TERRI APANASEWICZ: THE BEAUTY WHISPERER

Meet Terri Apanasewicz: Makeup artist, beauty whisperer, and frequent phycologist. 🙂

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Sometimes you think an interview is gonna go a certain way, and it just doesn’t. And that’s what I loved about this interview with Terri: a woman who has worked with some of the most famous faces in the world, and perhaps the most famous beautiful face in the world, that of Cindy Crawford. Terri doesn’t just tell the kind of stories you would expect a renown celebrity makeup artist to tell. She doesn’t make it about her; she makes it about women in general. She really gets at what beauty is, the real purpose of makeup, and in demystifying some of it, she explains that even a model isn’t “a model” when she wakes up in the morning. She also touches on the sentiment of feeling “invisible,” which is something I think so many people, myself included, can connect with.

When I first started having some bigger budget photoshoots and video shoots (being financed by my record label) I was astounded at the transformation top tier hair and makeup teams could produce— even in myself. And what I mean by that is, I really do believe that almost any woman could resemble  “the ideal” with the kind of team behind her that these models have, or that we as entertainers occasionally have.

That’s not to say that I think that SHOULD be the ideal, or that we SHOULD aspire to look like that all the time. My point is simply that what we are comparing ourselves to is not reality. It’s art. It’s marketing. And it can be very very fun, and glamorous, but it’s not real.

Terri and I met on the video shoot for my first single, “Sorry On The Rocks,” for which she did my hair and makeup. Here’s the video if you haven’t seen it….

Our conversation ran the gamut from just catching up—we haven’t seen each other in a while—to talking about career changes in both of our lives, and I even hit up Terri for her list of ALL TIME FAVES, which you can see right here. (I’ve actually used all of these products and they’re pretty much a “who’s who” of the beauty product world.)

But we started our conversation (off the record) talking about demystifying the work of a makeup makeup artist. And found ourselves talking about “hiding” behind makeup. So I asked Terri this…

KB: Well, how do you put on makeup in a way that’s revealing of the person?

Terri: Well I think the whole key is a lot of people put just makeup on. You know, we have this really cool thing about being women that we get to wear makeup. And it is a great washable accessory. It’s kind of like clothes. Are you gonna wear you favorite t-shirt and jeans today? Or wear some hot little sexy number? Our makeup’s the same. Where in that ‘0 to 60’ do you wanna be? It doesn’t mean at any level that you can’t be recognizable. And I just feel like that whole “creating”, “sculpting”, and “chiseling out”…sort of erasing your canvas and then painting it back on…that’s one stye of makeup. That is not my style. When people notice your makeup before they notice how good you look, or how pretty you are, or how nice your skin is, then the makeup is the star. And we as women, this sounds cliche, but we need to be the stars of our own life. For me, it’s not just about putting makeup on, it’s about using makeup to enhance yourself. Nobody looks like they do in a picture. A picture is not reality, and my friend Cindy Crawford will tell you the same. 

For me, it’s not just about putting makeup on, it’s about using makeup to enhance yourself. Nobody looks like they do in a picture. A picture is not reality, and my friend Cindy Crawford will tell you the same.

And we keep looking to these public figures on TV, and in pictures and on Instagram—they can be inspirations to try new things, but I don’t think it’s what we should be aspiring to be. It’s kind of like trends, trends are meant to inspire, not to follow.

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KB: Where do you find inspirations for yourself (makeup wise) or  for your clients?

TA: I see it in magazines, online, or people I meet. But again, I see something that makes me think, “Hey, I should try that.” But it doesn’t mean that I’m gonna look at picture and do it exactly that same way. And for me, to be honest, I really get sort of “feelings.” Kind of intuition. Even if it’s somebody I’ve never met before. I don’t go in with an idea, because first of all I don’t know them. I don’t know what they’re wearing. I don’t know how they’re going to be feeling. I have to take all of those things into consideration, but sometimes I get a feeling of what I want to do.  And then I wait and see and really at least 60% of the time it comes up to be what that person was thinking. It’s just an intuition that I guess I have.

KB: Yeah, you’re like the beauty medium!! 

TA: (Laughs) Exactly…”makeup whisperer.” (Laughing.)

KB: You know, early on I would get really nervous getting my makeup done. I would bring a lot to the chair already…my own insecurities. Because I’ve got somebody right up in my face seeing what I would perceive as all my flaws.

TA: Being in the makeup chair, being a makeup artist, it’s a very intimate situation. As a makeup artist, you’re the first person that people see usually.  And you have to learn how to (not just by putting makeup on) but how else with your energy, and your personality, and your artistry, how you are going to help them find the confidence to become their brand. And that can change on a dime from day to day even with the same person. I’m a team player and I have to sometimes figure out how to really get the team game ready, not just physically but emotionally. My job is not just about being a makeup applicator. And to be honest, I’m more of a psychologist in a lot of ways. You have to take all those things into consideration, including the person’s personality, and maybe how they’re feeling that day. It’s all that stuff.

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KB: If you could say one thing to women– like, “Hey ladies, we’re doing this wrong…” What would it be?

TA: I have to go back to, because it is my pet peeve, if people notice your makeup before they notice you, that’s not a good thing.

…if people notice your makeup before they notice you, that’s not a good thing.

If the first thing somebody says is, “Wow! Look at your makeup!” That’s not always a compliment.  And you can have a dramatic look and still have it be like, “Oh my god you look so gorgeous.” Somebody should say, “Wow! Look at your eyes, they look incredible. That makeup’s amazing.” That’s how it should go.

KB: OK, so you were just at the Victoria Secret fashion show, right?

TA: I was there. I didn’t do the models. I did that once a long time ago. But I’ve been to several shows with one of the executives who’s created the show and that’s why I’m there.

