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Welcome to The Official Sam Fine Beauty Blog! I'm so excited to join the various bloggers on the World Wide Web! Before I start telling you about my amazing adventures, I feel obligated to write about how I ended up in this crazy beauty business and began my career as a makeup artist...

In 1989, I packed up my meager belongings and moved to the Big Apple to pursue my artistic endeavors and unwittingly began my career in the business of beauty by accepting a job for a boutique makeup line, Naomi Sims Cosmetics. I accepted the job because I thought it would be an easy gig. It wasn't long before friends and co-workers realized I possessed a talent for makeup and suggested that I consider becoming a professional makeup artist. I gave into the idea and began to assist prominent makeup artists and build a portfolio of my work. Before I knew it, Supermodel Naomi Campbell called me at the cosmetic counter to request that I work with her in the absence of her regular makeup artist. Some careers you plan for all you life, this one snuck up on me and well, blushed me away!

After spending over a decade beautifying some of the most famous women in the world, I realized that I wanted to share my secrets and inspire a new generation of artists. So, in 1997 I began writing my first book, Fine Beauty: Beauty Basics and Beyond for African -American Women. I didn't own a computer (Thank God for Kinkos!) and thought the whole computer thing was a fad, like eight - track tapes or torn jeans. Yet after realizing computers weren't a trend, rather a new form of communication here to stay, I joined the cyber-bandwagon and purchased a computer. Armed with an email address and dial-up service, I was ready to conquer The Web. I quickly became proficient in all things cyber. I could download, upload and chat online. I paid bills, ordered books and couldn't imagine how I ever lived without a computer in my life (I even bought my best friend one!). It wasn't long before I began to see the advantages of having an online home, so I created to showcase my work for both clients and fans alike.

Now, only a few years later, I watch as friends and family join, post videos on and create personal blogs that both inform and entertain and realized I've got some catching up to do. So, what can you expect to read in the coming months? Well, I'll grant you a behind-the-scenes look into my life with celebrity clients such as Vanessa Williams, Tyra Banks, Mo'Nique and many others. And of course, no beauty blog would be complete without tons of product favorites used to create each stunning look. So, sit back and relax and feel free to tell me what you want to see more of (or less of) and I'll do my best to satisfy... See you again in December!!!

Photographer Keith Major and me selecting The Official Blog Photo

When I had the idea of creating a blog, the first thing I did was contact top photographer, Keith Major to take the "official" photo. I met Keith when I first moved to New York City and we've worked on various photo shoots ever since. In fact, Keith was one of the first photographers that I began working with as I began building my portfolio. To this day, whenever I look at some of those old photos, I still think it's some of our best work! Keith has moved on since our days of working together and has photographed some of the most famous faces in the world, such as Iman, Tyra Banks, Mary J. Blige and Beyonce ... and he hasn't changed a bit since the day I met him!


Mo'Nique getting ready to hit the stage at The BET Awards

Mo'Nique giving a show - stopping performance at The BET Awards

When I received the call to work with Mo'Nique for The BET Awards, I was extremely excited! And when I learned that she was opening the show performing a "Beyonce' -ish" routine, I wanted to have as much fun with the makeup as she was having with the performance! Of course the first thing I did was bleach and tweeze her eyebrows! For those of you not familiar with bleaching eyebrows, it helps to make the complexion appear more golden and makes your eyes (and eye color) stand out more. And if working on such a fun-filled booking weren't enough, Mo' gave a shout out to yours truly along with the rest of her "Glam Squad" at the close of the show!

Lightening the color of your eyebrows is a great way to bring more attention to your eyes. Begin by purchasing a facial bleaching cream at your local drug store (Jolen and Sally Hansen are favorites). Mix the cream according to package instructions and leave the bleach on your eyebrows for a minute or two before checking to find out if your brows have lifted in color. If they haven't begun to lift yet or if you want them a few shades lighter, then simply reapply the bleach you removed and repeat until you achieve the desired color. Bleaching can provide a color that ranges from warm chestnut to reddish blond. If you find that you've made your brows lighter than intended, you can always darken them with an eyeshadow, pencil or brown mascara until the color begins to grow out.

Mo'Nique ready to hit the set of BET's 106 & Park

Although the performance makeup was fun, I had to return to reality and give Mo'Nique a less dramatic look while she promoted her second season of Mo'Nique's Fat Chance plus - size reality competition on BET's 106 & Park.


Vanessa Williams receiving her star on The Walk of Fame

Nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy, Vanessa Williams departs for The Emmy's

Vanessa Williams is one of the hardest working women in showbiz! Having achieved her most recent success as the sharp tongued diva, Wilhelmina Slater on ABC's hit series, Ugly Betty , Vanessa has kept me quite busy - from SAG Awards to receiving her star on the Walk of Fame... and most recently, The Emmy's where she received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a comedy.

Each time we prepare for a red carpet event, I make sure Vanessa's skin has a golden glow, which can be achieved by using powder bronzers such as Cargo Bronzer in Medium or Dark. Applying bronzer on the cheeks, forehead and bridge of the nose provides a soft, subtle shine. Just make sure to avoid the center of the face, especially the undereye area, where shimmer can make pores and fine lines appear more prominent.

After your face is sufficiently bronzed, turn your attention to body makeup with a product that has become every artists favorite, Scott Barnes Platinum Body Bling . To achieve a natural glow, I usually mix a bit of body lotion with my "bling" to make it a little less platinum. I also like to wait until a client is fully dressed to address the exposed areas of skin (in this case Vanessa's arms, back and chest) and tissue off the excess, so it doesn't transfer onto her clothes during the night.

