Day in the Life of Beauty: Jenny Smith, NARS Lead Makeup Stylist

By  February 14, 2014

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Glam looked in on Jenny Smith as she counts goes all in for the final days of New York Fashion Week, including an early morning presentation, and a marathon prep for Marc Jacobs fashion show. Here she shares  her recipe for healthy hot chocolate, her love of Morrissey, and her packed schedule:

5:00 AM I’m woken up by my best alarm clock, my cat Amore. He belts out meows that sound like a combination of Mom and Meow “Meeeowm, Meeeowm” and taps me in the head with this paw until I’m awake.
5:00-5:20AM It only takes a few paw taps on the head, and I’m immediately bright-eyed. Then I’m onto my phone checking emails and social media. Today is major – I’m leading a presentation and then heading straight to the Marc Jacobs runway show. To wake up, I rotate my feet and wrists in circles to get energy and circulation going and then I hug my legs close to my chest for a “my body is a temple” kind of stretch because it’s going to be a hectic day.
5:20-6:24 AM The day begins in full swing! Listening to Morrissey, I make coffee and get ready for work. My makeup brushes are still a bit damp, so they go on a towel on my radiator for a quick, New York-style dry. If you live in NY and you’re a makeup artist or live in a pre-war building, this trick is no secret.
6:30-6:40 AM I get picked up with my 60 pound makeup suitcase, which is basically a compression of an entire NARS counter into one bag – my life on wheels.
6:45-7:00 AM My colleague Niko [NARS National Makeup Stylist] meets me at the Jeffrey Dodd office and we go upstairs together to set up my kit. Today is Jeffrey’s first press preview, a presentation for editors and retailers.
7:00 AM Espresso time with Jeffrey to discuss the look for today. We’re doing a dark smokey eye that’s staying with a 1970s Goldie Hawn inspiration. Last week was Jeffrey’s lookbook shoot and I did a neutral, matte smoky eye and light lip. It’s about to get smoky in here!
7:11-7:20AM Jeffrey shows me the clothing looks that the model will wear along with the final lookbook.
7:20-7:30 AM We start makeup. Niko preps the model, Daan, with skincare as I choose the shades for today’s look and set out my products.
7:30-8:20 AM I create Daan’s look by creating a pristine complexion (with the help of primer, foundation, concealer, and powder), a sparkly cream eyeshadow layered with smoky grey shadows, and layers of black eyeliner and mascara. The rest of the look is all about highlighted, contoured features and a creamy nude lip.
8:20-8:40 AM The waiter arrives to take care of the catering and coffee machine/coffee drinks. We have breakfast while Daan is having her hair done.
8:40-8:53 AM I make a list of the products used on Daan, pack a touch-up bag and go to the dressing area to perfect Daan’s look before she goes out to start the preview.
9:00 AM The Jeffrey Dodd presentation begins.
9:00-10:45 AM We’re behind the scenes while the preview is happening and ready at any time to do a touch-up. The team takes Daan outside for photos in the snow between appointments – Jeffrey’s Instagram showcased some really beautiful shots on the street and in the snow.

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10:45-11:00 AM We pack up my makeup suitcase and head to the Marc Jacobs runway show.
11:15-11:45 AM Niko and I get picked up by a driver to head to Marc Jacobs and get set up for the marathon ahead. Call time is 12PM and the show is scheduled for 8PM. The streets look like an enormous slushy machine was emptied onto them and it’s also melting, creating a mess of unexpected puddles — a total Fashion Week nightmare for all of us dragging suitcases around!
11:45 AM We arrive at The Armory to set up for the show. We only wait a few minutes to enter, but luckily there are gentlemen left in the world, so one of the kind security guards carries my suitcase up the stairs for me.
12:00PM It’s only noon? I’ve already been going full tilt for 7 hours. Only another 9 or so to go. This is the runway show of NYC Fashion Week. We have the most artists backstage for this show of any of our others; it’s the longest span of time from call time to show; and the show will be led by none other than Francois Nars, NARS Cosmetics’ Founder and Creative Director. My adrenaline and I are ready!
12:00-12:30PM I get my kit set up and then Niko and I go to get a snack because we already know that this is the main opportunity to eat before we’re in full effect. If we don’t eat quickly now, we probably won’t eat for another 4 hours.
12:30-1:30PM Lena Koro, Mr. Nars’s right-hand woman-in-makeup gets a model and teaches us the look for this show. This demo on the model provides us with the specific shades and techniques required to create the look that we will be executing.
1:30-7:00PM Mr. Nars mentions the technique where the makeup is placed on the eyes to give a “3-D look” from a distance. As models are rushed to hair to receive blunt-cut bobs in shades of grey, beige, pink, silver, and chocolate, I am able to work with several models over the course of the night.

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7:00-8:00 PM We do final touches of makeup on the models before they leave to get dressed for the show. I immediately start cleaning my makeup brushes and pack the touch-up bag for backstage.
8:00 PM I’m in the second area of backstage now, and we touch up the girls before the runway show begins. Quick touch ups and last minute perfecting is what it’s all about.
8:30 PM The show is over and I’m packing up to jet out as quickly as I can – it is pouring buckets outside and I’m ready to go home!

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8:45-8:54 PM As soon as my colleague and I jump in a taxi for the ride home, I break out my bottle of lavender oil for us to put on our pulse points (wrists, neck). We take a few deep breaths and live in the moment. We talk about our upcoming trip to London Fashion Week and before I know it, I’m home.
8:54-10:15PM A wave of peace comes over me as I put on some Morrissey to end the night with music like this morning; like a classic movie, my day begins and ends the same. Now that my atmosphere is calming down, I make my favorite evening drink: hot water, raw cacao powder, raw honey, almond milk. The perfect way to end the night is with my version of a healthy hot chocolate! I post a few quick Instagram and social media posts before preparing a hot bath to finish my last night of New York Fashion Week.
10:15-11:00 PM I feel like I’m going to melt into the bath tub, so I make myself get out and wash my makeup brushes, prep for my NFP Studio shoot the next day, and pack a few things aside for London.
11:00-11:30 PM As I sink into bed, I’m instantly enveloped into my sea of all white pillows, sheets, and blankets. I run through a timeline in my mind of all of the special moments of the day and how grateful I am for everything that happened and the people I worked with and shared special moments with. What an epic day it was!