Category Archives: Experts

Celebrity Makeup Artist Edward Cruz: the man behind the makeup



Let’s face it: it is fun to have your makeup done by someone else.  Even more fun if he is as sweet and adorable and talented as Edward Cruz, celebrity makeup artist and former male     supermodel.  I first met Edward when we were neighbors and since then I have watched him sky-rocket from top male model to one of the most talented and in-demand makeup artists       today.  Edward has a sensitive eye for beauty and is able to create looks that are both exciting but wearable at the same time.  One day he will be creating a completely original look for a fashion editorial, and the next he will be doing the personal makeup of Anna Wintour, or Tyson Beckford for the Oscars.  Whether he is on set for an editorial or advertising, collaborating with such mega-brands as Shiseido, or working with the stars of Hollywood, music, or fashion,       Edward’s special knack for creating flawless skin and dreamy looks is unmistakeable.  Apart from all his talent and skill, he is just simply a nice guy with a great sense of humor, an equally developed sense of himself and his work, and – ahem – very easy on the eyes.  What’s not to love?


1) How did you transition into makeup artistry?

Not many people know this, but when I was 17 in San Francisco, I landed my first makeup dream job, at M•A•C Cosmetics (which stood for Makeup Art Cosmetics) (not many people know that either).  I was the only kid in the world working for the company; it was against the law,   because I left high school to work full time for the company without a work permit. Actually,   authorities found out and blocked me from working until I produced a work permit or I turned 18…     Luckily, management liked me and held my job until I actually was 18.
Later on that year, I moved to NYC, where I worked at the legendary Christopher Street M•A•C shop.   It was amazing.   Makeup royals like Kevin Aucoin, Billy B, Pat McGrath, and celebrity       locals like Debbie Harry and Linda Evangelista would come in and shop.   I was 18, living in NYC, always exploring, and no matter what part of town I was in, someone would offer me a           business card or inquire if I was a model and/or who represented me.   I would just smile and blush; I didn’t take anybody who approached me like that seriously until one day when I was on working on set and the hired Ford male models were sent home and I was dressed and shot in their place.   My modeling career was born – I teamed up with a modeling agency and began a career that kept me busy globally for ten solid years. 

Now, to get back to the transition question; I was approaching my 30th birthday and decided that I wanted to take hold on the reins of my life and time.   As a model, I was at the mercy of my agents, who were working hard for me year round, and all over the world.   It was truly a wonderful career, but I wanted to have something that I could personally navigate and have more say on.   So I dusted off my makeup books from the late 90’s and searched for an agent that would represent me as an artist rather than a model.   I reached out to every art director, photographer and artist that I was friendly with, so I could get out the word that I was changing my career.  In the beginning it wasn’t very easy, as most of these people didn’t believe that I would be going behind the scenes after ten years of modeling, but within a few months of     consciously deciding that this is what I was going to do, and not doing anything else, the people that didn’t believe it, began to understand that I as serious.   I teamed up with a makeup agent and the ball began to roll.

2) Who or what inspires you, from the past or present?

I especially love my parents for the dedication they put into their children’s well being, because that taught me to stay resilient and work hard.
I have great appreciation for the Christian & Jewish education I received growing up, for that taught me to be courteous, kind, and a humanitarian.
Creatively though, I am inspired by nature and what I see when I travel.  Most of all, I pay         attention to my intuition and I don’t ignore my feelings.

3) What is “beauty” to you?

I like good manners and people that genuinely love what they do – I believe that goodness comes from authenticity and to me there is nothing more beautiful than that. 

4) Favorite shoot – location, photographer, model:

My favorite shoot is in a studio that has a view, with a photographer that encourages me to do my work, and a model that is a good story teller. 

5) Studio or location? Which do you prefer?

Studio in New York City, but in other parts of the world, I would prefer one day in the studio   because they’re all managed differently, and a day outside on the town or in the wilderness.

