Artist Interview with Senna Cosmetics Owner & Makeup Artist Eugenia Weston
Emmy-nominated celebrity makeup artist Eugenia Weston founded SENNA Cosmetics in 1976—the first professional makeup artist line to introduce natural looking and wearable color cosmetics with prestige formulas.
We were extremely excited to interview Eugenia; we spent forty minutes in a conversation spanning the use of makeup as a historical symbol of outward resistance, the importance of color theory, and what it means to be a true artist, especially within a creative industry often criticized for its narcissism.
Eugenia Weston applying makeup at The Makeup Show Conference in Orlando, 2014
How did you first become interested in makeup artistry?
I believe it was a power greater than myself. I have always been attracted to it. I worked with Bette Middler for many, many years; when we were working on set, people would always ask me that question—“how did you become interested in makeup?”— Bette never let me answer. She would answer, saying I was “born with a brush in my hand.” I just always had a knack for it. I find faces very fascinating. When I look at someone, I can read their lifestyle and emotions within their expressions. I am very intuitive. I think I was born to do it— I am self-taught. It is all I have ever done.
What inspires you creatively?
Nature inspires me. My customers inspire me. Art inspires me; color inspires me.
What does a makeup artist need to succeed in the beauty industry?
Passion, first and foremost. You have to love what you do. I find that a lot of people are not true artists—they are wanna-bees.
A true artist brings out the best in a person. A true artist is genuine and caring. Nowadays with the selfies, it’s all about “me, me, me.” That’s not right: it is not about you—it is about them. When a true artist creates on another person, it is about the other person.
Makeup can be quite healing. I’ve had people cry because they can’t believe what we’ve brought out and enhanced in them. People need a good healing.
The second thing makeup artists need to succeed in the beauty industry is an understanding of color theory— I have to reteach it to everyone who works for me. It is not taught in beauty or cosmetology school; I would probably prefer hiring someone out of Cal Arts than someone who came out of beauty school because they understand color theory, form and function— how to create balance, how a line is going to work on a face, how the color is going to pop or recede or define.
To what do you attribute your success in the beauty industry?
Hard work. Loving it. Doing it every day. Makeup is a form of connection. You enter personal space when you put makeup on someone—that personal space is very intimate. I connect well with people, using makeup as my medium.
As an artist, are you a perfectionist?
I am absolutely a perfectionist. I have a magnifying glass I call my “third eye,” and I check everything under it. I was trained in the old days—when you did photography, makeup retouching was very expensive. Everything had to be perfect. I had to make sure there wasn’t a stray speck of dust. I still do that. A human person is perfect—I try to make makeup look like it is a part of you, not laying on you. That is why learning color theory is so important. You have to recognize undertones in order to extend and perfect what is already there. We are working on a three-dimensional surface, not on a two-dimensional canvas—there are shadows. When I first started doing makeup, I had a hard time knowing when it was complete—I wondered, “did it look good, do I need to do more, does something need to change?” Now, I just know.
What is unique about Senna Cosmetics?
Definitely the complexion products. Senna is about transformation—it’s about creating the illusion of transformation, but you still look like yourself—a better version of yourself. When someone likes the way they look, it changes how they feel.
Think about it: why are people buying makeup? If you really accepted how you looked, why would you want a foundation to make your skin look more perfect— why would you want an eyeliner to make your eyes look bigger, why would you want to fill in your brow? Why would you want all that if you feel okay with yourself? Maybe you just want to experiment and have fun, but you usually do this to make yourself look better, and when you look better, you feel better—that’s a healing process right there. The ritual of putting on makeup, which is a time to yourself, is a healing process.
Eugenia Weston – Bio
Eugenia Weston has been a pioneer in the cosmetics industry for over three decades. Gifted with an incredible eye for facial structure and a remarkable sense of color and design, she began to create her inimitable makeup line concocting natural colors long before ‘natural’ was in vogue.
As an apprentice for Hollywood makeup stalwarts, Eugenia found film work inspiring and enlightening as it fostered an intuitive sense of the way lighting, fashion and makeup intersect and how to design cosmetics with intense pigments and flawless textures that perform exceptionally in demanding conditions.
Her mission of bringing beauty to every woman has led her to regularly donate her time and talents to the American Cancer Society’s ’Look Good, Feel Better’ program.
- Emmy nomination for Bette Midler’s makeup in the TV movie ‘Gypsy’
- Makeup designer for Haute Couture photo sessions with world famous photographers Herb Ritts and Helmut Newton.
‘Best Makeup Services’ Award from Allure Magazine for SENNA Makeup Studios.
- Created the first ever, patented brow shaping kit with stencils, Form-A-Brow®.
(Bio & bio image from TheMakeupShow.com)