It’s day three of the Spring 2023 shoot aptly titled Rebel Florescence—Baddies in Bloom, when I step on set for the first time. A smiling barista greets me and offers an iced coffee and a colorful array of masks to choose from, perfectly in-sync with the brands all-colors-are-celebrated credo.
Rounding the corner, I’m met with the heartbeat of any good experience, the soundtrack—a seemingly effortless, yet carefully curated collection, balanced by recognizable and avant-garde beats. The room is full of people, each as vital to the production as the next, including the brand’s Content Director Marin Brousse, and Vice President of Education Mark Anastasios at the creative helm. Together they plan and execute a shoot that appears calm, cool, and ultra-hip where everyone is made to feel gorgeous and included, because NYX Cosmetics is about reinventing traditional beauty standards.
I’m struck by the vast color palette of the scene, from the wardrobe and accessories to the models, and of course, the makeup. Blues so bright they make peacock feathers look pale, shimmering metallics and yellows that rival the California sun, and bright smiles everywhere.
The lifeblood of the production, a team of seven makeup pros lead with quiet confidence by Alyssa Anderson, create their masterpieces with a meticulous attention to detail. Organized like a fashion show with short timelines and a look board guiding the vision, Mark checks in periodically, complimenting and communicating, keeping everything on track.
At the second makeup station, pro-artist Vittorio Massechia blends the new skin care line, Bare with me Blur onto skin that becomes poreless before my eyes, while model Makhala raves. “I can’t wait to buy this!” she says marveling. “I love having the inside scoop. I got my all-time favorite product at the last shoot—Hydra Touch Primer. It gives my skin a glassy look and makes everything stay put.”
I move down to peep over the shoulder of Chris Finley, as his steady hand glides Vivid Brights Liquid Liner into a graphic pattern complimenting the Fat Oil Lip Drip glistening juicily across the model’s pout. The combination of neutral and high-impact balances perfectly for maximum wow and the artistry of this team is a force that leaves me awestruck.
As I move about, weaving my impressions into a cohesive story, everyone appears to be having a good time and when I ask them about their experience, my theory is confirmed. Stepping off the backdrop of fluffy white clouds that are the social media stage, Jessica, a caramel skinned hottie with bling-adorned dreadlocks who is clearly having a good time, has this to say, “This is my first time with NYX Cosmetics and I loved doing the video shoot. It was so much fun to bring big personality.”
Mark mentions that although his creative vision is clear he loves to see how others interpret it. “Serve me the fantasy!” he happily exclaims encouraging models to bring their authentic selves.
There are twenty-four models in all, one for every shade of Blur, so every ethnicity is embraced. Curious about where these faces came from, I talk to casting director Omar Martin to find out. “NYX Cosmetics is one of the most diverse sets I’ve been on. I use Instagram to find talent, but also visit pockets in LA where young people hang out, by using geotags. Melrose Trading Post, the flea market on Fairfax is a favorite, for sure.”
‘Good vibes only’ is a recurring theme with the other models I chat with as well. Renad, whose hijab was perfectly coordinated with her eyeshadow and the bobby pin holding it in place told me, “NYX Cosmetics was so professional! Sometimes, with wearing a hijab, stylists don’t know what’s okay and what isn’t, but the NYX Cosmetics team got it. Everyone was so cool.”
And Lihem, donning a seriously innovative updo, courtesy of the hair team lead by Castillo Bataille, told me about how valued she feels here. “It’s my third time shooting with NYX Cosmetics and I feel like it gets better and better. Everyone is so nice, and the day goes by fast.”
Darrion, a dancer and choreographer that recently did a show with none other than Madonna during Pride, said they dig the inclusive vibe of the brand and how everyone is so caring. “I love this look. You have a way of doing your makeup and it’s so fun to see what someone else does. It’s gorgeous.”
I wonder about the inception of something so expansive, with so many variables and ask Marin what he and Mark’s influences were. “We represent misfits, innovators and fierce personalities, and we hope to bring the best of that LA rebel attitude to the world. In a time when the rights we’ve fought so hard for are being overturned and the future is uncertain, we support rebellion 1000%. We celebrate artistry and fierce makeup looks but more importantly a fierce spirit ready to stand up for who we are!”
Sitting with Mark for a moment, his passion is infectious as he tells me about keeping an eye on trends, but always with a focus on accentuating what you love about yourself, and how this shoot was inspired by everyone from Versace to Beyonce. “Pushing the envelope, evolving, growing, and taking risks is as important as consumers getting what’s right for them. There should always be a joy to it,” he says. Sitting behind the monitor and watching as Marin dances and encourages the model on deck, it seems that goal has been accomplished and the brand is living its motto ‘the bright side is always the right side.’