Wednesday, December 29, 2010


For me, this "series" was definitely special and surely laced with magic for multiple reasons. First, our bare bones team. Now, anyone who knows me in real life or follows me on twitter knows I'm a bit obsessed with astrology along with uhhh ... spirituality? Call it narcissistic if you must, but being a Scorpio, I really just can't get enough of being around my species and soaking in what they give off. I've only known Destiney for a few months but everything we create I've been in love with. And Bobby, well, words can't really do our connection justice but we've been vibing off each other for quite some years. Every Scorpio I've ever known has a certain undeniable, nearly mystical, passionate energy they can bring to any situation. So working with them in anything, especially creative always leaves me fulfilled. What started as a test for another series we have planned, quickly took on a mind and life of it's own, very much by accident. I've always wanted to recreate a look I did on myself, because well, what good does it do on me? When I was about half way done, Bobby came over and mentioned something about it looking like a Phoenix. I went with it, loving the idea, finished the makeup and we began to shoot.

The first real snow fall of the season had begun hours before as we set up and continued throughout our shoot. Of course I HAD to convince Bobby to at least take a few shots outside to capture this season's "first". It was pretty cold though and we only got about 5 outside shots. What continued inside was just some kinda magical flow that you just had to be there to feel. "Let the drummer kick" - Citizen Cope became our soundtrack and Bobby clicked away, quite literally to the beat of the song and we all seemed to enter a nearly trance like state. Anyhow, this was the outcome. Enjoy. :)

Photographer: Robert Billings
Model: Destiney Davila
Makeup: Risa

Monday, December 6, 2010

Reed & Rader

This is a post for all you art/mixed media/fashion/makeup/photography lovers.

Deep in the belly of what could easily be one the most creatively inspired areas I've ever had the pleasure of inhabiting (Brooklyn), lies Reed & Rader. They're a very unique photography duo I was introduced to by Lottie and was lucky enough to assist her on 2 of their shoots. And lemme just tell you, watching her pump out 13 amazing over the top looks in 1 day was already inspiring. Seeing the outcome of the images made my jaw drop and then turn up into a smile. Again, as I said before, that's what I love about this business. The final outcome is infused with each contributer's own touch of "magic". I'm hoping to work with them myself one of these days because who wouldn't want the awesome images they produce in their portfolio?! In any case, the shoots I assisted her with are finally up and you can view them here:

(Make sure you check out the rest of their site too. The kid inside of you will jump for joy. Promise.)

Freak Show

(they're animated so click the link and look at the site - these compressed FB jpgs do them absolutely no justice)

Tokion Factory

Friday, December 3, 2010

Recent Work: Omayra & Megan

Photographer: MG Oania (
Model: Omayra
Stylist: Sherry
Hair: Mirna Jose
Makeup: Risa

Photographer: MG Oania (
Model: Megan
Stylist: Sherry
Hair: Mirna Jose
Makeup: Risa

Monday, November 29, 2010

New Work: Destiney

Photographer: Netty P
Model: Destiney Davila
Makeup: Risa
Hair: First set- Team Effort Last Photo- Egypt

More coming

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Work: Daria & Kamila

(dress in last set by Juan Vargas)

Photographer: MG Oania (
Model: Daria (VNY)
Stylist: Wilfredo Bermudez
Makeup: Risa
Hair: Juan Vargas

Photographer: MG Oania (
Model: Kamila (VNY)
Stylist: Brian
Makeup/Hair: Risa

Friday, October 29, 2010


It's been said time and time (and time) again by makeup artists everywhere that they love what they do because:
"they make people feel beautiful"
"enhance beauty"
"boost self esteem"


Well, I stick my tongue out and offer a rasberry to that response. Don't get me wrong, working retail I definitely liked being able to "help" people. But that's not what I've ever loved about nor been drawn to regarding makeup. In fact, that's what I hate about makeup. It can and often does create a dependency for some. The number of people I've met who simply cannot and will not leave the house without makeup on is ridiculous. I'm embarrassed to admit I was a member of that club 7 years ago. I even did my makeup while I was doped up on morphine in the hospital. Talk about the BS we're taught to subscribe to. But that's a different topic for a different time...

Now, I don't really know jack about fashion. I can't tell you which shoes have red bottoms, though at least I know ones with red soles are special! And while I can strut in 6's with the best of them, I choose chucks 99% of the time. However, I've always been drawn to more shall I say "abstract" creative makeup. And it just so happened that generally that kind of makeup coincides with fashion and beauty.

I still feel very much like a toddler finding their legs, navigating through this new world where "success" seems to be based not only what you know, but talent, hard work, tears(heets) and who you know. (Realize that "what you know =/= talent" They are no where near the same thing.) And although I'm still new at all of this I can tell you that the way I view the fashion industry, is everything that I love about makeup.

Every single shoot I work on leaves me utterly exhausted and satisfied. It's almost better than sex. It's a merging mesh of creation coming from every angle you could imagine. And thus far, everyone's egos have been left at the door, allowing for unadulterated entanglement of everyone's creative energies. Which, in turn leaves a very sweet aftertaste on my tongue. Needless to say, I'm addicted.

