Interview With Todra Payne - Professional Makeup Artist

by 12 February 17, 2009 0 Comments


I had the pleasure of interviewing Todra Payne, owner of Makeup Theory Workshops.  Todra has been a professional makeup artist in New York for over a decade.  Her work has been seen in all the American and many international fashion and lifestyle magazines.  Among these magazines are Elle, Harper's Bazaar, O, W, Newsweek and many others.

Todra's company brings those years of experience and technique to real women.  Makeup Theory Workshops does private demonstrations on correct makeup application to groups of women.  Her focus is completely in line with our mission.  She is not only creates pretty faces; she wants to show women how to be beautiful and healthy.  Her goal is to showcase only organic/natural products during her workshops.  You can read more about Todra and Makeup Theory Workshops at her blog:

How long have you been doing makeup professionally?

I've been doing makeup professionally for about fifteen years.

What is your favorite part of the job?

My favorite part of being a makeup artist is meeting and working with new people.  Of course, I adore the artistic part of my job because there's something inside of me that needs to express itself through color, but I thrive on connecting with new people.  I could never work in an office and see the same 20 people every day.  I'd go crazy after a month.

Have you worked with celebrities?  If so, what was the experience like with them?

I've worked with a lot of celebs - Mariah Carey, Sigourney Weaver, Soledad O'Brien, Kimora Lee, etc.  It was a blast.  Everyone was really kind to me.  They knew I was good at my job and equally important, I was trustworthy - that's vital to celebrities because I was in their homes, around their families; I was seeing them without the makeup, hair and fashion image they portray.  I enjoyed the high profile clients I worked with.  I've even been entrusted with choosing kitchen paint colors for one particular apartment on the Upper East Side.

What do you think is one cosmetic product (lipstick, eyeshadow, foundation, etc.) you cannot live without?

I personally can't live without mineral foundation.  My skin is really healthy and I don't have break outs ever, but I love the glow that I get from a little foundation dusted all over before heading out the house.

What is the biggest mistake women make when applying makeup?

The biggest mistake women make when applying makeup is applying too much.  I did a blog post a few weeks ago entitled "The Psychology of Makeup".  It asked women to explore how much makeup they are wearing and why.  More women responded to that post than any I've ever done.  Makeup is a psychological issue for a lot of women.  When I see a woman with foundation that looks plastered on, or neon bright colors on her eyes, cheeks and lips (I call this the clown effect), I always wonder if she's trying to cover up her features instead of enhance them.  I wonder if she's uncomfortable with herself.

What do you think about the concept of "safe cosmetics"?

I am a big proponent of safe cosmetics.  I've thought about the issue for a couple of years now.  But, only in the past year have I really taken the stand to rid my makeup kit of all of the mainstream, irresponsible makeup I'd been touting.  So much of what's on the shelves in department stores are, literally, killing women.  Why put chemicals that have been linked to breast cancer in makeup?  To turn a profit?  That's disgusting.  I won't support that any longer.  There are too many alternatives.

Do you have any "tips" and "tricks" you would like to share on makeup application?

Foundation is the place where I find women make the most mistakes.  Go with the lightest texture and application you can get away with.  Always, always match your skin tone.  Foundation is supposed to be the color you are, not the color you wish you were born.  If you're feeling pale, use a soft bronzer around the hair line, but don't go with a darker foundation.  You'll get that line of demarcation along the jaw line.  And my last tip, if you only have time to apply one cosmetic product, determine what that should be for your face.  Forget how the magazines say every woman should do this or that.  For some women, lipstick brings their face to life.  For others, concealer is a must-have.  It's not going to be the same wonder product for each woman.  Know your face.