Posts Tagged ‘beauty buzz’

JH X MA SUMMER LOVE COLLECTION

 

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SUMMER LOVE
The inspiration behind the summer love collection are those meaningful relationships ,we as women, all have. Whether its best friends, mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins, we wanted to create a collection that celebrates those personal connections and provides you with daily reminders.

Jillian Harris and Melanie Auld have designed some really fun and classic pieces with a little modern twist. Jillian brings that girly, pretty, loveable vibe and for Melanie it was about taking that and infusing a bit of a modern edge.

All their pieces are brass based with 14kt gold plating. Moonstone, turquoise and pink opal stones mix beautifully with pave and heart detailing.
Meant to be layered and lived in.

In an effort to give back, they are donating $3.50 for every piece of jewelry sold to A Better Life Foundation. Which is the cost of a meal. Buy a piece of jewelry and feel good about helping to feed someone who needs it.
A Better Life Foundation

Cate’s Golden Hour

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73rd ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS 

Jeanine Lobell Creates a Dewy Smokey Eye For Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett dazzled in a pink gown on the Golden Globes Red Carpet. To compliment the dress, Makeup Artist Jeanine Lobell wanted Blanchett’s look to be pretty but not too soft so she gave her a dewy smokey eye.

To achieve the look, Lobell used a combination of three Giorgio Armani Eye Tints instead of powder shadow to create a sheerer version of a traditional smokey eye. She started with Giorgio Armani Eye Tint in #12 Gold Ashes across the lid. She then used Giorgio Armani Eye Tint in #1 Obsidian instead of a pencil or liquid liner, using it along the lash line placing it from the top and then wrapping it around to the bottom creating a small C around the outer hallow of the eye crease to give a smokey effect. On top of the Giorgio Armani Eye Tint in #1 Obsidian in the crease, she layered Giorgio Armani Eye Tint in #7 Shadow feathering it lightly.

Lobell wanted to give Blanchett a “glow-from-within” on her cheeks so she used Giorgio Armani Cheek Fabric in #507 and then brushed Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Compact over it.

Jeanine didn’t want a heavy look on the lips so she just tapped on Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy in #508 Daybreak to keep the sheer textures consistent.

Much Love,

Beauty Buzz 411

Megan Williams: Our Interrupted Fairy Tale

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Megan is the Vancouver based author of the breakout, true love story, Our Interrupted Fairy Tale. If you’re looking for her, you’re likely to see her running the seawalls with friends who (she claims) have saved her thousands of dollars in therapy. She also has a new column in Valley Buzz – “How did you meet”. But if you really want to know Megan, take a look at what her friends have to say!

So what is there to know about 30 year old Megan Williams, that you haven’t already read? “It took me a little over a year to write Our Interrupted Fairy Tale – writing 1,000 words a day and sifting through old emails, diaries, letters and blogs. I moved to the spectacular North Shore with Chad in 2008, and have stayed there ever since. I still live in our mini-castle in the sky (read: very small, very high condo that over looks the ocean and city).

Since moving to the North Shore, I have run thousands and thousands of kilometres on the West Vancouver seawalls. Most of which have been with girlfriends who have saved me thousands and thousands of dollars in therapy – letting me cry through the rain, daydream about “what’s next” and drop minutes off my race times. I also still play tennis. Not as much as I used to – but each time I step on the court, I’ve got Chad’s coaching voice in my head. (Elbow up on the forehand, move towards the ball on volleys). I play one tournament a year – The Chad Warren Mixed Charity Challenge.

As for work, I’m on the communications team at BC Transplant, an organization that I am proud to be a part of, my colleagues are selfless and I have no problem showing up on weekends to work.”

FullSizeRender-15 copyI knew of Megan and her story for some time, but had the honour to meet and work with her for the Big Love BallFur Crying Out Loud” campaign shoot. Megan has this kindness that shines so bright from within – I don’t think this beautiful woman has a bad bone in her body! She is such a sweetheart and an incredible role model for woman and young girls all around.