See, regarding makeup in fashion, it's not about making anyone pretty or beautiful. It's building off and transforming the beauty that's already there. Notice I said nothing about enhancing, for transformation is what's key. Most fashion models seem to be interesting looking and have chameleon like capabilities.

The entire thing is a creative collaboration between photographer, model, makeup artist, stylist, hair stylist etc - all coming together to create an image that is nearly always "weird" in some way, but makes you feel something. At least that's how I see it. So to be a part of that, in any which way, is like a drug to me.

There's definitely something to be said for creation. Which is why artists of any kind thrive in a way that those who don't utilize their creative energy do not.

This blog entry has been sitting here for well over a week, waiting for me to hit "Publish post". I wanted to add so much more, but I'll leave it as is for now...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Demoness? Geisha? IDK... Halloween Makeup

Use it for whatever you like, it kinda works for both :P

Products Used:

Primer Potion - Urban Decay
Red and Black Flash colors - Makeup Forever
Charismatic Glitter - Tony & Tina
Carbon Eyeshadow - MAC
Black Liquid Liner - Prestige
Flirt Faux Lashes - Sugar Cosmetics
Black Mascara

HD Primer - Makeup Forever
Stila Perfecting Foundation Stick
NSFW Lip Tar - Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
Carbon Eyeshadow - MAC

Red Lipliner
Tarred Lip Tar - Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
NSFW Lap Tar - Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
Charismatic Glitter - Tony & Tina

Monday, October 25, 2010

Greek Goddess

I'm SUPER late to the Halloween game...Good thing you only need a sheet, a $2 trip to the craft store and makeup for this look:

sans Flash

With flash

Products Used:

Primer Potion - Urban Decay
Blend Eyeshadow - Senna Cosmetics
Gold Powder - Mehron
Gold glitter cream- NYX
Reflects Gold Glitter - MAC
Vanilla Pigment - MAC
#10 Aqua Eyes Liner - Makeup Forever
Black Liquid Liner - Prestige
Black V Faux Lashes - Shu Uemura

HD Primer
HD Foundation - Makeup Forever
Ultra Pro FOundation - Face Atelier

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Recent Work

I met Melody in Miami this summer at Swim week and instantly fell in love with her...look, movement, presence and attitude. 3 months later, she's finally in NY and we made an impromptu shoot happen. On the other hand, the talent behind the lens I've known for years. He makes me wanna explode with amazement at how he seems to truly capture a person's essence. Every. Single. Time.

Photographer: Robert Billings
Model: Melody K (One Model Management)
Makeup: Risa

Elly was so playful and full of life...Our whole morning was filled with laughter. MG's creative style and easy going nature is always a breath of fresh air.

Photographer: Mg Oania
Model: Elly T. (Direct)
Stylist: Griffin Direction
Makeup: Risa

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Artist OCD

I often wonder if I'm too OCD with my work. I sat down to edit a tutorial and when I got to the blush/contour application part, I realized that I had placed the makeup COMPLETELY wrong and way too high. How had I not noticed? It's so overtly obvious...if I end up deciding not to care and post the video, you'll see. But in everything I do makeup wise, whether my own or anyone else's, I'm rarely happy with it. I nit pick and can see a million mistakes.

During Miami Swim, Lottie told me she had been looking at the images from the previous night. I hadn't realized they'd post that quickly so upon hearing this, I got on a laptop the moment I could to examine my work. Obsessive much? And while they don't look bad, I still see mistakes. The worst/best is shooting with my friends who are photographers. They don't make me wait long to see the photos. We often edit them together, deciding which poses we like, lighting etc. But it also means I get to see my work completely unedited. And there has yet to be a time where I haven't seen at least one thing that I wish I had done better, differently or cleaner.

And although I know my portion of the work isn't yet perfected, I can't help but to pick the photograph as a whole apart as well. There are definitely times where I'm 100% happy with the model, composition, lighting, styling and editing. Yet there's just as many times where my OCD bleeds over into territory that isn't mine to control. I see editing mistakes and cringe considering if I should even use the photo in any kind of portfolio. As I'm present for the entirety of a shoot, I know what was shot and often wonder why photographers choose the photos they do to edit and send. Even models have "bad angles".

However, that's when I check myself. Until my own work is perfected, I don't really have room to even pick apart anyone else's work. Are all artists (regardless of craft) this OCD about their work? I'm curious...

Sharing the Blog Love...

Last night, while dancing around Williamsburg, smashing a pumpkin and attempting parkour, I was shown photos of the hair at Alexander McQueen. I had no clue that Laurel even kept a blog and while I don't generally read too many blogs, I have to say I'm a fan of hers. She's also a Millner and has created pieces for the likes of Lady Gaga and Taylor Momsen. Chances are if you were a Gossip Girl fan during season 1 and 2, you've seen Laurel's creations on the show.

Anyhow, check out this photo from McQueen and click it to see/read Laurel's post: