Behind the Scenes: Beholding Beauty During Miami Swim Week
by Beauty For Real Founder, Leslie Munsell
I saw this quote some time ago and loved it so much I put it up on my inspo board at my office - “Although beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, the feeling of being beautiful exists solely in the mind of the beheld.” Martha Beck
To me, this means that it doesn’t matter how beautiful you look to others - you may look like the most beautiful woman at the party, let’s go all in and say you look like Giselle Bundchen. Can you imagine it? Everyone goes crazy over you but you’re the only one who knows what looking that gorgeous truly feels like. If you don’t feel and believe you’re beautiful, looking like that doesn’t mean anything.
After spending the weekend with hundreds of gorgeous swimsuit models in town for Miami Swim Week, this quote really rang true. Beauty For Real sponsored and did make up for five shows and had several pop ups all over town. It was a crazy-busy, fun-filled four days.
I can’t think of any situation where I’d need more confidence in the way I looked than walking on a raised platform in a teeny bikini with incredibly intense lights, a pack of photographers and videographers shooting pictures of me, and hundreds of critical people watching. Yikes! Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? But the best models put on their game face and absolutely kill it on the runway. They may not be what we think of when we think of beautiful, but there is a certainty about them. They strut with incredible confidence and embody whatever vision of beauty the designer has for the brand.
After spending 30 years as a make up artist and doing a million shows, I’ve seen a lot of models during the pre-game warm up. They all have different levels of confidence coming in, and the really experienced girls usually come in calm, cool and ready to go. The inexperienced, new girls are a bit on edge, excited but anxious to get the whole thing over with.
I compare fashion shows to hosting and cooking for Thanksgiving - you spend months planning, days preparing and the whole thing is over in ten minutes. This is how it must be for a model - they’re bodies are in top form (months of workouts), most fly in, casting and rehearsals are days in advance, they come hours early for hair and make up and the whole show lasts ten minutes. It is an amazing ten minutes though!
Before the show, the backstage area is a chaotic, intense madhouse. Usually there’s never enough space to work well and never enough time. Girls running in late from another show means hair and make up have to be done in record speed. This is where a great team performing well together is a must. The makeup artist’s role is crucial as we spend the most time face-to-face, one-on-one with the girls before they go on. They must look and feel beautiful and super confident to go out there and really work it. They’ve got to believe it. We make up artists must do our part to get them there, not only in applying gorgeous make up, but also by confirming what they hopefully already know and believe- that they look beautiful and are psyched to go out there and show it.
This is so important in all of the work we do as make up artists and something I talk about constantly. It’s not only about how you make someone look, it’s also about how you make them feel. I feel privileged to work in a field that gives this opportunity. To be able to spend time with someone, to touch them in a way that really affects them is incredible. It’s so great to have the knowledge and skill to apply the best look on someone, give them great skin, flawless foundation and concealer, perfectly applied eyeliner and eye shadow, blush, highlighter and contour to die for and the best lips possible, but if you don’t make them feel it, then you haven’t done your job. If they feel beautiful, they are beautiful.