Megan embodies strength, beauty, focus, dedication and most of all she shows us that the fight’s always worth it, when you believe in it! Her courage inspires you to step outside your comfort zone, listen to your heart and to do it all with love. “Our Interrupted Fairy Tale” is a true love story that shows us how through loss, love will always remain. Megan showed vulnerability in a way that allowed us all to see what a remarkable man Chad Warren was and how Chad’s spirit will continue to live on. As hard as it was to read this book, knowing how it would end, I found healing and comfort for those that I have lost to Cancer. It is with a grateful heart and love that I share our interview here……

BB411~ You released your new book “Our Interrupted Fairy Tale”, what do you hope people get from your love story?

MW~ I like that people will get to know a few things about this great guy Chad who they might have not otherwise had the privilege of meeting. But as time has gone on, I’ve been told that this story has helped others with their own life stories of love and loss – so I’m pleased this story has offered that as well.

megan-062BB411~ At what point did you know you were ready to tell your story?

MW~ It was about a year after I found one of Chad’s diaries. The timing was right in my life that I could commit to writing this story, and the timing was right in my grieving. I guess the pain wasn’t so acute that it would cloud the happiness of the story.

BB411~ What was the best and hardest part about writing this book?

MW~ Reliving our life together. The hardest part is similar – reliving our life together, and recalling the sickness and sadness that came with it.

BB411~ What are the plans to spread the love about “Our Interrupted Fairy Tale”?

MW~ I’ve recently signed with an agent in Toronto – so he’s taking over some of the planning now. We’ll have to wait and see!

BB411~ What inspires you to stay strong and embrace life?

MW~ I’m alive, I’m healthy and I’m loved. I can’t think of any more inspiration than that.

BB411~ What do you want people to know most and remember about Chad?

DSC03293MW~ That he was a kind, thoughtful, determined, good person. He also had the ability to make us blush and belly laugh at the same time with his super off-side jokes.

BB411~ Chad started a foundation called “Chad’s 1 Million“, can you tell me a bit more about it?

MW~ Chad’s $1 Million (for Multiple Myeloma) is a campaign to honour his wish to have his life make a difference for other blood cancer patients. Take a Look!

BB411~ You and Chad met on the tennis court, will you continue to play tennis or have you closed that chapter of your life?

MW~ I still play, but not nearly as much since Chad’s been gone. I play in the summers with my Dad in preparation for my favorite (and only) tournament of the year – the Chad Warren Mixed Charity Challenge up at Hollyburn in West Vancouver. It’s a great event, and for any tennis players who might read this article, I encourage you to consider registering this year! The tournament is set up as Chad wanted, accessible and open to players of any level. Good times only!

IMG_1866BB411~ What has “living on” meant to you?

MW~ I will never get over the loss of Chad. I haven’t met anyone who “got over” the loss of someone they loved. So, I’m living on, not moving on. I live on with Chad in my thoughts, conversations with friends and occasionally in my decision-making. He’s still here in so many ways.

BB411~ How did your parents influence the person you are today?

MW~ Oh, you mean my #1 fans? My parents have cheered from behind the glass watching my tennis matches, with one phone call, and they were at the hospital with Chad and I in less than an hour, and again, this past Friday – Mom and Dad stayed up late with me as they worked through the wrinkles of my SheTalksYVR speech with them. Their tireless support has influenced me tremendously and I wish that feeling on everyone.

BB411~ You have found love again, was that a hard process? How has Brad helped heal your heart?

MW~ I have found love again! While I wouldn’t say it’s a hard process, but it’s very uncharted territory for both of us. Brad (I know, Chad/Brad – I like to keep it simple) as he says, chose to love all of me, not just the parts that apply to him. I’ve never had to “hide” my grieving, or pretend I didn’t have a life with someone else, before him. And I feel the same about him, and I’m confident it’s why we works as well as we do.

IMG_0149BB411~ What does the word “beauty” mean to you?

MW~ We use that word to describe so many things don’t we! So, considering I told my step-daughter that she was beautiful before leaving for work this morning, and I also said the cherry blossoms were beautiful on my run – I’d have to say “Beauty” is something natural. Something that requires a moment of pause as you think how special that person/view/object/moment is.

BB411~ What does it mean to you to give back?

MW~ Paying it forward. Sometimes, I find that a gesture or generosity that has been extended to me, doesn’t always mean I “give back” to that same place – I try to pay it forward where it seems fitting.