6) Favorite makeup trend for spring 2014:

Lip Stains and Face & Eye Brighteners. 

7) Best skin-prep product:

Good moisturizer – I prefer a rich cream.  Go for the well formulated ones like Shiseido, La Prairie or Cle De Peau. 

8) Product you can’t do without for photos:

Alcohol in a spray bottle. I disinfect everything I use on a celeb or model. 

9) Tip or trick we can all use to look better in photos:

Eye Brighteners – they are amazing!  YSL, Shiseido and Dior have the best!

Follow Edward online to see his updates, news and amazing images:

Twitter  @EdwardCruz212 

Instagram @EdwardCruz212

Facebook   Edward Cruz Beauty



#shhhhh Revealing Superstar Photographer Ben Watts


You have seen his work everywhere and you know it immediately.  It’s colorful, vibrant,               energetic, and alive.  Everyone is having a great time and being themselves.  They are natural and moving, and no one is posed.  Models, athletes, celebrities, models and musicians alike are moving, laughing, dancing, and smiling – all for superstar photographer Ben Watts.  Who else could get these stars of fashion, music and Hollywood, to be so relaxed and spontaneous?  It is a cool and colorful world, and everyone wants to be a part of it.

But how do you go from being a graphics design student in Australia to one of the most           in-demand photographers in the world?  Ben did not grow up with a camera in his hand, and it never occurred to him to actually take pictures until he took photography as an elective in school.  Initially attracted to music, he worked with many different artists until his work got the attention of the fashion world.  Along the way, personal projects became published books, like “Lickshot” and “Big Up”, and gallery exhibitions.  It all sprang from his passion for shooting things he loved, such as American hip hop and youth culture.  An original style and vision has made Ben’s work transcend photography trends and rather than trying to fit a genre of           photography, he created his own style, equally fitting to the music world as to Hollywood and fashion.

In Ben’s universe everyone is young and fit and hot and sexy, and enjoying every second of life.  Jamie Foxx, Hugh Jackman, Sofia Vargara, Robin Thicke, Katy Perry, Usher, Selena Gomez, Robin Pattinson, Bradley Cooper, Christina Hendricks, ASAP Rocky, for GQ, Billboard, Vanity Fair, In Style, Vibe, and Glamour Magazines, not to mention a constellation of angels for Victoria’s           Secret, and supermodels for Sports Illustrated Swimwear Edition.

Flying from one side of the country to the other almost weekly, going from studio to beach in the blink of an eye, shooting a catalogue one day and an athlete the next, requires focus,         versatility, and a true passion for the work.  Ben’s photography is full on hot and relevant and now.  Everyone is beautiful, sexy, living the life and having a good time doing it.

Your images are known for their exuberance and spirit.  How do you keep everyone’s energy up  while shooting?

Music works, and humor.  I choose a soundtrack that fits the spirit of the shoot, and that sets the mood.  Humor gets everyone laughing and having fun.  I am an energetic person.  I hate stopping and starting – it breaks the flow of things.  I like to have a snowball effect, to keep things moving and energized.  There will be more authenticity of the subjects in the photos if you don’t break the flow.  Just keep things rolling.

What are the some of the greatest influences on your photography?

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Larry Clark, even Stanley Kubrick movies.   You might not see these influences in my actual work but they inform my photography on a sub-concious level.  Travel and life experiences are irreplaceable too.

Location or studio:

Both, but for different reasons.  I love to travel but it is good to come home.  NYC is home and it is always good to be back with family and friends again.

Do you have an favorite after-shoot ritual?

It is important to thank everyone and to be courteous at the end of a shoot and if it has been a long production.  It’s good to enjoy the location and to celebrate everyone’s hard work. I like to exercise after working too – it rebalances me and helps keep my energy levels up, and clears my mind so I am ready for the next project.

#1 item you take when you travel for work:

Pack your personality!  Be interested – and interesting!

One thing most people don’t know about you:

I have my own rosé wine – I love a good rosé wine.

