Veiled Red Starring Julia Banas


For years, to know me was to know that I loved a bold red lip. I didn’t go a block or a subway stop (or to the laundromat, to brunch, or pretty much anywhere) without it. For ages as a makeup artist I favored dark clothing, and spent at least 40 on my makeup application alone, that red lip was perfect and not going anywhere all day. A red lipstick was always my one, striking accent, with a nod to vintage makeup looks that influenced me from early on.


While these days I go for more "effortless french girl”, and tend to keep the vivid lip color to the models and artists I work with, I’m still in awe of the transformative power and visual impact of reds. “Veiled Red,” our newest editorial starring Julia Banas, was no exception. The whole thing was so rich in inspiration! Julia is such a magical person and muse; her energy and natural beauty is so radiant, just like her bright red hair that provided the color inspiration for this shoot. Her hair has become her signature look, and is such a distinctive feature as a model.


Veiled Red is also a story of color as power, because that end of the color spectrum is strong, warm and energetic. Red is a color of extremes, has a complex history, and has been an endless source of symbolism throughout history. Ancient cultures saw it as a primal color representing fire and blood. In some asian cultures, it represents luck and happiness, and Egyptians would color themselves with red paint during celebrations to convey health and life.


Red also has a deep history with makeup and adornment, and has been used in beauty rituals spanning many cultures throughout history. Egyptian women would rub red ochre as a cosmetic to redden cheeks and lips, and red henna was used to dye hair and nails. I love that it’s transcended centuries and cultures in so many ways like that.



And, of course, there’s emotion—something that red is known for as it fuels creativity. It’s by far the most dynamic of all colors and can evoke mixed feelings like excitement, passion, anger, and anxiety, and often represents danger. For our shoot, I wanted to create contradictory emotions using red with the subtleness of Julia’s beauty—the face is angelic, yet the makeup at times is bold and imperfect, creating a sort of tension to the image. Creatively, we wanted to use red in every capacity, every shade, texture and medium to manifest red’s many emotions within the viewer. I played with different shade variations from crimson, maroon, burgundy, ruby, rust and cinnabar. I used different textures to give the makeup design dimension and variation. Using mixing mediums and creating custom color and texture to me is the most enjoyable and fun part of being a makeup artist!


This story has been one of my favorites to-date, mainly because everyone involved in the making of Veiled Red had such a warm creative energy. I don’t know if it was from being surrounded by such a vibrant color all day, feeding off of the color energy, or the Rosé, but it was truly a beautiful day on set!


Please stay tuned for more Behind the Scenes Beauty stories and tutorials showing the use of different mixing mediums and uses of textures, like loose pigment on the lips and gloss on the eyes. I hope this story inspires you to activate your own creativity and use more color in your day-to-day. Never underestimate the power of a red lip!





Putting this whole experience into words has been the hardest part of launching DOCUMENTBEAUTY! As a makeup artist, writing about makeup and skincare is second nature to me, but sharing my experience as a magazine editor and beauty director and launching the magazine is such a personal experience and a whole new journey. Being involved every step of the way, from creating concepts, makeup design, producing, to video and photo editing, has been the most rewarding experience of my career. Before we started this journey, the exciting feeling and gratification of seeing my makeup in print was everything. Now, there is so much more emotion and energy put into these editorial stories and videos. DOCUMENTBEAUTY has allowed me so much more fulfillment as an artist. Makeup is no longer my only medium—I can now focus my creativity into new channels like writing, designing, editing, and photography.

My friendship and creative partnership with Kayla has really been the heart of this project. Kayla and I have worked side by side for years on editorial shoots and fashion shows, in addition to being close friends. Going through this process with someone you love and respect as an artist and best friend has been such an inspiring and beautiful experience. (insert heart eyes)

Seeing the content and direction of the fashion industry change so much over the last eight years was another motivation to launch DOCUMENTBEAUTY. As a makeup artist, I never felt I had much control over my work. I could create and execute a beautiful design, but I would most often have no say in the final edit, even what retouching was done. Now, as a beauty director, seeing the project through from conception to finish is so gratifying! 

I hope this magazine inspires people to achieve that same feeling by creating their own authentic moments of beauty, whether as an artist in the industry or in their everyday lives. Being able to share my living documentary of beauty is a dream come true for me, and I hope it inspires you to document the moments of beauty in your life, too. 






"Like wildflowers, allow yourself to grow in places people never thought you would.”


It’s 9/11 today, and I’m sitting on the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey. I got a little emotional seeing all the memorial posts earlier, so I’m going to avoid social media for the rest of the day and focus on spending the day in gratitude. Being on the beach surrounded by nature has always been my favorite place to reflect on life and how precious it is, and how important it is to be grateful for it. Gratitude is one of the best feelings in the world.

One of the things I’m feeling grateful for right now is to have Joan Smalls as our cover model for the launch issue of DOCUMENTBEAUTY, and the whole creative process of bringing this magazine into the world. I’m so happy about that and grateful for how loyal and supportive Joan has been of me and my career. She came into my life at a time where I was going through the heartache of leaving my dream agency. It feels like the universe knew I was feeling low and sent me a gift to balance me out and help me see that everything is still great.

Just thinking about Joan brightens my day. She’s so hilarious, authentic and confident, and knows exactly who she is. She doesn’t alter or change herself in a certain setting to fit in or blend in. She’s just such a unique person and her personality speaks volumes. When she walks in the room she has this amazing energy. It’s like the party is instantly turned on! She radiates with electricity and her humor gets everyone laughing right away. She’s just fun, fun, fun.


