Jillian is a beauty expert, who has worked with some of the most important cosmetics houses in the business. She has worked extensively behind the scenes and in front of the camera, and was a regular on QVC. Jillian’s career has included working for Chanel and Bobbi Brown as an International spokesperson and makeup artist … doing everything from education, special events, award shows, Fashion Week, and editorial; for Prescriptives, as the Director of Beauty/On air QVC spokesperson. And most recently, Jillian was the Senior Director of Beauty/On air spokesperson for Philosophy. A year ago, Jillian took time off to work on a fictional novel, a passion project for her, but plans to return to her career when the project is complete. I met with Jillian to discuss beauty and makeup and self-esteem, what it means to age appropriately with our makeup choices, and ‘how to’ makeup advice. Here is part one of my conversation with Jillian …

Jillian, I would love to know how you got started in makeup and skin care? What inspired you?
Most likely, I started playing with make up around six years old, rummaging through my mother’s junk makeup drawer. I was always attracted to anything having to do with cosmetics. From my Barbie Head Beauty Salon, to obsessing over magazines and Charlie’s Angels. Around twenty, I began to flounder, searching for a career goal and not finding anything that really hit the passion spot. Things were different in the late 1980’s; one of the best freelance jobs was spraying perfume in the aisles of the Department Stores. (I still laugh thinking about that, because today it’s such a caricature of that era!) I worked spraying perfume for Chanel for a few months. One day at Macy’s the makeup artist didn’t show up. The woman behind the counter asked if I could apply the client’s makeup. I said yes, although I was uncertain. (You always say yes!) And that was it! I found my talent and my passion. I was always very focused and eager to learn, which I did from some of the best in the business, and still do today. Twenty-five years later, and still going, I’ve had an amazing career working in many aspects of the industry, with some of the most talented people in the world …

It was hard work and I paid my dues. But when you do something that you love it doesn’t feel like you wasted a minute of your time…

I am inspired by many things, but two stand out: I love to hear people’s stories and, I could watch The Biography Channel all day. You never know what someone has been through or feels until you listen to him/her. From a physical beauty perspective I am drawn to anything from the 1920’s or the classic era of Hollywood. I love glamorous things yet I appreciate everything.

You see a person from the outside but I wonder what you have learned about beauty, inside and out?

Well, listen. To be honest, when we’re young, we tend to view beauty as an exterior thing. It’s hard for a young person to see beauty outside the perimeters of her own age. As we mature we start to see things differently and realize that beauty can’t always be defined by a strictly physical trait. We learn as we grow that beauty can be found on so many levels; mind, body and soul. When I apply makeup now as opposed to twenty years ago, I look at the whole person …

What are the makeup basics and essentials for any woman? (if you could just choose a few)

I am asked this question a lot. I would say that aside from a good SPF moisturizer, night and eye cream, the rest of the makeup picture is about the individual. If you have perfect flawless skin without under eye circles but have skimpy lashes without color, your go-to should be eyeliner, mascara and bronzer blush. If you have no brows, eyebrow pencil is your must have. Interestingly enough, if you search 75% of the handbags women carry every day, most have their essentials inside without realizing it. My eyes disappear without liner; I never leave the house without black eyeliner in my bag. To break it down:

–   Step one: Get your skin care in place

–   Step two: Honestly assess your face’s absolute needs

–   Step three: Ditch the extra’s…eye shadow colors, trendy items, etc. Remember, this step is critical!

–   Step four: Once you pick the essentials, and only your essentials, apply them and see how you feel. If you feel confident … great! These are your essentials. If you don’t, add what you need, one at a time, until you create your essential kit …” Jillian

Wonderful, Jillian! Thank you. More of my conversation with Jillian to follow

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Barbie and Marilyn

Marilyn Monroe Barbie in the famous scene from                                                 Billy Wilder’s 1955 “Seven Year Itch”

I’m reflecting on the fact that this year marks some interesting anniversaries. Barbie is 50+ and it’s been 50 years since Marilyn Monroe’s untimely death. It happened 50 years ago this past weekend – either Saturday or Sunday – no one knows for sure.

I’m not certain what this means in the cosmic universe but I think it is interesting to note and to stop and take in. Two icons recognized the world over, lost in time, sharing a kind of beauty that is hard if not impossible to attain. And after I just asked the question … what is beauty, anyway?

Hmmm …

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