Celebrating Individual Beauty. An Interview with James Vincent, Director of Artistry for the Makeup Show. by Eliza Siep


Ok, so you are me, and Jenna (bff for life/ Pretty Cheap co-author/ PR/ Marketing/ All things amazing with the world) sets up an interview with you and James Vincent. Jenna is trying to make me understand who James Vincent is, along with the unreal, "The Makeup Show," that is on its way to Chicago. Uhhhhhh...who is this man and what is she talking about?  In my mind, Vincent is just another makeup artist. Yawn. The Makeup Show? Another makeup event? Double yawn. Well once again, I am humbled and slapped in the face with the reality that I do not know everything or everyone that there is to know. I took a peek at The Makeup Show site and then at the site of the living legend James Vincent, Director of Artistry for The Makeup Show, The Powder Group, and On Makeup Magazine Uhhhhh.. I have been served.


I had the pleasure to interview James and what I found was a very humble, charismatic and like -minded man who seems to be on the same page as Pretty Cheap, as well as myself. He is a teacher and a student, the best of all worlds. Here is the prelude interview to what is to be the most exquisite beauty show in Chicago and maybe even the world.


I began by asking James if this is the first time that The Makeup Show had come to Chicago?

James said, "It is the first time for The Makeup Show to come to Chicago but, not my first time to visit the city. Chicago is one of my favorite cities! I am there a lot so it is important for me and very exciting to travel to Chicago and to recognize the talent that is there.  I want to bring some of the artistry and inspiration and the brands that are so supportive of artists to Chicago and let them see that there is so much talent that exists that's not on the coasts."


We went on to talk about the fact that this show is specifically for professionals in the industry. James told me, "This is a pro only show that is geared toward makeup artists, hair stylists, models, photographers, salon owners and spa owners who are interested in getting into the industry or people who are in school that are trying to get into the industry. All of the education is aimed at professionals."


I asked James who it was that he was looking forward to seeing at this year's The Makeup Show Chicago? For James he gets, "Excited to see artists respond to brands such as Make Up For Ever, Temptu or Stila. Brands that are very established and very much a part of peoples' kits, but I am also excited to bring in prestige brands that have not previously offered discounts to professionals. I have formed a relationship with YSL and Kevin Aurcoin and they will be in Chicago at The Makeup Show offering discounts for the first time this year. I am also excited to see Chicago based brands like, Hissyfit cosmetics ( Reggie Wells, Oprah Winfrey's makeup artists brand) and to see other Midwest businesses get exposure at a national level."


Long story short, as far as The Makeup Show Chicago goes.... you need to get the ticket and go. I am so very looking forward to the show and I know that every single friend that I have in the industry is saving up some hard earned cash to go as well. All of that being said, I wanted to pick James brain a little on the personal level. He has such a charisma about him that I had a few questions I was dying to ask. 


Looking over James' website gave me an idea of the aesthetic that James has a knack for. This tiny glimpse left me dying to know... Does James have a propensity for black eyeliner? Hummm As I asked the question James cracked up and answered with a, "YES! My clients are more like Joan Jett and rock and roll. That's my aesthetic. I grew up with the girls hanging out in the bathroom lighting their black eyeliner on fire with a lighter. It's definitely part of my aesthetic, and I think that although I do respond to each situation. My clients range from Barack Obama to Lady Gaga, but it is definitely that rock and roll aesthetic and that look that I love!" 


I told James that I come from the same place and how much I love that general aesthetic; the art that is bred from the love of rock and roll and music. So, my next question was a little bit of a natural progression. What black eyeliner do you love for the summer and how would he get it to stay in place during the summer heat? James has a black eyeliner that he really loves that is brand new, from Make Up For Ever that is waterproof called Aqua liner! James says, "It does not move. I did the shoot for them during last year to test it out and I literally had the model in the pool and it didn't move. I also love the Make Up For Ever black pencil because it doesn't move and is water resistant. There is also a product from Make Up Forever called Eye Seal that you can put over any black pencil. My favorite black pencil right now is Kevin Aucoin that goes on really beautiful but is not water resistant. When I put the Eye Seal with it, it really does the job and Make Up Forever really owns the market on this waterproof and water resistant makeup. Right now they have developed so many great products that are amazing for women that are concerned with movement from water or perspiration or oily lids, they don't have to go back to retouch all day. You know its a great product when you can throw it in your bag in the morning and it isn't going to move all day."





James Vincent is a bona fide artist, no questions asked, period. Because his hands are dipped in every pot of this vast industry, I asked him what his favorite thing to do was if he had to narrow it down to just one. James loves artistry, he loves fashion, he at shows all around the world, Paris, New York, Milan and London but the thing that he loves the most really is the education! One of his favorite places in the world is in Chicago is the spa in Wicker Park called the Ruby Room (Side note: Did he just drop the Ruby Room? Uhhhh that is right near where I live. I love that place and died when he gave them a shout out) James spends a lot of time at the Ruby Room told me that the Ruby Room has really changed his life and that he re focused and realized that, for him, there was a bigger picture. For this reason he commits to projects like the Makeup Show, On Makeup Magazine and the Powder Group. For James, part of the bigger picture and the thing that he enjoys the most is the inspiring of other artists to be educated and to make this industry a place of beauty and compassion. James is not looking to make the beauty industry thrive by playing on women's insecurities. He wants to refocus and make this an industry that celebrates women and their individual beauty. Those are the things that James Vincent is the most passionate about!


Whoa! James some how was able to describe the thoughts that live inside of my heart. I was shocked to hear someone so established say something so profound. This philosophy is, after all, the principle on which this blog exists. It was a refreshing breath of air to hear him say those words.


So, how do I end an interview where someone says something as amazing as "celebrating women and celebrating individual beauty?" I asked James if someone was an aspiring makeup artist or someone wanted to get into the industry, what kind of advice he would give to them based on what his path has been. James paused a bit and then said, "Well, I am kind of a bad example as the accidental makeup artist. My background was social work and I was writing a piece on women of color in a white beauty industry. MAC hired me years ago when they were just launching and I started doing a lot of celebrity things that way. I think that the industry has changed a lot since I started. What hasn't changed is the way that I kind of have to work to learn everything myself. I think that education, networking and developing the skills not only for artistry, but for business and branding, are very essential for anyone who wants to be a successful makeup artist. You have to see the bigger picture and be responsive to all of the new technologies that are being developed. You've got to constantly be moving forward and developing not only your own eye for artistry, but your own aesthetic. You need to learn how to understand how to communicate with women and to listen, to really listen, to what women want and to be able to help them to achieve it  This is the ultimate goal of a makeup artist."

Beautiful man.  Inspiring interview. Doing this piece changed the way that I look at things and I hope that it had a chance to do the same for you. Thank you to James Vincent and The Makeup Show for the interview and we will see you all there!


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