BB411~ Are you involved/support any charities that are close to your heart?

MW~ Chads1MillionChildren’s Wish Foundation and Cystic Fibrosis.

BB411~ Describe your style?

MW~  I had to text my friend and ask. I would have said, “comfortable.” Cristina said, “West Coast”. I think we mean the same thing, but hers sounds better.

IMG_7251BB411~ #1 thing every woman should have in her wardrobe?

MW~ Runners

BB411~ Bare feet, socks, flip-flops or stilettos?

MW~ Flip-flops

BB411~ What do you do to stay fit and healthy?

MW~  I run with friends – which doubles as therapy and a workout. I do track workouts with a group called SuperKrun on the North Shore to help get my race times down. Strength training in the gym and skiing and tennis for cross training. I like to keep moving.

BB411~ What is your skin care regime?

MW~ Whatever the facial people tell me – wax on, wax off.

BB411~ What are your go to hair products?

Butter_Studios_Wedding_Photographers_Vancouver_megan_williams_our_interrupted_fairy_tale_3-900x500MW~ Whatever my hairdresser, Jaelyn tells me – shampoo, conditioner, comb, heat protector?

BB411~ Do you have any beauty secrets or words of wisdom that have been passed down to you from your mother or grandmother?

MW~ Drink water. Add sparkle.

BB411~ #1 beauty product you could not live without?

MW~ Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer – SPF 30. Everything after that is a bonus.

BB411~ Do any certain scents remind you of your childhood?

MW~ Fun question! Halston, my Mom’s old perfume – it reminds me of being able to fit on her lap. Cigarette smoke and smarties – reminds me of my Grandma. Tennis Bubbles – reminds me of junior tennis.

64-450-2BB411~ What is your favourite fragrance?

MW~ Currently: Sugar Lychee by Fresh.

BB411~ 3 words that best describe you?

MW~ I’m not great at answering this question, so I asked Brad’s little girl. She said, “Beautiful. Smart. Nice.”

BB411~ Fun fact that people may not know about you?

MW~ I have an irrational fear of fish.

BB411~ If you could tell your younger self something you have learned and know now what would it be?

MW~ You are not fat.

BB411~ Favorite quote?

MW~ “Your absence is like the sky – it covers everything.” – My cousin shared this with me. It’s actually a mis-quote from C.S. Lewis – but I like her version more.

5008_517342854126_51501401_30756267_5004979_nBB411~ Favorite food?

MW~ Brunch.

BB411~ Favourite colour?

MW~ Sparkle

BB411~ #1 thing you want to cross off your bucket list?

MW~ I’d like to live in France for a few months. But most immediately, I’d like to run a sub 20 minute 5km.

BB411~  What has been your biggest Aha Moment so far in life?

MW~ That there will always be more love. I didn’t have to fall out of love with Chad in order to fall in love with Brad. That was a biiiggg moment for me.

BB411~ What are the key points to being a good role model?

MW~ I try to be Kind, Supportive, Empowering.

FullSizeRender-15BB411~ Describe your perfect day (when you have down time)?

MW~ Run with friends (coffee and muffin after – specifically at Crema in West Van), a swim with my step-daughter and Brad, champagne lunch and shopping with girlfriends, and a big dinner out after spending unnecessary amounts of time getting ready with girlfriends, with Taylor Swift on shuffle.

BB411~ Where do you see yourself in 1 year, 5 years and 10 years?

MW~ I’d like to still be writing and living by the beach. But, this last year has been another reminder that the course you’re set out on can always change direction, so I really have no idea.

BB411~ What advice would you give entrepreneurs (writers) starting out that are following their dreams?

IMG_0159MW~ Ask tons of questions, ask for advice, follow leads, have a plan and take chances.

BB411~ When I say the words #lovethis, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

MW~ My life.

To keep up to date with Megan: Follow on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and check out Her Site!

Remember to say you heard it here

Much Love, Beauty Buzz 411

Gail McInnes: On Top Of Her Game

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Glasgow-born, Toronto-based Gail McInnes has worked in the fashion industry for over eighteen years with a focus on managing and promoting entrepreneurs and performers. She is owner of publicity agency Magnet Creative Management and co-owner of the exclusive fashion showroom Stylist Box.

