Roxy Saffaie has a long list of experience under her belt.  She has lived in Hawaii, Paris, and now she's based in Los Angeles /New York.  Roxy has traveled around the world and has worked with many.  To name a few she has worked with fashion photographers Steven Klein, Patrick Hoelck, Hedi Slimane, and Miles Aldridge.  Her work has been featured in Oyster, Vogue Brazil, Paper, Nylon, Essence, and WWD.  Some of her clients has included Michael Kors, Russel Simmons, Leighton Meester, Tommy Hilfiger, Ashton Kutcher. Fashion shows  YSL, Jill Stuart, Giorgio Armani Prive, Pucci, French Festival - Christian Dior, Chanel, Hermes, Jean Paul Gautier, and Sonya Rykiel.  The list goes on and on.

 Exclusively Fashion Magazine: Can you tell me your journey as a make-up artist from when you began to now?

Roxanne  Saffaie: My passion for creating and having a flair for entrepreneurialism is the foundation of my career. From painting on the walls of my childhood home to making over my friends for events in high school, I fell in love with color and transformation. Being a professional makeup artist came to me while working in sales behind a makeup counter years ago.  Although I was very good with sales, my favorite part of the job was to perform makeup on the women that would come to the counter.  It was not long before I quit that job after realizing that I could actually have a career strictly doing makeup and actually make a good living doing it. 

I started the freelance hustle, came up on some great jobs here and there, but also struggled to keep it steady and learn the business. Being young and journeying through my 20’s I also was finding my way in life and had developed another work related passion for Marketing and PR in the fashion and music industries. I ventured out and pursued work in those areas and eventually moved from Honolulu to New York City to take it a step further.  In NYC I found myself keeping one foot in makeup, doing jobs that would come to me through people I knew, and one foot in the areas of marketing and PR until eventually it was time for another change.  That change took place when I decided to move to Paris for several months and attend Christian Chauveau’s artistic academy. It was an amazing experience with everything taught in French by some of the most incredible makeup artist instructors.  My hands already had a feeling for performing makeup with good skill but being a student at CC, my EYES left the school equipped with the strongest attention to detail, which to this day keeps me on top of my game.

 I ended up moving back to NYC 6 months later and picked up where I left off, playing with 2 different careers, freelance makeup and marketing. Three years my inspirations for work evolved when I moved from NYC to LA and that’s I decided to commit to my makeup career full time.  My artistry with makeup found its way back to me only this time I discovered a new love for it and patience so I could grow a real career from it.  I started working on my book, building relationships and constantly researching. 

Now makeup is all that I do, all that I want to do and all that plan to do in the years to come.  I absolutely love my job and never feel like I am “working’ when hired for a gig.  I will say that the experiences I gained while working in marketing and PR have helped me be a stronger business woman and not just a creative artist which I feel is crucial to building a successful career as makeup artist.

EFM: Do you remember your first paid job; if so, what was it?  Were you nervous?

RS: My first paid job was for Chanel at the Chanel boutique in Honolulu where I was living at the time.  I was more focused on doing a great job than I was nervous. Chanel was having a model search and the winner would walk the Chanel runway in a huge collection of runway shows called  “ The French Festival” where designers such as Hermes, Christian Dior and Jean Paul Gautier were featured along with Chanel.  My model was the winner and I got press in the local papers because of it so I was really excited about it.

EFM: Do you think that it is hard to break into this business?

RS: Yes I do think it’s challenging to break into this business and do well in it. I think some of the best careers will offer some challenge and in return the reward is that much sweeter when you succeed.

EFM: We all know that you have to work from the bottom to reach the top in this industry.  How long have you been working to gain experience and do you think that it is still necessary to work for free?

RS: I have been working for years to gain experience and everyday I seek new ones.  The day I have “too much experience” is the day I am officially bored with what I do for a living.  Everyday is a new experience in my career and that’s one of the things I love about it most.  I do see it still necessary to be open to working free jobs, pending the job and reason behind it. If there is a good cause or someone I really want to work with, I don’t have any problem offering my makeup for as a free trail or a test to gain a relationship. That said it’s also very important to not sell yourself short.

EFM: What is your favorite brand of make-up to use?

RS: It’s hard to have a “favorite” I use so many amazing lines such as Shu Uemura, Smashbox, Nars and YSL.  I also use some amazing makeup from Japan that delivers incredibly.

EFM: What inspires you? 

RS: Everything that makes my emotions move inspires me. Nature, Art, History, Music, Travel, Poetry, Love and even Pain…

EFM: It can be pretty hectic backstage during fashion week; how do you stay calm and organized.

RS: I stay focused and confident.  I was hired for a reason and my job is to deliver.  It’s important to be reliable.

EFM: What is your typical day like and how long are the hours?

RS: One of my favorite things about my job is that no day is typical.  Every job is different.  It can be a day waking at 5 to be on set by 7 and working 10+ hours.  Or a day on location painting on beautiful talent and petting wild horses all day… that was one of my most recent jobs- Amazing.  

EFM: Do you have a favorite color of lipstick; if so what color?  

RS: I love a sharp red with a blue undertone but my sister favourite is a shocking fuchsia. I love to make a statement with lipstick.

EFM: What are the make-up trends for fall 09?

RS: It seems this year fall trends produced a focus on red lips or had an 80’s inspired, dramatic eye. Makeup can be a great accessory to your look and I think fall is an especially great time to approach your look in that fashion.  Most people usually find their fall wardrobe to be full of dark colors so working color on your face can be a great way to brighten up your look.

EFM: Any beauty tips for a long lasting glow? 

RS: Take care of your skin. Use sunscreen, exfoliate, moisturize and try to live a healthy lifestyle.  Skin is the canvas to your makeup and the better the skin the better your makeup will wear.

EFM: What advice can you give to make-up artists who are working for the first time backstage at a fashion show?

RS: Stay focused, be confident and always professional.  Be the kind of makeup artist you would want supporting you at one of your fashion shows.

EFM:  What advice would you give to an aspiring make-up artist? 

RS: Believe in yourself, keep your brushes moving, learn the business not just how to apply makeup, educate yourself on the industry and be patient.  One of my favorite inspirational quotes that I live by is that “Success is a journey not a destination” so enjoy the ride…


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Interview by Rochell “E” James





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