Photos and Story by Violetta Markelou
I like to call her “The Face.” That’s the nickname I gave model Courtney Hoff after I worked with her for the first time when I shot Washington Life’s Holiday Fashion editorial. I thought it only fitting since she possesses unusual, striking looks. I stumbled upon her on Modelogic Wilhelmina’s website while casting for the photo shoot and I immediately stopped. You don’t see a face like this often. She’s the perfect hybrid of the models Hillary Rhoda and Natalia Vodionova. I asked myself jokingly, “Is she part Avatar?”
Growing up, my influences were the great photographer Richard Avedon and fashion designer Gianni Versace. Together they created classic ad campaigns featuring the “super” models of the 1990s. It was a time when models went by their first names and their personalities were larger than the clothes they modeled. Who can ever forget Linda Evangelista’s “I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day” comment? Christy, Cindy, Linda and Naomi prancing in mid air in Grecian gowns is precisely what made me want to be a photographer.
Courtney has that kind of iconic look with a classic beauty that inspires me to create art. So I got together with the mega talented hair stylist Jamal Edmonds and NARS regional makeup artist Yaneek Proctor. As the photos show, they were a dream team to work with. I just told them the concept was “other-worldly” and “regal” and they did their magic. I just tried my best to capture it all!
Here’s a detailed description of how Yaneek and Jamal created these icon-worthy looks.
Makeup (All Nars unless otherwise noted)
Prep with clean, hydrated skin. Create a flawless face with Nars Oil-Free Primer, Nars Siberia Sheer Glow Foundation, along with Mac Pro Longwear Concealer (in two shades to give face more dimension), and three shades of Yves Saint Laurent Loose Powder to set. To create these looks Yaneek really played with color. Don’t be afraid to mix and match: Yaneek used eye color on cheeks, cheek colors on lips and eyes (along with Mac pigment eye shadows), and eyeliner as lip liners. Yaneek even used colored lip foil on one look. After each look was complete, she layered on showstopping lashes.
Jamal started with washed hair using Mizani Thermasmooth shampoo and conditioner. He then used a blow dryer to dry and a flat iron to smooth.
Brows: Fill in with “Night Breed” eyeshadow.
Eyes: Prep with eyeshadow base before applying “D’Gorgeous” eyeshadow along with “Bali,” “Lulu,” “Daphne” and “Night Breed.” Finish with M.A.C. Pigment in “Fairylite” in the inner corners and lower lashline.
Face: Foundation listed above plus “Laguna Bronzer” over face to create depth.
Lips: YSL nude lip in “#6 Rouge Pur” and Nars “Night Life” eyeshadow with “Triple X” gloss. Top off with intense Shu Uemura feathered lashes.
Part hair down the middle stopping at the tip of the crown. Pull hair back into a ponytail at each ear securing with an elastic tie. Pull the rest into a ponytail at the top and secure. Attach a bun and wrap with hair. Secure with pins. Pull out a small section from side ponytail and braid. Secure end of braid at the base of the ponytail and secure with a pin.
Brows: Fill in with “Coconut Grove” eyeshadow.
Eyes: Start with eyeshadow base then apply blush shades “Taj Mahal” and “Exhibit A.” Use “Via Veneto” Longwear Eyeliner along the wet line of the eye and on upper lashline.
Cheeks: “Gilda” and “Zen” blush
Lips: M.A.C. Pigments in “Magenta Madness” and “New Fixation” along with Nars “Triple X” gloss
Lashes: Complete with Shu Uemura “Cheetah” pattern false lashes.
To create the third look, take the bun down and braid it. Then take each ponytail down on the sides and pull them back to wrap around the base of the main braid on top. Secure with pins and mist with shine and holding spray.
Brows: Fill in with “Coconut Grove” eye shadow.
Eyes: Apply “Exhibit A” and “Taj Mahal” blush on eyes. Add “China Blue” eye shadow for depth. Yaneek used Makeup Forever’s “Flash” palette to create the blue shade she wanted, then went over that with Nars “South Beach” eyeshadow. Add more pigment with M.A.C. “Partylicious.”
Cheeks: “Gina” and “Zen” blush
Lips: Glitzy Lips Foil in “Gold.”
Lashes: Complete the look with natural hair lashes, which are available online.
Part hair down the middle stopping at the tip of the crown. Pull each section into a ponytail above each ear and secure with an elastic tie. Take a small section of each ponytail and wrap around elastic then secure with a pin. Pull the rest of hair into a high ponytail at the crown of the head and secure with an elastic. Add a bun cushion and cover with hair, secured with pins.
Yaneek Proctor acquired her extensive skills and knowledge working for renowned cosmetics companies such as Stila, Prescriptives, Yves Saint Laurent, Smashbox and Nars Cosmetics. Her work has been featured on Entertainment Tonight and Washington DC news stations to name a few. Yaneek is an on-call makeup artist for celebrities, television networks and leading industry photographers. She is currently a regional artist with Nars Cosmetics. Her company Envee Makeup Artistry specializes in makeup for television, special occasions and runway. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jamal Edmonds is the founder and co-owner of Salon Lamaj in Washington, D.C. His work has been featured in Washington Life Magazine, Montage Magazine, Orlando Style, LMH and Zink. In 2011 Jamal joined the MIZANI design team as an educator and continues advanced education in cosmetology. Jamal provides his artistic skills and consulting services for training, wedding parties and special events in Washington, D.C. Visit his website here.
Violetta Markelou is a visual artist specializing in photography and makeup in Washington, D.C. When she’s not documenting the art of transformation with her camera, she spends her time uncovering high- and low-end fashion, jewelry and accessories in vintage and second-hand shops. She shares more of her style insights at her blog The Thrifty Fashionista and its Facebook group almost daily.