Prior to launching her own successful businesses, Gail founded the ground-breaking The Style Box, Canada’s first-ever Canadian fashion designer rental showroom which catered exclusively to high-profile celebrities, dressing them for the Toronto International Film Festival, Emmy Awards, Gemini Awards, and Toronto Fashion Week.

Over the past two decades, she has accumulated an impressive clientele; having worked with actors, artists and performers, including the likes of Stephen Amell (Arrow), internationally renowned rapper Kardinal Offishall, Natalie Brown (The Strain), celebrity chef David Rocco, and reality star and celebrity stylist Brad Goreski; to fashion brands and organizations, including Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI), Lucian Matis, Fashion’s Night Out Toronto, Line Knitwear, CAFTCAD, Andrew Majtenyi, Hilary MacMillan, and many more.

Gail_McInnes (2)She brings her inherent Scottish charm, expertise and insider knowledge to her role as the fashion host for TDot TV and freelance fashion reporter; having written for FLARE.com, Huffington Post, Global News, View The Vibe, and more.

Her in-depth view and opinions into the world of style is often called upon for various television appearances and interviews as an expert in her field, including CBC News, Global TV’s The Morning Show, CTV News, National Post, Globe & Mail, Tele-Journal, Slice Network’s X-Weighted, Party Mamas, and many more. She was featured as the Bachelorette in Come Date With Me, which aired on the Cooking Channel in the US and CosmoTV and W Network in Canada.

Gail gained international recognition when she was nominated in 2011 as “Communicator of the Year” by the prestigious Scottish Fashion Awards, in association with VOGUE.com. She is also a nominee of the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards having been nominated in both 2012 and 2013.

Gail also devotes her extra time to furthering the careers of the next generation of fashion entrepreneurs through esteemed organizations including Youth Employment Services YES as an instructor of their Passion For Fashion Program, Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI) as a mentor, and is regularly called upon as guest speaker and judge at various colleges and universities.

From The moment I met Gail years back at Toronto Fashion Week, I have been captivated by her authenticity, gorgeous smile and passion for life. Gail has this “Girl Boss” way about her that energizes anyone around her. She is determined, driven, focused and an incredible businesswoman. What I love most about Gail is she puts her heart and soul into everything she does. The clients, people and friends in her life reap the rewards having her in their corner, your greatest cheering squad. She stands behind what she believes in and goes the extra miles for the people she cares about. I find it inspiring to sit and talk with her and learn more on what it takes to have that entrepreneurial spirit. Oh and did I mention, not only is she beautiful inside and out, she knows how to rock the red lips!

Warning: This interview may cause you to stop what you’re doing and spark that entrepreneur in YOU!

BB411~ You have been involved with the fashion industry for over 18 years and wear many different hats. Can you give us a little insight into all that you do and how did everything come to be?

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GM~ It does seem like a lot, doesn’t it? It’s not really to me – I love being involved in as many aspects of the industry as possible. I want to see it continue to grow and flourish.

Day-to-day, I run my fashion branding and publicity agency Magnet Creative Management and our showroom Stylist Box, which I run with the ingenious Christian Dare. Then I freelance report and write for various outlets, including on air hosting for TDotTV. I’ve always loved writing and reporting – I am so lucky that I can also apply it to so many areas of my career.

BB411~ Did you always know that you would go into the career you are in today?

GM~ I never thought I’d be the owner of my own company, but I always knew I wanted to be in the beauty, entertainment and fashion industries.

When I was 8 years old, I wanted to be a makeup artist; by age 14, I was selling Avon door-to-door. At 12 I wanted to be a fashion designer. It wasn’t until my high school Fashion Arts teacher gave me a dose of reality and the best advice I was ever given at that stage; “Most people who go to fashion school end up as a patternmaker or seamstress. If you want to become a designer, you will need backing or come from a rich family.” I listened and decided at age 17 that I was either going to be a model agent or a fashion show coordinator. By the age of 20 I had already done both.

Stepping back and taking a look at the past twenty years always amazes me. I wish so much I could have told my shy, conservative teenage self to never place doubt on what you want to do – it is all attainable.

BB411~ Where does your drive and focus come from?