Follow Ben on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, to have a glimpse into his world:

Instagram   wattsupphoto

Twitter   @WattsUpPhoto

Facebook  Ben Watts Photo Inc

Creator of “Good Morning Gorgeous” Dale Smith Thomas

International motivational speaker, author, television personality, and creator of “Good Morning

Gorgeous” Dale Smith Thomas sat down with us to share her empowerment tips on making each day your best.

Dale pulls from her strong Mississippi roots to share a message of hope and empowerment. She is affectionately referred to as “The Hope Doctor” and her definition of hope is Helping Other People Excel.

Her life’s work has taken her all over the world but you may recognize her from one of her national television appearances. Because of her message and her work she has been a featured guest on The Dr. Phil Show, The Big Idea on CNBC, A documentary on the Travel Channel and she even hosted 2 of Hollywood’s most famous in her home for a Fox reality show, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie.

Dale is a former beauty queen and also operates a series of boot camps, including Boot Camp for Beauty Queens, Boot Camp for Business Women, and Boot Camp for Success, author of “Solo In the Spotlight” and soon to be released, “Good Morning Gorgeous.” Each week she shares ideas and thoughts of inspiration in her Motivational Monday. Everyone needs to regroup and recharge, and Dale is just the expert to help us focus and feel good about ourselves while we navigate through our personal and professional lives.

As a Motivational Speaker you teach “Life Principles”, around the world. If you could only share one piece of advice that you think is transformational what would it be?

The greatest “Life Principle” that I live by and teach is this…”It is my decisions not my conditions that determine my destiny.” There are so many times in our lives that we do not have “control” over our circumstances but we need to remind ourselves that we ALWAYS have control over how we react to those circumstances.  You always have control over your attitude.                         A positive attitude is a CHOICE not an emotion!

Tell me About Good Morning Gorgeous and your goal for both the campaign and the book?  

I started encouraging my audience members years ago to change how they start thier days. The most important conversations you have are the conversations you have with yourself. I think most people get out of bed and start complaining either about how they look or what they have to do that day. I challenge people to get up and look in the mirror (when you feel you look your worst) and say “Good Morning Gorgeous”. Regardless of what you see I think it will make you smile. I want people to remember that being “Gorgeous” starts from the inside out. If you have “gorgeous”, “joyful” spirit, it will radiate to your face. I then challenge people to say it to at least five people that day: “Good morning Gorgeous” or “Good morning Champ”. Pay it forward and make a difference in someone else’s day. The book “Good Morning Gorgeous” is just a guide to finding your “Gorgeousness” from the inside out. I also have a “Good Morning Gorgeous” Blog that you can check out through my site:

What is your advice to girls and women who struggle with their self esteem? 

  First of all I would say I KNOW how you feel. I was that shy, insecure, and very unconfident girl. I did not feel good about how I looked and I had no idea “who” I was as a teenager or young adult. I have learned the hard way that the first step to developing a positive, healthy self esteem is to stop comparing yourself to others.

We get in trouble when we compare ourselves to unrealistic comparisons. The greatest thing you can do to build your self-esteem is to get to know yourself, your strengths, your gifts, your talents. You are special and unique and you must learn to embrace that. Be AWESOME at being yourself! If you struggle with knowing and understanding what your gifts are, like I did, then I encourage you to start the journey to discover that. I have some ideas that worked for me and I am happy to share them. Log on to my website and email me and I will send them to you.

What are your personal tips for looking great and feeling great at any age? 

I laughingly tell everyone that I am the same age as Barbie and if you don’t know when Barbie was born you will have to look it up! The 1st key to looking great and feeling great starts between your ears and with your attitude. Your personal view of your age determines how you feel about it and how you react to it. I celebrated when I turned 50 instead of hiding from it.

I focused on all the blessings in my life. Remember that what you focus on gets bigger. I have a great attitude, I work out and try to eat right, and I have discovered ONE anti-aging secret that has changed my life. It is one product that I would NEVER live without again. I am happy to share it with you if you want to email through my website,

Do you have a personal “success” philosophy?

