeup artist, Roxanna Floyd, has beautified the likes of Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Lauren Hill, Ashanti and Halle Berry. She’s also worked for publications such as Essence, InStyle, Redbook, Braids & Beauty and Today’s Black Woman. In the interview below she shares the secrets of her success…

1. You started your career by working at the cosmetic counters of a high-end department store. How did you transform that into the wonderful career you have now?

At the time I did not know that people were paid for being a makeup artist. I never thought about makeup as a career.

At the cosmetic counter I was able to practice and hone my art. As a makeup artist you have the opportunity to work on every types of skin, face and eye shapes. Real women, not pretty models or good looking celebrities, so your skill can really develop under those conditions.

2. You have a BA in Cosmetic Marketing – sounds like a fun degree! Did you also take professional lessons in makeup artistry or are you self-taught?

I do not have a BA in cosmetics marketing. I was registered for classes but got a job with a small family owned business who sold perfume and cosmetics. The family started a small private label cosmetic line and they gave me a hands on, first class education. I learned product development in the lab, cosmetic merchandising and marketing from experience.

I taught myself makeup first and then I when to school. I had a small portfolio and wanted to make sure that I was doing the art correctly. I studied at the now defunct Robert Fiance Beauty Institute in New York.

3. How much of being a makeup artist is about technique verses intuition?

I believe technique is paramount. You can have keen intuition on where to place color, or what colors and shades to use but without solid technique coupled with creativity and a graceful hand, you’re just a person putting on makeup and 'the artist' in makeup artistry does not enter into the equation.

4. Cosmetic companies such as Bobbi Brown insist that all their employees have a firm foundation in makeup artistry. What if you don't have professional experience? What other ways can one break into the industry?

Breaking into the beauty industry is very competitive. There are so many cosmetic companies vying for customers the ability to apply and sell makeup makes a person attractive to a company. Today there seems to no way around having a foundation in makeup artistry not unless you know the one doing the hiring. Sometimes having a background in sales and a strong passion for art or fashion along with great interviewing skills can do the trick.

5. As a creative consultant at CoverGirl what are some of the things you get to do? I understand you were instrumental in the development of the Queen Collection.

As creative consultant for CoverGirl Queen Collection I work on all aspects of the product lineup. I worked with the chemist on formulas and shading as well as the brand manager and creative agencies on marketing ideas. Everything you see with a Queen Collection I had a hand in.

6. Who was your first celebrity client and how did your nerves fare?

I believe my first celebrity client was John Lennon's wife, Yoko Ono. I was working with a music video director and I did her makeup for the video and at the end of the shoot she asked for my telephone number. Yoko was very nice. I was nervous of course; I just wanted to do a good job.

7. When working with a client, especially a famous one, how do you satisfy your creative vision as well as the client? What if what they want just doesn't look good?!

At this point in my career most people know my style and trust me to do a look that will be appropriate.

I stay flexible and open. If I work with a new client I will study their photos to get a feel of their style and I always have a conversation with them to understand expectations.

8. Has being black helped, hindered or been totally irrelevant to your career's success thus far?

Now this is a loaded question! Honestly, being black has worked to my advantage and disadvantage. I had a mentor who would refer to the business in terms of their being two worlds. The white world and the black world. There is racism in both.

We believe black celebrities would hire black creative talent but sometimes they don't. In this age of the celebrity if a black celebrity does not book you for a shoot it's difficult to meet the top photographers. And most of the top photographers already have "my people" (the small select group of makeup artists, hairstylists and fashion stylists that they always work with) it's a catch 22.

9. Now if we can pick your brain for some tricks... How can women correct hyperpigmentation and combat oily skin? The two biggest woes when it comes to finding the perfect makeup!

The best way to correct depends on where it shows up. If you have it on the face there could be two different ways to approach it. First, using skincare products containing alpha hydroxy acid or fruit acid may slowly over time help to fade the dark spot. Second, the quick fix would be to apply a small amount of cover creme a shade lighter than your complexion on the spot. Then apply your foundation to your entire face and finish with powder.

The best way to combat oily skin is to apply oil controlling products to the oily area. Also, blotting tissues and powders all help temporarily. There really isn't any way around oily skin. Besides, oily skin helps you look younger longer - unless there is acne.

10. What one makeup item could you not live without and why?

Believe me after using every makeup product there is, I couldn’t live without all of it!

Visit Roxanna Floyd’s official site at

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Jeans 101: Viva La Color!

Rihanna shopping with dog Oliver in New York City on May 13th, 2008.
Jada courtside at the LA Lakers Vs. Celtics game 4 finals on July 13, 2008.
Fergie spotted in Los Angeles on August 20th, 2008.
Kelly Rowland officially launches St Aubyn's Holistic Centre London, England - 03.05.08.