Having worked with Vanessa for over a decade, I've come to realize that beauty runs in the family. When Vanessa's eldest daughter Melanie accompanied her to the SAG Awards, I groomed her brows and applied false lashes for a youthful, sexy look. And when middle daughter, Jillian, attended her senior prom, guess who was on hand to bronzify her for the occasion? Although her youngest daughter has yet to wear makeup, she's a beauty waiting to blossom at seven years old!

SAG Awards with eldest daughter Melanie Senior Prom with Middle daughter Jilian Hangin' with the baby of the bunch, Sasha


Tyra and Masi Oka of Hero's posing at The Jimmy Kimmel Show

For those of you who watch The Tyra Banks Show and America's Next Top Model , you may already know that Tyra has made New York her new home. I'm so happy to have her back in the Big Apple. It's just like old times! Since her move, we've worked on everything from publicity for Top Model to our most recent collaboration, the cover of Ebony magazine, featuring fellow model moguls, Iman, Kimora and Alek Wek.

Tyra and Jaslene Gonzolez, winner of ANTM Cycle 8, and her mother (Yes! Jasline's mother!).

Ebony's September's cover featuring Tyra, Iman, Kimora and Alek Wek


As if working on two out of four supermodels for the cover of Ebony wasn't enough, I was photographed alongside fellow hair and makeup colleagues Roxanna Floyd, Reggie Wells and hairstylists Kim Kimble and Oscar James for a beauty portfolio entitled, The Arbiters of Beauty.

Pose for the camera, now click, click, click: Kim Kimble, Reggie Wells, Oscar James and me.

Celebrity Hairstylists Kim Kimble and me
Because we work in the same industry, competing for the same jobs, most people would assume that we're always fighting and bitchy towards one another... well, that couldn't be further from the truth! In fact, after the photoshoot, we all went out to dinner at my favorite restaurant, Houston's and laughed and shared stories for hours!


With five books under her belt, a column for the New York Daily News and having recently become the Creative Director of Ebony , Harriette Cole has truly arrived! Adding to her many achievements, The Metropolitan Museum recently held a breakfast in honor of her becoming a member of The New Multicultural Advisory Committee. The turnout was awesome. Many of the individuals included in Ebony's Style Hall of Fame Fashion issue came out to support - (clockwise) Supermodel Alek Wek and Creative Director Harriette Cole, President and CEO of Johnson Publications, Linda Johnson Rice, fellow makeup artist, Roxanna Floyd and Fashion Editor for The Washington Post, Robin Givhan.

To top it all off, they gave out free copies of Alek's new book, Alek, Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel . To my delight, she selected the photo from our groundbreaking Essence cover to use as the cover of her autobiography. Although it's been seven years since it was on the newsstand, it's still as glamorous as the day we created it!


I'm so happy to see Star Jones back on television with her eponymous show, Star Jones on Court TV. So it was a pleasure to work with her when she discussed everything from leaving The View to losing over 150 pounds on Good Morning America and The Regis & Kelly. I'm in love with her new, pared - down approach to beauty. With a honey-colored, chin length bob (courtesy of celebrity hairstylist, Oscar James) and wearing "smart" spectacles, I wanted to give her a polished finish that matches her new look!


After working together for over a decade, I insisted on providing my services as Veronica prepared for her 40th (yes, 40th!) birthday celebration. When she isn't working the runway and red carpet, she favors a simple approach to beauty, so I began by selecting Prescriptives Virtual Skin liquid foundation for a glowing, natural finish. Then, I filled in her brows with my favorite eyebrow pencils from Damone Roberts. I began using a dark brown pencil (Minx) then lightly adding strokes of soft black pencil (Miss Ross) in areas that required added definition, such as the tail of the brow. Topping this look off with tons of individual lashes from MAC Cosmetics make her eyes stand out without liner or shadow. And finally, using a sheer gloss (sans liner) makes this look glamorous, yet understated!


Fellow makeup artist, co-host of America's Next Top Model and all around fashion guru, Jay Manuel recently covered fashion week and asked if I'd groom him during his various appearances. Well, I wasn't going to turn down a paying gig and the chance to hang out with one of my favorite fashionistas, so I agreed. Jay was informative and insightful and as he questioned each designer about everything from their inspiration for design to their own individual style; Two of my favorite interviews to watch were wrap dress doyenne Diane von Furstenberg and fellow reality star and designer, Michael Kors.

For the record, male grooming is light makeup for the fellas. I've actually groomed male celebrities ranging from Spike Lee to D'Angelo. Most often, this requires a light application of foundation and powder to alleviate shine and filling in brows, moustaches and beards. Jay supplied me with products from his new cosmetic line, Manuel Override, to use for his grooming and I immediately fell in love with all of them!

My job as a makeup artist is to enhance what's already there; and because many women of color (and men) have varied tones, my mission is to address each color and unify them all. It's this reason I use various shades of foundation to achieve a flawless complexion - lighter ones underneath the eyes and center of the face and darker ones near the hairline and cheeks. Finally, a product that speaks to this process is available. Both Zone Specific Foundation and Radiant Dimension Building Powder contain two shades that compliment your complexion. So, whether you're an artist at heart who loves to highlight and contour your face, or simply a woman who wants to learn more about the process, these products were made for you!


Wow! I can't believe I've completed my first blog entry! I can't wait until next month to write about a bride I'm working with in Atlanta and show you the steps it took to get her ready for her walk down the aisle. And of course, I'll be sharing more stories about my favorite clients and reveal the products that keep them looking beautiful!


March 8, 2008
A Fine Ladies Affair
Trinidad & Tobago

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December 2007
November 2007


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