I do and it’s straight from Dr. Seuss: “Congratulations. Today is Your Day! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your won. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…. So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea. You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!” * Dr. Seuss

Do you have any particular advice for those in the media and entertainment industry, to help them to maintain their self esteem and sense of self, despite the pressures placed on them to conform to a specific ideal? 

Never lose site of who “you” are. I think it is so easy when we are in the public eye to let someone else’s opinion of us become our reality. You have to get quiet and trust your inner voice. Being in the entertainment and media industry is not easy because everyone has an opinion.

Your inner voice must be the voice you trust the most, and if you don’t know who you are, what you stand for, and what your goals are then you can’t stand up for yourself. I encourage anyone that is taking that step out into the “public eye” to be so grounded in your values, your goals, and vision. If you have that foundation, no one can change you regardless of what they say.  

Connect with Dale:    Winners By Choice   Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

William Valdes: Latin Actor, TV Host and Singer

Mix together equal parts James Dean, Frankie Avalon and Ryan Seacrest and you will come up with today’s hottest young latino star-on-the rise, William Valdes.  Triple threat host, actor and singer, William is on the fast track to becoming a recognizable face on spanish language tv where he interviews the biggest latino stars,  in telenovelas and series, and on stage.  The Latin market is famous for turning out heart-throbs and here is the latest, all set for his big break and ready to take on Hollywood.
How old were you when you first got the acting bug?
I stared working in spanish entertainment when I was 15 years old. I was in the cast of “Grachi” for Nickelodeon Latin America.  Grachi became to be the most successful series Nick L.A have ever made. So I’m very happy that I was part of that amazing tv sitcom.  
How did you win your first hosting job and how did you learn how to approach stars on the red carpet and on TV shows?
I got my first tv hosting job when I was shooting Grachi here in Miami.  One day on the set a producer approached me and he asked if I would like to do a casting because they where looking for this young guy for a segment in a huge spanish gossip tv show.  I went forward and did the casting, and they told me right there that I was what they where looking for.  I spent three years interviewing many famous artists like Justin Bieber, Serena Williams, Paulina Rubio, JLo, Pitbull and many more big spanish stars. I guess being able to host every day it showed me how to approach an artist.  I always have a great connection with the artist – I don’t ask them the questions they typically get asked.  I have a lot of fun while doing the interviews and that makes it more fresh… 
Do you prefer acting or hosting?
I would say I prefer both: why? My biggest passion is acting, as it allows me to be someone else.  I can express so many emotions while acting in a role.  For example in “Grachi” I was 416 year old wizard trapped in a 16 year old’s body.  Imagine how fun it was too shoot all of that, the action scenes and the special effects, while I’m not a wizard, but just a regular kid. Now, when I host, I’m being myself.  I get to express what I think and I say what I feel like saying.
Most memorable experience as a TV host:
I had so many memorable experiences while hosting and interviewing artists, but I will never forget the day I had to interview Emilio Estefan.  He was releasing his new monster headphones and we sat down and they said “in 3-2-1…” and from there a big friendship grew.    After the interview was done he said to me, “where have you been kid?”  It’s really amazing when someone like him congratulates me whenever I finish hosting. So I was honored to hear something from him.
What are your ambitions: more hosting, acting on TV or film, or acting on stage, or singing…?
My biggest ambition and my goal is to get to Hollywood and make movies.  Right now I’m building up my name in the spanish market.  Once I have a strong name in that market I will consider to crossover to the American market as a latino actor. 
Favorite film: Favorite music: Favorite food:
My favorite film is a sequel and stars the actor I look up most to, Johnny Depp, is Pirates of the Caribbean.   I like to hear any kind of music and I am very open to all of it but I really love pop.  My favorite food of all time is pasta – I am in love with Italian food. 
Do you see yourself acting on a telenovelas in the future?
Yes, I love doing soap operas in spanish – it is so much fun.  It’s a lot of work because it’s not filmed like a regular american tv sitcom.  In the spanish market, the work is intensely long hours and you will film probably 40 to 50 scenes a day.  It’s really fun. 
Dream assignment: (acting with a particular actor, or singing, or whatever you like)
That’s an interesting question, never though of it.  But now that you put it out there I would love to be in a film with Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp – that will be a dream come true. 
Where can your fans find you? 
My Twitter: @williamvaldes