Hands up those of you who last wore colored denim when you were five years old? You are not alone! I've been in two-minds about the colored jeans trend since it hit the streets last year, but Jada Pinkett and Rihanna (a stonch believer in colored denim) have convinced me to a least try on a pair. My main concern is that those of us with curves are going to end up looking like a giant crayola crayon... not very attractive. If you decide to venture into this trend, tread carefully. Start off with flared jeans or a denim jacket and see how you fare. Baby steps ladies. Baby steps...

My Picks!

Left to right: Stretch Skinny Jean, $27.80,; Erika Super Skinny Jean, $29.80,; Denim of Virtue Women's Patience Red Wash Skinny, $170.; Colored Denim Jean, $21.99,
Left to right: Stretch Skinny Jean, $27.80,; Ankle Grazer Colour Jean in Purple, $80,; Neon Skinny Jean, $24.50,; Dittos the Classic in Grass, $110.60,

Skinny, colored jeans seem to be what's hot in the virtual streets of online shopping. I did find one flared pair from I'd caution againgst high-waisted colored denim - it makes you look a little too much liks a fashion victim. Only those who live in LA can get away with such a style bold statement. See below for some ideas on what to pair colored jeans with.

Wear You Colored Jeans With...

Yellow Jacket: Cropped Jacket by Bi La Li, $675,; Top: Metallic Filigree Flutter, $17.80,; Bracelet: Satin Wrapped Bangles Set of 3, $14.99,; Graphic Tee: Metallic Filigree Flutter, $17.80,; Clutch: Danni Pomegranate Clutch, $36,; Belt: Priscilla Patent Belt, $7.80,; Earrings: Graffiti Earrings, $10,; Pumps: Orizaba, $79.98,

Monday, June 23, 2008

Bring Back Bohemian

A dress from Jean Paul Gaultier's Spring 2008 Couture Collection
Nicole Richie, Chanel Iman and Angela Simmons bring Boho-chic back!

The 70's were a liberating time. We just don't see that kind of freedom of expression anymore. That is until this summer! Jean Paul Gaultier, ever the free thinker, was ahead of the game on the runway. His Spring 2008 Couture collection was filled with tributes to the decade of debauchery. Think flowing chiffon, busy prints and oversized clothing. Even Victoria's Secret is getting in on the act. Check out this Printed Caftan Dress on sale for $79 available at If this trend is feeling far too retro for you, at least consider wrapping a scarf around your forehead like Ms. Simmons above. Paired with this summer's must-have long dress, the look is both deliciously modern and delightfully vintage.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Italian Vogue: The Black Issue

Naomi Campbell shot for Italian Vogue by Steven Meisel.

It's finally here! Italian Vogue has stepped up and produced the first ever all black model issue! Expect to see some household names (Naomi, Tyra, Liya) and some up-and-comers (Jourdan Dunn, Chanel Iman, Toccara Jones - yes, from ANTM!) in this ground-breaking issue. Of course they don't neglect those that paved the way. Iman, Pat Cleveland and Veronica Webb are also featured.

One source of inspiration for this issue was actually the phenomenon of the Obama campaign. In the spirit of "change" I'm guessing editor, Franca Sozzani and photographer Steven Meisel, were ready to go out on a limb. Meisel says of the shoot, “I thought, it’s ridiculous, this discrimination... It’s so crazy to live in such a narrow, narrow place. Age, weight, sexuality, race — every kind of prejudice.” Italian Vogue editor says of her publication, “Mine is not a magazine that can be accused of not using black girls”. Some of the models in this issue have graced the cover of Italian Vogue before (Alek Wek, Naomi Campbell and Liya Kebede).

The famed photographer was given 100 pages of the magazine for this spread. Other faces you can expect to see are Alex Wek, Karen Alexander and Sessilee Lopez. The issue hits European newsstands next Thursday and will be in the United States soon after. Until then, feast your eyes on the images below, including the four collector's covers featuring Liya Kebede, Sessilee Lopez, Jourdan Dunn and Naomi Campbell.

Left to right: Liya Kebede, Sessilee Lopez, Jourdan Dunn and Naomi Campbell.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What Say We?... Yay or Nay?!

Amerie attends Nanette Lepore and the Creative Coalition's Fashion Votes event at the new Nanette Lepore boutique on Melrose Avenue on June 16, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.