The first time I met Joan it was brief—backstage when I was assisting Guido Palau during NYFW. Backstage at fashion week is always so chaotic that it wasn’t much of an introduction—I wasn’t trying to start a conversation with anyone, even the girls I know really well. It’s that crazy back there.

Not long after that show, I had the amazing opportunity to style Joan’s hair for American Vogue and spend more time with her. We did a look that was very similar to how she naturally wears her hair most of the time, which is more of straight flat iron look. She learned that day that I could do her hair really well.

Since then, I’ve done Joan’s hair for countless editorials and red carpet events. One of my favorites was the cover image for Vogue Brazil shot by Zee Nunes. I had the opportunity to give Joan really big hair and people always like to see supermodels transformed into a character outside of their normal look. We got pretty exciting attention from that cover.

Through it all she’s been such a fun client and muse. I always get to do interesting things with her hair and she’s almost never asked for the same thing twice. It’s always an unexpected, brand-new look.

She dares to try new things, she’s not afraid to wear wigs or try a new hair color, which keeps it really fun. She has no limits to what she’s willing to explore. And on a personal note, I absolutely adore the way she says my name. She has a sexy Puerto Rican accent and when she says my name she says “Kyla” instead of Kayla. It’s really cute and I hope it never changes.

For this first DOCUMENTBEAUTY editorial, I wanted to capture Joan in a fine art manner, something beautiful and innocent, and not portray the nudity as overtly sexy. She’s already naturally very sexy as it is!

The original concept for the shoot started with my desire to do a hair story with exaggerated natural lengths and volumes that evoked a 1970s vibe. I find that when I have room for creative control, I always gravitate towards a 1970s or 1960s look with beauty, whether it’s hair or makeup. I just feel like they were the best decades for beauty, from the long hair of Cher to the big afros on Soul Train, to Farrah Fawcett’s iconic look and Twiggy eyeliner and mascara! It was such an inspiring time. Between those influences and all the classic rock my parents listened to when I was young, I really feel like I was born in the wrong decade! Seeing Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin live in the 70s would definitely be a time travel goal.


Once we had the era set, I went with BIG, long hair, very 70s, so it was fun to curate, style, and creative direct everything, including props, around that look, starting with the hair. Typically on editorial shoots, hair and makeup are designed around the clothing, so it was an incredibly liberating departure to start the other way around and see how we could make it look as refined as possible.

We then started to think about a wildflower or flower power or flower child theme, which seemed perfect for the era and for Joan, because I really see her as a wildflower. She’s so unique and free in who she is, like a flower growing from a city street.

More than anything, the concept of flowers evoked a beautiful dream for me – exactly what we want DOCUMENTBEAUTY to do for our readers with images that might be considered unexpected in the modern beauty industry. Every time I see an element of nature in fashion or a beauty campaign, I get obsessed! I think it’s because I grew up with nature and flowers.

My mom was a florist so I spent a lot of time in her flower shop, surrounded by so much beauty and even working with her to design arrangements.  It was lovely to bring that aspect of my childhood into this first shoot for DOCUMENTBEAUTY. And lately I’ve been feeling deprived of nature, having lived in New York City for the last 9 years, so flowers/wildflower it is!


I knew that I didn’t want to do anything standard with the flower concept, so that’s where the idea of the sheer pantyhose with fresh flowers inside them came in. Like beautiful flowers pressed in a book but still fresh and vibrant and adorning her body in an unexpected way. My heart was set on it from the second I pictured it.

At one point on set, my assistant Sonny took a beautiful candid polaroid of Joan with the afro and flowers that Joan later posted on Instagram. When I did her hair for Harper’s Bazaar Icons party a few days ago, she told me it had the most reposts that she’s ever had, which is so exciting. It really makes me feel like this career direction into editorial creative direction is my true path and my destiny… which is funny because when I enrolled at the Philadelphia Art Institute to study fashion design before moving to NY, they told me I should be a creative director after hearing about my interests and passions. And here we are!


One of the reasons we are even starting this magazine is to creative direct. Hair and makeup artists just don’t have much of a say in the final images selected for any given story, and how your work is shared with the world. That power is with photographers and fashion editors. Not even the models typically get the chance to choose. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen a model after we’ve done a shoot together and we’ll both wonder why they picked a certain image for the cover.

That happens every day in this industry and it’s so gratifying to be part of changing that. After 13 years of wanting control of how your work and your artistry is seen and not having it, now we do. That’s another reason why DOCUMENTBEAUTY is different. We’re going to ask the models what images they like and invite them to be part of the selection process. It’s so important to us that they have a voice, too, because we know how it feels to not have one.

Through the process of this shoot I learned that there’s a sense of freedom and power that comes with working as the creative director. It’s just such a different feeling than only doing hair. I look at people like Luigi Murenu who have been such influences for me. You can tell that he had a huge influence on what the final images were and that’s why the hair was always absolutely amazing.

“Like wildflowers, allow yourself to grow in places you people never thought you would.”

Funny enough, that quote was written underneath an artist drawing inspired by the Polaroid teaser that we posted on Instagram of Joan with the afro and stockings stuffed with flowers. It was just mind-blowing to me and Christine (my co-Editor-in-Chief and beautiful work wife!), because after days of talking about what we wanted to call the story publicly, we had decided to go with “Wildflower” or “Joan Smalls as Wildflower.”

The fact that the first artist interpretation of a DOCUMENTBEAUTY image that we’re aware of would reference a title we hadn’t shared yet was mesmerizing for us… and the idea of growing in places you didn’t think you would perfectly captures this moment that Christine and I are in, of starting a new chapter of our careers together. I feel like I’m the luckiest person in the world to be on this journey with her, where we get to create such magical imagery, explore amazing concepts of beauty and art, and inspire each other every day.