As cliché as it is to begin my first blog entry with a quote, the quote is something I find to be quite necessary: it’s the reason I have embarked on this little journey. I am quite the stubborn dreamer, and had I not been raised in the environment I was, I’m not quite sure if my dreams would have come true in the manner that they have.
|My grandmother in the McCaller, May 1967|
Add grand to Napolean's quote. I owe my infatuation with the world of beauty to my grandmother, Marie Irvine. An only-child of the Great Depression, she attended a one room schoolhouse in the tiny country town of Pawling, New York, enchanted with the beautiful surrounding Berkshire Mountains. With her parents unable to afford the tuition at Vassar, Marie had felt as if she had one choice after graduating from high school: New York City. The glistening “Big Apple”: a city where one could go from virtual unknown to celebrity overnight. Marie, a sensible, wise young lady did not, however, have aspirations to be a starlet. She longed for a comfortable life, and this was her motivator for entry into Katharine Gibbs Secretary School. Unfortunately, long hours of typing were much more tedious than she had initially thought. Feeling isolated and disheartened, Marie decided to take a job as a “treatment girl” at Elizabeth Arden’s famed Fifth Avenue Red Door Salon. Quickly rising the ranks at Arden with her natural talent and charm, she soon was applying makeup to dozens of New York City socialites and helping to formulate the makeup and skincare collection that has grown to be unanimous with the American idea of beauty. By the time she was thirty-five, Marie had limos taking her into Manhattan from her home in Queens to the sets of world-renowned photographers such as Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, creating looks for the likes of Marilyn Monroe and supermodel Verushka.
|Two of the hundreds of magazine covers my grandmother did makeup for. |
Left - Richard Avedon, January 1961. Right - Bill King, November 1969.
To say that glitter runs in my veins would certainly be a fair assessment. From the time I was five years old, the portrait of my mother as a toddler sitting on Marilyn Monroe’s lap inspired me. As perhaps one of the clumsiest children my dance studio had ever seen, my only motivation to keep dancing was the hope that in the next recital, I would get to wear more mascara. In the fifth grade, I declared in the yearbook that my role model was Bobbi Brown. No, not Whitney Houston’s dysfunctional ex-husband, but the makeup artist who so successfully created an ubiquitous international brand.
|My makeup work on the cover of Graphis Photography Annual 2009.|
Photo by Kevin Reed
Styling by Ope
Hair by Linh Nguyen
Fate has been quite kind to me. I began working as a freelance makeup artist in New York City when I was just shy of sixteen years old. In the past four and a half years, I have built up my portfolio with the help of many incredibly talented individuals I have met along the way. I also spent my sophomore year interning in the beauty department of Glamour Magazine, and I’m fortunate enough to have just completed a beauty & health internship at Teen Vogue. Sometimes, I need someone to pinch me and wake me up from these dreams, ideas I’ve had since I was awkwardly dancing in my sequin tutu, that are actually my reality.
|My first published writing credit in Teen Vogue, December/January 2012|
I would love for you to join me on my journey wearing coats upon coats of mascara and fabulously fuchsia lipstick. Not only through my tests of the latest and greatest cosmetics available (although I’m delighted to share my findings), but also through what has created our modern idea of beauty, explored through photos, observations, and small anecdotes. Beyond the powder, paint, and rouge of my vivid imagination is a world that I’m dying to explore. Follow me on Twitter @cbentleymakeup and check out what inspires me on Pinterest.
For the Love of Lipstick,