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Nina Darguzis

Nina is a resident makeup artist at Cinema Secrets... and all-around jill-of-all-trades. She sometimes works in the retail store, where she shares her vast knowledge of beauty and FX makeup with customers, but she also has a hand in most of the behind-the-scenes functions at CS.

When we have photo shoots, Nina not only shares her makeup artistry, but also organizes the events, helps plan shots, and wrangles models and other artists.

During product development, Nina is the official tester of new products and helps create easy-to-understand instructions for use.

When it comes to marketing, Nina can answer any question about the Cinema Secrets product line and offers up her knowledge in blog posts, for press inquiries, and in phone calls with customers.

This is all on top of her entertainment-industry makeup artistry, which includes a range of movies and television shows that let her show off her skills with beauty makeup and FX designs equally. She even was featured as an expert on an episode of History Channel's Modern Marvels focused on Halloween makeup.

Most recently, Nina was invited to speak about Cosplay ("costume play") at the 2011 Phoenix Comicon.
From: Chicago
Lives: Los Angeles
Years Experience: Makeup artistry in general 14 years, professionally in Los Angeles 10 years.
Top 3 CS Products:
1. Professional Brush Cleaner
2. Eye Primer
3. Foundation Primer

How did you get started in makeup?

I worked for a costume shop called Josie O'Kain Costumes in Joliet, Illinois, and one year they asked me if I wanted to do Halloween makeups for our clients. I said, "Sure!" and started to do research. I read a lot of makeup how-to books, watched a ton of videos, and just experimented on any and all my friends who'd allow me to work on them. Then, one day I was at a comic book convention with my friends, dressed as "Buffy" vampires. I won the contest judged by a couple of the actors and was told that it looked amazing and I should think about being a makeup artist. The actor gave me the name of the show's head artist and I emailed, sending pictures and asking questions. I went to a trade show and asked the major vendors where I could go to school to study. Next thing, I visited LA to check out schools, found one I loved, and stayed. The rest, as they say, is history.

What do you consider your specialties?

Beauty, Face & Body Paint, Airbrush, Special Makeup FX

What is your favorite type of makeup project?

Fantasy and creature Makeup. It really lets me stretch my creativity and imagination.

What is the most valuable skill you've learned?

Believe it or not, proper color-mixing and -matching. It sounds really simple, but it's probably the single most vital part of any kind of makeup. If you can't match or create colors, you can't build a look--beauty or otherwise.

What is the most challenging makeup situation you've experienced?

I was the key artist on an independent film with a cast full of monsters and creatures. I finished the three-hour makeup, and before the talent was even called to set, he came back and his eyebrow cover was sliding away from the cap. One of my makeup assistants came back with him looking horrified as the director asked if we'd be stuck completely re-doing his makeup. I took a look and sat the talent down, then after a moment, shook my head and told him, "Give me 10 minutes. I think I know what happened, and I can fix this." I had told one of the artists who was helping me with a bald cap to seal it down as solidly as she could, because the talent was known for perspiring a lot. She did just that. I had forgotten to tell her to leave a small hole so the perspiration could escape. I took my airbrush needle and popped two tiny little holes at the base of his neck in the cap. Luckily, I always pack back-up prosthetics, so I slapped a new brow cover over him and matched the coloring. The director thought I was a hero--now I know the key was to keep calm and think on my feet.

What is your best tip for other makeup artists?

Never stop learning. Even if you're the best at what you do, the moment you stop trying to learn new things, you'll hit your peak and everything else will become stagnant. I find that, even when I'm not trying, I learn something new everyday and work it into my own techniques.

Do you have any advice for amateurs who want to become pro?

You have to have a passion for this job and love what you do. You have to want it and be willing to work hard and long hours. When things are good, they're amazing. When things are not, it can be pretty discouraging. It's a competitive field, so make yourself marketable and be ready for that daily job hunt--but always keep trying.

What have you been up to most recently?

I just came out of being in demand for a good stretch of time. Recently, I've been working with the wonderful cast and crew on All My Children, picking up a few event makeups for graduations and proms, teaching private airbrush lessons... and I just finished being a guest at Phoenix Comic Con where I was teaching attendees tips and tricks of Cosplay makeup.