Fly Female Entrepreneurs

Fly Female Entrepreneur

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Rebecca Casciano

Rebecca Casciano is a Brooklyn-based professional makeup artist most known for creating signature, head-turning looks on each and every face she touches. Her personal attention has been requested by a diverse array of celebrity clientele including: Angela & Vanessa Simmons, Anderson Cooper, the late Benazir Bhutto, Q-Tip, Santogold, Toni Morrison, and Les Nubians. With nearly a decade in the industry, countless brands and television properties have tapped into Rebecca Casciano’s expertise including: America’s Next Top Model, MTV Music Awards, The Tavis Smiley Show, VH-1 Hip Hop Honors, Miss USA, Revlon, Verizon, Macy’s, WNBA, and The Food Network just to name a few.

In Her Shoes caught up with Rebecca Casciano to chat about trends in the beauty industry, her marketing strategies, the most challenging opportunity she’s experienced as a makeup artist, and much more. Read about this once-advertising design student turned makeup artist’s career and you are guaranteed to be inspired!

At what point did you realize that you wanted to become a professional makeup artist?

When I obtained my Associates degree in Advertising Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology, graphic design was just starting to become computer based. I really enjoyed a more hands-on approach, so I began to rethink my plan of becoming an ad designer. Unsure of my options, I got a retail job to pay the bills and began soul-searching for my own artistic niche. It took a few years before I discovered that my enthusiasm for makeup could actually be the foundation of a gratifying career path. It was like the light bulb went on and instantly,  I knew I had found my perfect work.

Photo Credit: Wendy Hope

What advice would you share with the woman who is ready to leave the retail makeup counter to launch her own business?

Before you make the leap, make sure you have a few things in place; start working on a professional portfolio and/or resume on your days off. Utilize the internet to research and network with people in your field of interest, be it fashion, television, film or print. If you can, tuck away some money for the rainy days, as you may not be guaranteed a regular paycheck for awhile. Mentally, be prepared to be your own boss, agent, bookkeeper, and marketing team. It may take some time before you see your way, but the rewards of freedom and doing what you love are well worth it!

Do you have any formal training or are you self-taught and naturally talented?

I have always felt blessed with an innate talent and the desire to explore it. I was also exposed to art at a young age and have been supported by a very creative family; several members are hairstylists, painters and craftsmen.  I chose to study advertising design in both high school and college. Perhaps the combination of these elements enabled me to begin my career as a makeup artist with no formal training in the field. I educated myself with every book I could find, but experience has definitely been the best teacher. I have since honed my craft by attending workshops and becoming a certified instructor of makeup artistry.

Photo Credit: Toshi Tasaki

Every makeup artist has his or her own signature style.  What technique or special touch would you say has become your signature over the years?

Over time, I think I have been consistently noted for dramatic eyes, fine detail and bold use of color. Incorporating the airbrush technique has enhanced my ability to create flawless skin, and clients love the way it feels and looks. 

What do you think are the best and worst trends in the beauty industry right now? 

I’m a huge fan of most beauty trends inspired by the 1920’s thru 1960’s.  I love classic looks, the resurgence of trends like red lipstick, cat-eyed liner, vamp nails and the bob are among my favorites. At this point, I don’t believe we are really creating anything quite as prolific. You can take just about any runway look and make it yours, but ultimately, a woman should choose a style that complements her individual beauty.

Photo Credit: Wendy Hope

Can you give us an idea of what a day in Rebecca Casciano’s shoes is like?

My day varies depending on the project I am working on. If I am shooting for print or television, I arrive on set, greet the team and set up my work station. After the initial makeup application, most of the day is spent touching up or changing the looks. Shoots of any kind usually take a lot longer than one would imagine. When I’m not on set, I use the time to work on my business, which can mean anything from making phone calls and researching to attending a film, museum or industry party. You’ve gotta love a job where work and pleasure are often one in the same!

What type of marketing strategies would you say have been most effective for your business and why?

Word-of-mouth has been the most powerful marketing tool, by far. Most of my jobs have come thru relationships I have built in the industry. I think this is true of many artists, in this business your reputation means a lot. In the past couple years, I have created a website to showcase my portfolio and joined several networking sites for creatives. 

Photo Credit: Wendy Hope

What is the most exciting or challenging opportunity you’ve had as a makeup artist?

I would have to say going to Vietnam to do makeup for Miss Universe 2008 has to be one of the many highlights of my career. It was amazing to participate in this internationally televised event, especially in such an exotic location. We had a blast exploring the country and making friends from all over the world. The challenge for me was to work faster than ever, as we had very little time to make over 80 beautiful women high-definition-camera-ready-glamorous! 

Photo Credit: Wendy Hope

Which trade and consumer media outlets do you read regularly to stay on top of beauty industry news and trends?

I often reference and for what’s next in beauty and fashion. They highlight runway collections and ad campaigns from the most recent, to the past several years. I also check in with my favorite agency’s sites to see what the top photographers and makeup artists are working on. The international magazine shops are excellent for high-fashion, global creativity, while staples like Vogue, Bazaar, Elle and W are amongst my local favorites.

Photo Credit: Michael Preis

Where can we see your work in 2009?

My website,, features my latest projects, which I hope will include some major advertising campaigns in 2009! At the time of this interview, I am preparing to create a blog in conjunction with my site that will include behind the scenes info, Q&A’s with industry folks and lots of beautiful inspiration. You can also see my Takashi Murakami-inspired beauty story in the latest issue of Highlights, an Australian- based magazine. I expect to have a great editorial presence this year!

Photo Credit: GL Wood

As a New York City storyteller, filmmaker, digital content creator, and PR strategist, Renae Bluitt created "In Her Shoes" to empower and enlighten women committed to realizing their dreams.

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