Amerie has always been a diva I love to watch out for on the red carpet. This outfit however left me a little perplexed. While I love the color an overall shape of the dress, the detailing is a little reminiscent of the 1980s. The hint of rectangular shoulders and buttoned down, flap pockets throws the dress off to me. In any case, Amerie is one of those ladies who could make a brown potato sack look fashion-forward, so I'm going to give her a "Yay". At lease this look is better than this catastrophe. Now if we could just get her to release an album...

Baltimore Gets Beautified!

Beauty Night Out (BNO) is an exclusive beauty event hosted by SinPR that offers savvy women an evening of spectacular shopping, out pampering, cocktails, and product samples. Indulge and splurge on spa treatments, massages, mini-manicures, boutique shopping - all in a fun, upscale and carefree atmosphere. This is only the second BNO event in Baltimore so be on of the first to join the movement. See the details below or click here to visit the official site.

When: Saturday, July 19th 2008
Time: 6pm -9pm
Where: Maserati of Baltimore, 1628 York Road Townson, MD
Cost: $15 in advance/$25 at the door

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pucci. Prints. Perfect.

Joy Bryant arriving at the Costume Institute's Party of The Year in May 2008.
Michelle Ogundehin at the VIP Dinner and Cocktails hosted by Nadja Swarovski celebrating The Crystal on December 5, 2007.
Keyshia Cole attends the If Looks Could Kill party hosted by Toyota and ESSENCE on June 11 2008 at Eyebeam in New York.
Jill Scott's Real Thing Cocktail Reception at the Roof Top Garden on June 14, 2007, New York City.

The pioneer of kaleidoscope prints, Emilio Pucci, started a trend in the late 60s that just won't go away. Whether you love or loathe the bright in-your-face psychedelic shapes that have become synonymous with the designer, you certainly cannot miss them (or the woman who dares to wear them). Nowadays many designers and stores have copied the famous prints and used them in their own designs. This however hasn't stopped anyone from being able to identify a genuine Pucci. See the ladies above for proof that pucci + prints = perfection!

My Picks!

Left to right: Cinguetto Marilyn Dress by Emilio Pucci, $1535,; Alanna Dress, $44.50,; candy confetti dress, $49.99,; Vivid Tube Dress, $24.80,

Left to right: Maggy London Strapless Sheath Dress, $118,; Tropicale Garbardine Cami Dress by Emilio Pucci, $905,; Vibrant Silk Chiffon Dress, $29.80,; Lother Dress, $24.99,

Psychedelic prints on long dresses don't really do it for me, plus you have to have a long slender shape like Joy Brynat to come anywhere close to pulling the look off. Play it safe by going for short to knee-length dresses then glam the dress up or down using heels or jewelled flat sandals. If you want to really commit to this look, also invest in a print bags that are completely different color from your dresses. The clash will take this retro look to a whole new level. Emilio Pucci would be proud!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Night with an Icon

New York fashionistas take advantage of this opportunity. Manhattan fashion power publicists, Dawn Brown (Vice President of Publicity for Barneys) and Bonnie Morrison (Director of Publicity at KCD), are hosting an event tomorrow evening to honor model citizen Veronica Webb. Head to the luxurious venue 105 Riv Hotel Sunday night and join the celebration. The evening will honor not only the beauty but the brains that make Ms. Webb the social activist and fashion icon she is. Beverly Bond will provide the musical soundtrack for the night. See below for details.

Where: Sunday June 15th
Where: 105 Rivington between Essex & Ludlow
Time: 9:00pm

Monday, June 9, 2008

Take a Leaf Out of Her Style Book: Christina Milian

Christina Milian at Mr. Chow for a lunch meeting in 2007
Christina Milian walks on South Beach in Miami on December 31, 2007
Christina Milian leaving Villa nightclub earlier this year
Christina Milian sighting at Curvee Cafe and Arco gas station in Beverly Hills in 2007

As temperatures rise so too do hemlines and who better to spotlight than the queen of the mini, Ms. Christina Milian? She must have a closet full of short ‘n’ sassy dresses, but unlike Halle Berry, Christina prefers her summer frocks with splashes of color and high heels to match. Christina seems to prefer block colors over patterns but one can never go wrong with classic colors. To stop her look getting repetitive, Ms. Milian opts for outfits with interesting shapes that show off her best asset – those legs. Get the lowdown on her style philosophy below.

My Picks!

