Friday, July 5, 2013
Begin at the Beginning
Well hello, there.
My name is Coco Twyla Schneider and you can call me Twyla. Or Coco. I get both. I'm a little multiple-personality that way. :)
Yes, it's yet another beauty blog. And I know there are a million out there already.
What do I do that is unique on this blog out of all the other gazillion blogs out there? A couple things.
Firstly, I was a professional makeup artist for 16 years (and preparing to re-enter the industry!). Before that - back in the time of the dinosaurs - I was a model. This stuff gives me some experience, passion and knowledge you might not get elsewhere right off the bat.
Secondly (and for some, perhaps more significantly) I live with chronic illness and so am very adept at making myself fit for human eyes even when I'm in a lot of physical pain, heavily medicated and haven't slept.
Also, I am in my 40s (collective gasp at such an admission), but consistently have my age guessed at about anywhere between 27 and 32 by everyone I meet. A couple months ago, I was actually mistaken for a high-school student - granted the woman who pegged me for an 18 year-old was probably about 90 herself...but it counts. Right?
I admit I do nothing to dissuade people from these little misconceptions :).
The point being, I know how to work with a face that not only hasn't seen 20 in a couple decades, but also sees a lot of stress from illness and sleep-deprivation. Truly, I should look about 120 by now - but I started obsessing over my skin at a young age. And out of pure vanity and stubbornness, I damn well know how to keep my skin looking much healthier/more youthful than it actually is despite 12 years of fighting chronic illness and all the fun havoc it wreaks on one's skin. My skin is in excellent shape for the moment, but back in my teens and twenties I dealt with some HORRIBLE cystic acne and am very adept at covering up redness and blemishes and can pretend at perfect skin, even when I don't have it. And believe me, there are days I have to work very hard indeed to not look totally haggard. I'll age like Audrey Hepburn if it kills me ;).
So. I began my torrid, steamy affair with makeup way back when in the mid 1980's when I was in the 7th grade. My Grandmother was a licensed "beauty-operator" (as it was so charmingly known back in her day) and my mother was a product-junkie.
When I was as young as 9, my grandma would take me on little excursions to State St. and the Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago, where I grew up. Early on, she instilled in me a love of all things smelly, shiny and pretty. She bought me my first makeup-kit (a funny little thing in a puffy-purple case - hello 1980's!) and my first high-end lipstick, which was a Chanel, as well as my first perfume (Anais Anais).
As I mentioned above - back in the time of the dinosaurs, I began modeling. I was very young and I sort of hated it. I didn't like the ultra-competitive, snooty attitude of most models I met and I didn't like being caught up in the anorexic mindset which was encouraged. As someone with an eating disorder firmly in place at the time, it was rather disastrous for me! But, some of it was incredibly fun. I was part of an Aveda show back when nobody knew who Aveda was. I was a hair model for Vidal Sassoon and a makeup model for Sebastian, back when Sebastian was actually cool, edgy and popular. I did runway for Escada (which looked horrible on me). During my time as a model, I learned a LOT about what did and didn't work on me. I grew to respect some of the more edgy cosmetic brands as they popped up, because they didn't try to play down and homogenize my somewhat unusual, "exotic" looks but instead played up my "interesting" features and taught me how to work with them, not against them.
So, learning fairly early on that I didn't enjoy modeling all that much (plus, I am on the short-side so my career was limited, anyway), I realized what I DID love was makeup and photography. I would sit in front of the mirror for hours making up my face in the most exotic ways possible, taking Polaroids of my work (a few years ago, I began to take digital pictures - so much better ;) ). I discovered being my own model is a lot more fun. And yes, all these photos are self-portraits, taken between 2003 and 2013.
I was part of the second-wave punk movement solely because I could get away with doing crazy, ultra-fantasy makeup and hair a la Siouxsie Sioux. I loved/still love makeup icons like Edie Sedgwick.
I also learned how to do ultra-natural makeup VERY early on purely out of self-defense - I was attending an extremely conservative Catholic school and had a mother who wouldn't allow me to wear makeup until I was 17 (at which point I went CRAAAAAZY), so I learned how to wear makeup without looking like I was wearing makeup when I was still in knee-socks and tartan skirts.
I happily try any and all brands as they catch my eye - from the dirt-cheap to the mind-numbingly expensive, and I give them all fair and honest reviews.
Hopefully my blog will do something for you - I do it because I love it, and I hope you will too.
*This post will be permanently up in the "About Me" section