Gail_McInnes_Photo_Ted_BeltonGM~ Definitely from my Scottish upbringing and my parents. The educational system in Scotland is much more structured than the Canadian system – which I learned when I moved here in 1989. Both my parents are entrepreneurs and are self-employed.

Fear is the greatest motivator. I want to test myself and try to overcome anything which I ever thought I could never do or that was intimidating. I used to be deathly shy in social situations; overcoming that fear was just step one on realizing that if you put your mind to it, you really can challenge and accomplish things you thought were out of reach before.

BB411~ If you weren’t in the career you are today and you could be anything in the world what would it be?

GM~ Acting, art, or music.

I always wanted to act. I loved my theatre company in school and I wish I hadn’t been so reserved and shy to pursue it more. I would have loved to have become a professional artist. My mum had wanted me to go to OCAD, but never pressured me in anyway. When I was in high school I worked at music stores; if I had pursued that career path, I could have seen myself getting into music management.

BB411~ Who did you admire growing up or do today?

GM~ My mother. She was the driving force in my family. She married my dad at the age of 18 and had four girls by the time they were 27. She ran the household and was always hustling and working to provide us a better life than how she had grown up. I admire her for her gumption and perseverance.

BB411~ Who has been your favourite designer to work with?

GM~ I’ve been so fortunate to work with so many amazing talented designers. It would not be fair for me to call out any names, but those who I call friends are special to me. They know who they are.

BB411~ What are the trends for Spring/Summer?

GM~ Even though trends can be fun to follow each season, I always say, wear what you like and what suits both your body and personality, don’t feel pressured into following trends.

BB411~ Which celebrity do you feel Rocks ongoing style?

GM~ Dita Von Teese, Cate Blanchett, and Tilda Swinton. They all have their own unique sense of style which is powerful in itself.

Gail_McInnes_Scottish_Fashion-AwardsBB411~ Favourite Colour?

GM~ Red.

BB411~ Describe your style?

GM~ Classic retro. I love a red lip and feminine dresses, but I also love to be a little “rock and roll” sometimes.

BB411~ Bare feet, socks or stilettos?

GM~ Stilettos.

BB411~ What are the 5 key pieces that every woman should have in their wardrobe?

  1. A perfectly fitted and tailored jacket
  2. A pair of classic black brogues and/or stilettos
  3. Well-fitted undergarments; especially bras – base garments are the most important thing
  4. A great classic white shirt
  5. A comfortable and well-fitted pair of blue jeans

BB411~ What does beauty mean to you?

GM~ Compassion. There is nothing more beautiful than someone who cares and understands the struggles of others.

BB411~ What inspires you personally and professionally?

GM~ Any person or organization that is working hard to make a difference to our community without ego.

BB411~ What are the key points to being a good role model?

GM~ Being true to yourself and approaching every challenge with enthusiasm and optimism.

BB411~ Are you involved in any charities that are close to your heart?

GM~ I’ve been involved with Passion for Fashion, a free fashion business program from Youth Employment Services YES and the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI) as an instructor and mentor for the past five years. I also actively support the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR). Every holiday season we encourage our clients to donate a shoebox for the Shoebox Project – it’s a great charity which brightens up the lives of women in shelters.

BB411~ What does it mean to you to give back?

GM~ Giving back is so important, it’s all about supporting the community and helping as many people as possible.

BB411~ If you could tell your younger self something you have learned and know now what would it be?Gail-McInnes-tedbelton-007

  • Take more risks.
  • Don’t stay longer in a job or relationship than you should – get out the moment you know it’s not making you happy.
  • Never be afraid to ask – you’ll never know unless you ask. This can apply to everything from financials, raises, favours, information, etc.
  • Surround yourself with people you admire and never be afraid to say goodbye to negative people and environments.
  • Do karaoke! You’re gonna love it, and you’re actually not that bad a singer as you think.
  • Don’t stress so much about dating. Being single is actually the best time of your life – you’ll accomplish more than you ever dreamed possible.

BB411~ How do you stay motivated with life’s daily stresses that come up?

GM~ Laughter. It truly is the best medicine. I also am lucky to be surrounded by so many hilarious people.

BB411~ What is your skin care regime?