Left to right: Poppy Tunic Dress, $19.80,; Adriana Knit Dress, $39.50,; Draped Tube Dress, $22.99,; bex beads dress, $149.99,
Left to right: Grecian Dress, $38.50,; Jersey dress, $45,; Safari Belted Pencil Dress, $128,; ABS by Allen Schwartz Belted Shirtdress, $258,

If you too aren’t drawn to patterns, try picking dresses in this season’s must-have shapes like the bubble dress but opt for colors you’ll always cherish. Black and other neutrals are classics but summer was meant for color so go live a little!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hair Stories: The Braidy Bunch

Nia Long, Beyonce and Nicole Richie bring hobo-chic to the red carpet.
1. Burnt Sugar - Hair Pomade, $10.00,; 2. Karen Marie - Colossal Gem Butterfly French Twist Comb - Onyx & Smoke, $17,; 3. Frederic Fekkai Wave Creating Spray, $19.50,; 4. Supreme Bobby Pins, $4.99 for 60,; 5. Star Snap Clips, $3 for 2, 6. All Day Hold Spritz by Elucence, $7,; 7. Sailboat Hair Pins, $4.90,; 8. Organic Sapote & Coconut Pomade - For sheen, hold & silkiness, $9.95,

Lazy days in the sun require an equally laid back hairstyle. This summer make your staple style loose braids held back by antique-inspired hair clips. Hobo-chic is here to stay and since you’ll probably wearing a long floaty dress this season (see these celebs), braids will finish off the look. Styling essentials include a no mess pomade to slick down your edges if you’re going for a more polished look like Beyonce. For those of you who like your hair looking a little disheveled like you spontaneously decide to braid it and put it up, Frederic Fekkai has a Wave Creating Spray that’ll give your hair that flyaway look. Naturals should braid their hair then take it out to create a braid-out/waves. You can then loosely re-braid certain parts of your hair to set off the style. Take some inspiration from Nicole Richie and Nia Long. Their hair looks elegant yet unpretentious – the perfect theme for summer.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Shop Smart. Shop Safe.

I can only imagine the courage it takes to trek across the South Pole or set sail through turbulent waters. I’m just not an outdoor person. For me, ordering clothes online is as adventurous as it gets. Before I click that “complete order” button, a million questions race through my mind. What if the sizing chart isn’t accurate? Do I really want to pay an additional $6 to send an item back? Why do the clothes always look better quality in the photos online? Take the risk out of online shopping by using “coupon” and/or “promotional” codes. This technique has been my life savior more than once. It’s pretty simple. Say for example you’re buying an item from Victoria’s Secret. At some point during the online checkout process V.S. will ask you if you have a promotion/coupon code to enter. This is when you do a search for the keywords “victoria’s secret promotion code”. A list of sites will pop up where shop-a-holics like you and I have shared their various codes online. I recently used a 25% off promotion code in conjunction with a free shipping code that took my order down from $159 to $109.25. Now I no longer worry about clothes fitting, shipping & handling costs or quality. Try Retail Me Not and The Budget Fashionista to get you started!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Catwalk Copy

Sarah Jessica Parker on location for 'Sex and the City: The Movie' September 19, 2007 in New York City.
Left: Extreme Dior Gladiator Platform, $770,
Right: Candace, $64.99,

I'm assuming that most of you watched the Sex and the City movie this weekend. If not, what are you waiting for?! I LOVED it and of course the fashion didn't disappoint. With 84 wardrobe changes for Carrie alone, how could it! I won't spoil the plot for those of you planning to see it but I would love to hear from those who have. I was satisfied with the way things ended for all the characters (unike when the actual show ended) and I'm thinking we should start a grassroots campaign for a sequel. They should call it "Life Married to Mr. Big". To keep us going until then, why not inject a little Sex in the City into your life with these great replicas of Dior's "Extreme Gladiator Platforms". I can't take credit for this find. The fabulous ladies of discovered these $65 knock offs by Bakers Shoes.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Living Your Life Like It's Goldyn...

Above: Porridge Two Button Dress, $92.50,
Left to right: Generra Belted Shift in rivear blue, $165; Development Fluttered Sleeved Shirred Blouse, $284; Rachel Mara Sliver Linen Dress, $253 all available at

Say goodbye to those tattered jeans and coffee stained sweatshirts - you finally graduated!! Now you can join the big leagues with your high modest paying job and slightly upgraded shared apartment. In celebration of your new found financial freedom, why not update your wardrobe with some classic but quirky summer items. Your first stop should undoubtedly be It's not often that I visit a site and fall in love with everything I see. That electric blue Generra Belted Shift is on my hit list. It'll look great with those gorgeous Manolo Blahnik's that were featured in the Sex and the City movie - you know which pumps I'm talking about ;) If those student loan repayments are kicking your butt head straight to their Sales section with anything from 20% - 70% knocked off. The dress above by Porridge is only $92.50 and with the extra 20% off with the coupon code "GOLDYN20", you'll be laughing all the way to your new job!
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