Project Career Makeup: Catering and Event Coordinator

Here is the next installment in my ongoing project of talking to women in different fields about their attitudes about makeup in their professions. Always so interesting! Meet Jena, a catering & event coordinator for a very exclusive caterer. 
She has a demanding job and wears many hats during her day—which has to transition into nights for glamorous events much of the time.

Q. What exactly do you do for work?

A. My primary role is to coordinate the myriad of activities associated with each event that we produce. This usually means staffing, renting glassware, flatware, linens, tables and décor. Then after the event I focus on billing, payroll, P&L costs, and inventory management. We also host chef demonstrations, guest lectures, book launches, and awards ceremonies for celebrity chefs from around the world.

Q. Sounds so cool! Tell me about what makeup do you wear to work everyday?

A. I usually wear Bobbi Brown moisturizer, followed by

Bobbi brown stick foundation. I set it with invisible powder, a dust bronzing powder and blush, in that order. For daytime makeup, I usually wear muted grays, deep browns or light golden shimmer. I always curl my eyelashes, and depending on whether I have an event that night, I will line my eyes with either black kohl liner or Bobbi Brown black gel liner. I always have a matte lip at work, if I go out afterwards I’ll use a lip stain because I can’t, for the life of me, keep gloss on! The focus for me has always been on having perfect looking skin--I don’t do a whole lot of crazy things to my eyes or lips during the day.

Q. Does your work makeup vary from your weekend makeup?

A. Not that much, I just wear more shimmer (but not the gaudy kind…) I usually have a bit more blush and wing-tip eyeliner.

Q. How do you feel about makeup in the workplace, and specifically your industry?

A. In the events industry, there is a huge emphasis on looking classy and put together. The classic image is a petite woman in a pencil skirt, designer pumps, and a fitted blazer, every hair in place and a perfect face of makeup. It’s incredibly expensive to host an event in New York City-- space rental alone is astronomical. The rich are paying for reputation and style. They want to hire someone who not only acts the part, but looks the part. The women that I have met in this industry have been, across the board, good-looking women who wear a good amount of makeup.

Stereotypes aside, I happen to work in a pretty laidback environment, with women who are confident and beautiful but in a completely unobtrusive, unaffected way. I’m lucky to work with women who are not obsessed with the “image” of an event manager because in the past it has been a struggle to relate to those women. I’ve always felt like somewhat of an anomaly in the events world. I don’t much care about my clothing and my hair is always a mess. I generally put some effort into my makeup because I feel like the first thing I notice is a person’s face. If I have only 30 minutes to get ready in the morning, I’m going to throw on some slacks, brush my hair, and spend 15 minutes making my face look not disgusting.

Project Career Makeup: Psychotherapist

I met a very interesting woman last night. She was in her mid 50's and owns a private practice as a psychotherapist. I was very excited to meet her and loved her makeup and style, so of course I asked her if she would be a part of Project Career Makeup.

While she didn't want to submit any images or use her name, she was happy to answer some of my questions. She didn't want to submit any images because her thought was she works on people on the inside, and if she was featured on a beauty blog, it might send the wrong message to her clients. Also she has a client that's a makeup artist and that in and of itself might be a conflict of interest.

What exactly do you do for work? I own my own private practice as a Psychotherapist in NYC.

What makeup do you wear to work everyday? I usually wear a whole face, but not everyday. It really depends on how I feel.
Do you feel like you wear your makeup in consideration of your clients and what they will percieve you? No, definitely not. I wear my makeup for me. My clients are all about themselves- it's the nature of my services I offer. There really isn't any give and take, I am hired to help them. I just bought these new eye glasses, and I think they are a little 'flashy'. But guess what? Not one person said one thing about them.

Does your work makeup vary from your weekend makeup? I suppose so, for example if I'm going to be doing house work I'm not going to wear any makeup. But I love getting dressed up to go out to dinner or the theater and putting on a pretty lip stick.

How do you feel about makeup in the workplace, and specifically your industry? I feel like it doesn't really matter to your clients, as long as you don't have clown makeup on! I think makeup is fun and I like the way I feel when I put it on. But being in the industry that I am, I realize that's it's very important to be well on the inside. If you NEED to wear makeup to make it through the day without feeling terrible about yourself- then maybe there is a deeper issue. Or maybe it's society's issue because women don't get the same treatment without wearing makeup. I suppose this is all very deep and demands further exploration...

I couldn't agree more. And I'm sure I'll get to the bottom of it at some point soon! Thank you so much for being a part of Project Career Makeup!

Makeup makes you look more competent?

I've been meaning to conduct an experiment on career makeup for a very long time now. And I've decided today is the day. After a bridal makeup trial this morning, I was discussing with the mother of the bride this article from the New York times,  "Up the Career Ladder, Lip Stick in Hand." The article reported findings from an very interesting experiment on makeup and how it effects the way people make snap judgements of you. For the experiment they asked about 200+ people (about 80 of them male) to look at photographs of 25 female subjects, aged 20 to 50 and of three different skin tones, white, African-American and Hispanic. They photographed each woman with three looks that researchers called natural, professional and glamorous (no makeup is shown below also). And the viewers gave their opinions.

Photo from the NY Times

Their findings seemed unclear and unscientific. The Times just stated that "Viewers considered the women wearing more makeup to be more competent." Generally I feel this is true (because I sure do look incompetent without under eye concealer!). But what could have seriously off set the entire experiment was that the testers weren't looking at the women in-person, they were looking at pictures. And as you may or may not know, makeup shows up very differently on camera. I suppose using photographs would be the easiest way to conduct a controlled experiment, but there are so many different things that you can and can't see in a photograph (Article to come soon). Also, if you look at the 4 different images above, there is more hair in the other images and they are cropped differently.This could have also majorly affected the perception of the viewers.

I think Bobbi Brown had it right when she said to The Times, "the wrong color on a subject may have caused some testers to conclude that women with high-contrasting makeup were more “untrustworthy.” “People will have a bad reaction if it’s not the right color, not the right texture, or if the makeup is not enhancing your natural beauty.” I couldn't agree with you more, Bobbi.

I also think that the makeup you wear everyday should match your lifestyle. Before you put your makeup on, or while you put your makeup on, you need to consider where you are going, who you will be seeing, what the weather is like, what your skin type is like, how you want to feel, what you are wearing... and the list goes on. But trust me when I say this isn't nearly as complicated as it seems. It might just mean opting out of eye liner. Or taking the time to fill in your brows. It's really simple if you have the right colors, tools, products and little bit of know-how.

Work appropriate makeup is something that you have to adjust to your specific career, facial structure and coloring. Over the next couple of months I will be conducting an little experiment of my own. I will be traveling all over the city of New York interviewing women about their careers and how they decide to wear their makeup. I will call this great experiment Project Career Makeup. Do you know or are you a woman that would like to share your career makeup regimen? If so, please email me an picture of you, what your career is and how you have perfected your makeup look for your job. Thank you for your entry and I hope to meet you soon!