SEAMBeautyBoss – Featuring Cassandra Pierro: Makeup Artist, Business Owner, Teacher, Owner Of Powder Room Beauty Bar.
By Anne Minkler
The idea for this article came to me after the first issue was released. I have a ton of Hair Stylist, Photographer, Decor Stylists and Makeup Artist friends who were all so happy for me and the release of SEAM. I thought, “wouldn’t it be so much fun to interview all of my friends in the beauty industry?” With that simple idea, and a few quick hashtag searches, #SEAMbeautyboss was born!
As I stated in my Editor’s Letter, the purpose of these interviews is to highlight women in the beauty industry, who are doing some really cool things. In hopes that it will also inspire all of you, who are wanting to get into this career path. When it came to picking the first person I would interview, that choice was easy. Cassandra Pierro was the perfect person. She is an incredible Makeup Artist, business owner, teacher and friend. She is the owner of Powder Room Beauty Bar, and has been my boss for 2½ years. I have learned so much from her as a Makeup Artist and Powder Room is the number one spot for wedding makeup in the Chico area.
SEAM: What is your Beauty Profession?
Cassandra Pierro: I’m a licensed esthetician and certified makeup artist, and I own a beauty studio where we offer makeup applications, brow threading, and esthetic services.
S: How did you get started in the Industry?
CP: I originally started in high school doing makeup for our drama club’s productions. Once I figured out that making a character come to life was much more rewarding for me than playing the character, I went to esthetician school right out of high school. But eventually my love for character makeup led me to obtain a master makeup diploma in Hollywood where I learned how to apply prosthetics and special effects.
Eventually I got back into esthetics and beauty makeup once I realized that, while I still love the artistic side of character makeup, it wasn’t as viable of a career choice for myself as the beauty industry would be.
S: Moment you realize you made it?
CP: I’m not sure if I can ever say, “I’ve made it,” because there is always room to grow as an artist and business owner. I think of success in terms of milestones, rather than just one moment of achievement. For example, realizing I had enough demand that I needed to train assistants, and then helping those artists become lead artists themselves. Reaching the point where I could do what I love as a business was a huge milestone. Then the time came that I no longer had to say “yes” to doing each gig personally. Instead, assigning it to an employee and knowing the community and other industry professionals trusted me to do so because I’ve invested time in each artist and have worked hard to build a positive reputation for the business.
“Keep your skin hydrated! Drink a lot of water, exfoliate your skin about three times a week and be sure to use a good moisturizer every day.”
S: What is your favorite part about your profession?
CP: Helping others feel confident and beautiful is the best part of being a makeup artist and esthetician. But as a business owner, my favorite part is being able to empower employees, who are my fellow beauty professionals, and help cultivate their skills.
S: As we are heading into winter, what is your number one makeup tip for the upcoming winter months?
CP: Keep your skin hydrated! Drink a lot of water, exfoliate your skin about three times a week and be sure to use a good moisturizer every day. Your makeup will go on so much smoother if you have healthy, hydrated skin underneath. Consider using a BB cream or tinted moisturizer instead of powder or matte foundations.
S: What is your morning Beauty routine?
CP: For my skin I cleanse, tone, apply eye cream, moisturize and of course finish with sunscreen. For makeup, I just fill in the sparse areas of my brows, curl my lashes, apply a little mascara and lip balm and go! I much prefer to apply makeup to others than on myself. I also don’t like to give clients the impression that they must wear a full face of makeup every day to feel confident. Therefore I keep it very minimal with the hope that I can lead by example.
S: Number one makeup product you cannot live without?
CP: Eyebrow pencil is a must for me and for any client I apply makeup on. I like to fill in to correct the shape, not necessarily to darken, because perfectly shaped brows can create a polished look as long as they are not too dark or too heavy.
S: What is a makeup trend that makes you cringe?
CP: Full face contouring for everyday makeup. Stage performers, drag queens, and actors have been using contouring long before it became a trend, so it is nothing new. However, what we see now on social media could give a false expectation of what the average makeup wearer should strive to achieve for their daily look. I’m all for contouring for a special event or for being photographed, and I think the beauty vloggers are extremely talented in the way they create art on their own faces. For regular days, why not try just a little bronzer to make your cheekbones pop or just play up your favorite feature?
S: What is one trend you would like to see brought back?
CP: I love the 90’s no-makeup makeup look; although it seems to have already made a comeback. But this time around it’s even better because we’re doing fuller brows and a little more glow on the skin.
S: What advice do you have for girls learning how to apply their makeup?
CP: For anyone new to makeup, just keep in mind that less is more when it comes to how much of each product you apply. Tap the excess powder, bronzer or eyeshadow off your brush before you apply it to your face. Blot the foundation that’s on your brush or beauty blender on the back of your hand before blending it into the skin. When you dip a brush into your gel eyeliner or brow pomade, wipe off the excess first rather than the brush going directly from the pot to your face. You can always add more layers of each product, but don’t forget to blend!
S: What advice do you have for the girls looking to become a #beautyboss?
CP: Practice as much as you can on other people. Take photos so you can see firsthand what works best with various skin types, ages, face shapes, skin tones, eye color, etc. Be professional and never, ever cancel on a client because you need to build a reputation of being reliable. Also, try to say yes to every opportunity to work with other industry professionals. Even if it’s not a paid job. You are doing yourself a favor by getting a chance to practice and build your portfolio while also making connections.
S: Do you have a mentor, or someone you draw inspiration from?
“…we are in a time where the beauty industry revolves around ‘influencers’ who have made a brand of themselves…”
CP: From an artist standpoint, my clients and what they have going on in their life. Whether they are getting makeup done for their wedding or want their brows reshaped before a job interview, is what I draw inspiration from because I want to help them feel their best in whatever way I can. From a business standpoint, I was recently inspired by something Gail Federici said in an interview for WSJ’s Secrets of Wealthy Women. When asked about business owners building brands around themselves, she explains that it makes sense for women to be their brand if it’s in their personality to do so. But she prefers to stay behind the scenes rather than using herself as the product and that’s ok, too. This resonated with me because we are in a time where the beauty industry revolves around “influencers” who have made a brand of themselves. For the last couple years, I’ve been feeling like I should put my own face out there, such as doing makeup tutorials on myself or posting my daily makeup looks in order to meet what is currently deemed “successful” by social media standards. However, as an introvert, I really struggled with the idea. Listening to Gail’s statement made me realize that I don’t have to be the brand. That I can stay behind the scenes and still make a successful business.
S: What is one fun fact about yourself?
CP: I’m a huge book nerd! My mom owned a bookstore when I was a kid and read to my sisters and I a lot. I think my love of certain genres such as fantasy, mythology and historical fiction is what started my interest in character makeup. I would read the descriptions of elves and hobbits, or queens and goddesses and imagine how I could bring them to life with makeup.
S: If you weren’t in the Beauty industry what would you be doing?
CP: If I wasn’t in the beauty industry I think I would be in the film industry, doing character makeup, which sometimes involves beauty makeup. So I’m not sure if that counts, but I can’t imagine doing anything that doesn’t involve makeup of some sort!
S: Where can the readers find you?
CP: My business is on Instagram @powderroomchico, or you can check out our website at powderroombeauty.com. SEAM