KB: That’s such a highly consumed show….what do you think it is that women are seeing and responding to when they see that show? That hair, that look….what are people responding to? Is it about the “glowiness?” What it is?

TA: Yes, it’s a lot about the “glowiness.” And this year, they didn’t have a lot of makeup on. Yes, they’re all beautiful. Most of them have GREAT skin…that’s why they’re models, first of all. They don’t have to wear a lot, and that’s kind of a testament to lighting…

But the biggest thing that I think we don’t think about is they are out there turning it up. Smiling and looking badass and walking with such confidence and strutting. And believe me, some of them are scared to death. Cause it’s nerve-wracking. But their job is to make it look flawless and to look confident and beautiful and sexy. And so that is another key ingredient for every woman—for her beauty—we have to feel good, and feel confident. No matter how much makeup you put on, it won’t create that.  That’s an inside job.

But we can’t try to compare ourselves to that and stay sane. Because those girls don’t even walk around like that. They don’t even feel like that.

But we can’t try to compare ourselves to that and stay sane. Because those girls don’t even walk around like that. They don’t even feel like that.

Most of them feel just like we do. More than we even would imagine. I don’t care how beautiful you are, how skinny you are, there’s still something to be insecure about…because that’s part of being a woman. That’s what we’re sort of taught, at a very young age, by always making someone else the ideal.

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KB: OK, so I’m gonna go from that one absurdly high standard to one of the most iconic faces that has been photographed, probably EVER…which is Cindy Crawford.

TA: Well, I’ve known Cindy for about 18 years. She, even before I knew her,  was always one of my favorite models. She was one of the original super models and that group are not only the original super models, but they really are what a “super model” is. With Cindy, yes, she’s a gorgeous woman. She had a different look at the time. You know, people tried to tell her she was never gonna get work with her mole, and then that turns out to be her signature. She got told early on from modeling agents, and photographers that she was gonna have to get rid of that thing. And then she found the right agent that didn’t try to change her, and try to change what made her uniquely different and beautiful, and flip side it became her signature mark, not this thing that was going to hold her back.

So she’s a gorgeous woman, no denying it, but when you see Cindy in person, with or without makeup, she’s more beautiful than any photograph.

…when you see Cindy in person, with or without makeup, she’s more beautiful than any photograph.

I’ve heard people say that to her over and over. I’ve been all around the world with her and people are always like, “Oh you’re even so much more beautiful in person.” And that’s because when you see her in person, and you’re lucky enough to get to interact with her, you really get her essence. And it’s not just her physical beauty. It’s her personality, it’s her energy. But even somebody like Cindy, say’s she becomes “Cindy Crawford.” Yes that’s her name, but she doesn’t wake up “Cindy Crawford” as we know her “Cindy Crawford.”

But even somebody like Cindy, say’s she becomes “Cindy Crawford.” Yes that’s her name, but she doesn’t wake up “Cindy Crawford” as we know her “Cindy Crawford.”

She becomes her brand by going through the process. Whether it’s natural makeup or dramatic makeup. It’s the ritual of sitting in the chair, and talking with your team, and having them touch you and do their craft on you, and you get to start embodying it and becoming that character, that brand…it’s not just because she’s that beautiful…

10404333_770153679688982_363176420765637499_nI feel like we as women, we’ve taken on so much, and it really could be so much easier for us if we would just focus on being comfortable in our skin, and what we bring to the table. Cause there’s not gonna be another “Kelleigh.” There could be another great singer; there could be another great singer who sings your songs, but she’s not “Kelleigh.” There can be another makeup artist who can do great makeup….better than me maybe, but she’s not “Terri.” She’s not gonna bring the same thing to the client, and I’m not gonna bring whatever she brings.

[Aside, how incredibly tender, and sweet and encouraging is this woman? So dear. Please whoever you are just insert your name there…because this is so true. I love the perspective of dwelling on what we bring to the table, rather than comparison.]

TA (cont.): We just have to realize that it’s not just about makeup, it’s not just about being blessed with certain genetics that make things a little bit easier in some ways. It’s really a big part of my mission and my philosophy.

KB: Terri I think that is so powerful, and so empowering. We spend so much time trying to be other people, when we’re at our most effective, and most powerful (when we are we are doing the thing that only we do. That very nuanced thing that is only “Terri.” 

TA: Well, because we’re missing it. We’re so busy trying to be someone else or something else, that we’re missing what we were put here to do, or to share.

We’re so busy trying to be someone else or something else, that we’re missing what we were put here to do, or to share. 

This just came to my mind, I wanna share this, maybe this fits in. Early on when I was not as comfortable in my own skin, I didn’t know who I was, and I was always reaching for the next thing in my career. (And lot of years are a big blur for me because I wasn’t present.) And then getting into this business and comparing myself to all these beautiful women that were around, as a woman, I felt invisible. So I would go to work. I would do my thing, but as a woman, I interpreted all that outside stuff in a way that made me feel invisible. It took a lot of spiritual growth and working on myself—and everybody has a different way to do that—and it wasn’t about losing weight, or getting plastic surgery, or wearing expensive clothes. If we would focus a little bit more on that, we would feel so much better. Myself now, I’m 54, I’m 5 feet tall, I don’t weigh hundred pounds, but I can wear my jeans from Old Navy, and a simple cute little top that does have to cost a lot. I feel so much better about myself now, than I did in my 30s, when I felt invisible. So I wish for women to work on that sooner than later, so that they can really enjoy a lot more of their self and their life.

Please go follow Terri on Instagram (@terria_beauty), Facebook, and Twitter. And you can see more of her incredible portfolio HERE. AND If you’re wondering what’s on Terri’s wish list of beauty products to try…here they are:

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