Shelley Goodstein TV Host, Beauty Expert, Model, Blogger and Mom Shares Her Style Secrets

A classic “second act”, Shelley Goodstein went from the Miss USA as a young woman in North Dakota, to a model in Miami, to a mom of three.  Around the age of 40, Shelley wanted to find her way back to her modeling days and to all the unfulfilled dreams she still had from that time of her life.  She entered the national More Magazine Model Search and took first place, garnering her prizes that       included a major fashion shoot in NYC for More, the host of online beauty         segments, deals with Cover Girl and Olay, and a monetary package that she used to fulfill another of her dreams: to be come a published author.

“Face This: Real Advice from Real Models”, a guide to looking your best in photos, quickly rose to be one of the highest ranking beauty guides on Amazon.  Her blog “A Model’s Secrets” is one of the premier beauty blogs in the world.  Today     Shelley is a Ford model, guest host for The Morning Blend KGUN9 (abc affiliate, southern Arizona), beauty correspondent for KPNX, (nbc affiliate Phoenix)  and continues to write for her beauty blog while contributing to other blogs and online websites around the world.  Spend a few minutes on her You Tube channel and you will feel like you are listening to a friend who is giving you all the inside scoop on beauty, fashion, and how to look like the best version of yourself whatever the occasion.

No one is more surprised than Shelley at where are her dreams have taken her, never planning on a career as a tv host or beauty expert, but who doesn’t want to know more about a woman you can’t take your eyes off of, all while being       captivated by what she has to say?  Everyone needs a friend like Shelley to show you how to put your best self forward, demystifying beauty and fashion trends, and leaving you hoping to have just a little of her stardust fall your way.

What is your “signature fashion style”, go-to look for your TV appearances?

As a model, who is known for her legs, I of course love to wear skirts and dresses. When hosting, I have to wear bulky microphone packs  IFB (ear mic) and           lavaliere voice mics so it is often easier to attach them to the waistline of a skirt than underneath a dress on my bra strap. For this reason I like to wear tops and skirts mostly. I love to color block and you can often find me adding a pop of  yellow. I find this draws attention to my small waistline and gives my body some curves. Color is important to me because it adds warmth to my face. Plus the   director forbids white and black – it makes lighting a nightmare. I love fashion so it’s important to me that I incorporate my personal style into my outfits, and   often I do this with shoes. Leopard print pumps, neon yellow or strappy sandals.

How is your TV makeup different from your everyday makeup?

With HD television, on camera makeup has become trickier. It’s important to have flawless skin, but pancake makeup will look caked on. For this reason I rely on Makeup Forever’s HD foundation and concealer. It has great coverage but light finish. I use highlighter on the top of my cheekbones to draw attention upward to my eyes. You can get away with products with more light reflecting properties on television than in photos because there is no flash. I love YSL Touche Eclat  for under eyes. It is a cross between a highlighter and concealer. I also use this on my brow bone instead of the old fashioned white shimmery shadow which is far too much contrast on film. Lashes are important, so always curl and use several coats of mascara! For special days I like to use false lashes on the outer corners of my eyes. My co-host used to use hairspray on her lashes to make them hold a curl. Shine on your face can translate into oil slick, so I always have blotting papers on hand between segments for a quick touch up.

What tricks do you use to make your segments go off without a hitch?