GM~ It changes each day and with the weather. In my twenties, I only ever used Avon’s Effective Eye Make Up Remover to cleanse, I never used soap, then I would use Nivea cold cream. Since I turned 30, I’ve been taking a greater effort to take care of my skin. I exfoliate once every two days with St Ives Exfoliating Apricot Scrub, cleanse and moisturize with Shiseido’s Benefiance collection – the skin softner makes such a difference. For removing eye makeup, I’ve been using Annabelle’s Eye Makeup Remover, I love how easy the pump is to use. And for serums, I am love with the velvety feeling that Estee Lauder Perfectionism [CP+R] leave behind.

BB411~ How do you stay Healthy and Balanced?

Style: "Portrait B&W"GM~ I wish I could admit to going to the gym five times a week, but with my hectic schedule it can be harder during busy times, so I end up there about three times mixing up the elliptical with yoga. I do walk as much as possible when the weather allows; typically walking 30 minutes to an hour or more each day to get to meetings and events. I am trying to be better with drinking more water. I never keep junk food or alcohol in my house, so I do tend to eat better and more balanced at home rather than during the week. And Vitamin D! I have a very low count and take 5 times normal on my doctor’s directions – it really does make a huge difference on your mood, especially during those winter months.

BB411~ 3 beauty products you carry with you always?

GM~ Right now, I always have Stila Stay All Day Lipstick in Amore, Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat and Benefit’s BADgal Lash Mascara. If I don’t have time to do my makeup completely, these three products add extra glam in less than 5 minutes.

BB411~ #1 beauty product you could not live without?

GM~ Conair’s Curl Secret – this is the only way I can go from work to an event in no time. It’s so easy to use and creates beautiful curls that last all night.

BB411~ Favourite fragrance?

GM~ Victor and Rolf’s FlowerBomb.

BB411~ Fun fact that people may not know about you?

GM~ My full name in Gaelic/Scots roughly translates to “Lively Fire of the Unique One”.

BB411~ Favorite quote?

GM~ “Power is being told you’re not loved and not being destroyed by it.” – Madonna

BB411~ Favourite Food?

GM~ Anything Mexican or Indian – I love spicy food.

BB411~ Describe your perfect day when you have some down time?

  • Sleeping in till noon
  • A long, leisurely brunch (grapefruit mimosas are mandatory)
  • Spa treatments
  • Dinner on a beautiful, hidden patio
  • A concert of one of my favourite performers or bandsStylist-Box-Gail-002_Teb_Belton

BB411~ What advice would you give entrepreneurs starting out that are following their dreams?

GM~ Learn from others before diving into the entrepreneurship world. Find mentors to help you with your business plan. Do your research to ensure there is place in the market for your service or product. After that, just go for it and push yourself further than you ever thought possible. Good things will come to those who work their asses off. Don’t expect anything to come to you – you have to find it yourself.

BB411~ #1 thing you want to cross off your bucket list?

GM~ Meet Madonna.

BB411~ What has been your biggest Aha Moment so far in life?

GM~ No one is talking about you as much as you think they do – they’re too busy worrying about who they think is talking about them.

BB411~ Where do you see yourself in 1 year, 5 years and 10 years?

GM~  My career is, and always has been, an evolution. I don’t want to jinx my plans just yet, but the universe will lead me to where I am meant to be.

BB411~ When I say the words #lovethis, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

GM~ Time alone. I’m a loner at heart and my alone time is what gives me time to recharge for the next busy period.

To keep up to date with Gail: Follow on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and check out her Site!

Also be sure to follow Magnet Creative Management

Remember to say you heard it here

Much Love,
Beauty Buzz 411

On Point with Melissa Barak

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Photo credit: Bobby Quillard

As one of the most sought after dancers turned choreographers in the United States, Melissa Barak has built an empire cultivating relationships with her audiences via ballet through her cutting-edge dance company, Barak Ballet. Having being featured in such publications as Los Angeles Times Magazine and DANCE Magazine, Barak is continuing to foster the growth of her company by showcasing her talents on February 6th-7th 2015 at The Broad Stage in Los Angeles for 2 shows.