LISTEN. LISTEN. LISTEN. It can be difficult to always be present, especially if the topic is boring to you. There have been times when a guest was talking and when they stopped I literally had no idea what they had just said. If you are listening however, it is easy to get to your next questing just by repeating a fact they just told you such as “So you said that many people don’t realize that (insert subject). Why do you think there is such a disconnect?” What I try to always remember is that my job is to make my guest look good and sound their best.

 What fashion trend will we see you wearing on TV this winter and spring?

 A line skirts and dresses are very flattering on me and totally on trend. Also, color blocking is a technique I will never tire of and I am always on alert to finding new color combinations. At the moment I am sort of obsessed with burgundy and bright blue for the winter, not sure for spring, but turquoise is catching my        attention. Hmmm maybe with emerald.

Teleprompter or live:  what do you prefer?

 I love them both for different reasons. Of course the teleprompter is easy, but being live gives you the opportunity to show off and interject your own            personality to let your viewer engage and get to know and hopefully love you.

 Most interesting segment so far?  

 My favorite interview was with the Blue Man Group. My most interesting segment which ended up to be a little sassy, was one I did for Valentine’s day. I talked about how to sext if you had never done so before: talk about what you want to do, what you’re going to do, and how you’re going to do it! By the way, a little goes a long way. Just a hint a guy will be thinking  about you all day long! HA

 Dream segment?

 I would love to do a beauty segment for the Today Show of course!

 Where can our readers find you online?

Blog: A Model’s Secrets @

Book: “Face This: Real Advice from Real  Models”  @

You Tube:  Shelley Goodstein:  A Model’s  Secrets    @

Kirby Johnson: New Reality TV Star of “The Drama Queen”

Kirby Johnson is about to dance, sing and act her way into the Hollywood universe.  Years of training and competing have prepared her for the jump from local Florida dancer and actress to one of the featured stars of the new E! reality show “The Drama Queen”.  A freckled-faced, ginger-haired beauty who harkens back to the stars of an earlier era, Kirby lights up the screen and stage.  She is destined to be America’s newest sweetheart.  Stay tuned!  She is just getting started!

How long have you been modeling and acting?

I have done a few small modeling jobs when I was younger but I didn’t start seriously modeling until age 14.  I have been a competitive dancer since I was 11 and acting since day one!

What is your favorite type of shoot?  Dance or fashion, studio or location?

I honestly don’t have a favorite!  Every photo shoot is unique and fun it its own way.

Stage or screen: which do you like better?

I love stage acting but my goal is to become a screen actress.

Tell us what it is like to be on a reality show as a principle:

It is really strange to be on a reality show!  I’m super nervous to see myself on TV but really   excited at the same time.

What sort of travel and adventures have you had in your career so far?

I have flown to Las Vegas, California, and New York multiple times for dance competitions, modeling, and filming for the reality show “The Drama Queen”.  

The reality show you will be a part of airs soon – tell us about the show:

I am going to be on “The Drama Queen” which airs November 17th at 11pm EST on E!  It is based on the granddaughter of Lou Costello, Marki Costello and her family life, her employees and her new kids talent management division in LA.  I am going to be one of Marki’s new       talents.  My Mom and sister are also on the show with me.  It should be filled with laughs and lots of drama. Tune in to find out!

Tell us something about yourself that not many people know:

I named my cat Avada after a spell from Harry Potter, and I still have my baby blanket!  LOL

Describe your support system and how it is helping you to achieve your dreams:

I have the best support system ever!  My mother, father and sister are so supportive in everything that I do!  My Dad is hilarious because he always tries to give me his acting advice and I wouldn’t be anywhere without my sister pushing me to do things and helping me find           auditions, and my Mom is my best friend 🙂

Where can we follow you online?

Instagram:  Kirby J

Twitter: KirbyG Johnson

Youtube Channel: KirbyDancerJohnson

Vine: Kirby J

My new cover and fashion editorial for La Petite Magazine

Photography and styling by Allana Wesley White

Model: Téa Elbaz

Hair and Makeup by Colleen Stone of Blush and Beyond