Drawn in to the art of dance at 8 years old, Barak began her career in Los Angeles learning from the illustrious Yvonne Mounsey at the Westside School of Ballet. Her passion eventually took her to New York to study at the School of American Ballet and eventually earned her a spot at the New York City Ballet where she remained for the next 9 years and became known for her linear purity, relentless work ethic, and musicality.It was there that she began exploring her choreographic talents and at the unprecedented age of 21, with her consistently outstanding performances allowed her to be commissioned for an original work for the company, making her the youngest choreographer in New York City Ballet history. Upon realizing her talent for choreography, Barak continued creating new works for various companies including the American Repertory Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, and Los Angeles Ballet, as well as luminaries such as Misty Copeland, Benjamin Millipied (Black Swan) and principle NYCB dancers Sara Mearns, Tiler Peck, and Robert Fairchild. With this unparalleled success, Barak felt it was time to branch out on her own to build a dance company that flourishes from personal philosophies deeply rooted in true collaboration, individuality and artistic maturity. In 2013, she founded Barak Ballet and has made its mission to envision, develop and perform contemporary dance interpretations for the modern age.

When she’s not busy performing and creating visual art, Melissa can be found volunteering for various animal rights groups and playing with her cat, which she rescued herself while living in New York as a dancer. 

It was such a pleasure to sit down and chat with Melissa. Her incredible drive and passion for bringing emotion alive on stage is irresistible. Melissa puts her heart and soul into creating artistry through her dancers and work. I am so happy to be able to share this interview with you, a true artist and inspiration in my eyes………..

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Photo Credit: Kyle Froman

 

 

BB411~ Has dance always been a part of your life, how did that all come to be?

MB~ It started as a little girl dancing in the living room for my mom. My sister and I would partner together and do shows for my mother and grandmother. My mother watched me dance around the house and noticed I had talent (as every mother does) and got me into ballet classes at the age of 4. I actually didn’t love ballet at the beginning, I found it kind of boring and stopped after a year. At age 6 after continuing to dance around the house, my mom decided to put me back in and it stuck ever since! It was when I was 8 and enrolled in Westside School of Ballet in Santa Monica that things got much more serious.

BB411~ Who did you look up to growing up or inspire to be?

MB~ When I was young at Westside, I was 8/9 years old and very impressionable and looked up to the advanced dancers. Many of them went on to serious companies. They made an impression on me and gave me goals for something to work towards. As I got older and was becoming more aware at the ballet world at large, I looked up to Darci Kistler. I saw Julie Kent perform live and she has always been someone I look up to as well. Both women are fantastic.

BB411~ What do you love most about dance and being a choreographer?

MB~ As a dancer- the performance aspect, performing for an audience (live) with the music and being in a role that you love with choreography that really fits you. It takes you to a spiritual place. It’s a very freeing, quite, euphoric place. Dancing provides that euphoria, a real sort of happiness, being one with yourself and getting lost in the music. Choreography is fulfilling but in a different way. I’m very much into competition, my personality is about making sense out of disorder, organizing. I get fulfillment out of creating pictures, images, and an environment on stage using music that I love. What motivated me to move as a dancer, music motivates me to create as a choreographer. To sit back and watch it all come to life on stage is an accomplishment, a real joy.

BB411~ What is the greatest lesson dance has taught you?

MB~ 1. A determined mindset. You need to be persistent, there’s no such thing as giving up. The constant reach for the betterment of your artistry/technique. 2. Practicing patience. Some people rise slowly, others dancers rise more quickly, some have strengths that others don’t. It’s really about being persistent, determined, but also being patient with yourself. Excepting who you are, your abilities and limitations.

BB411~ Living in NYC and studying at the New York City Ballet, you became the youngest choreographer. What was that experience like?

MB~ It was awesome and it was scary. It was incredibly cool, a huge honour and a sense of accomplishment for sure. But being so young I didn’t quite feel ready for all of that attention and to have my work on one of the biggest stages in the world. Lincoln Center (are you kidding), it was a lot of pressure on somebody who wasn’t even quite sure what kind of choreographer she was. I wouldn’t change anything though, it forced me to be brave at a young age and take chances. I felt torn as I still very much wanted to dance but the focus was on my choreography from my director. I am grateful to him for giving me my choreography career.

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BB411~ How was your company The Barak Ballet born?

MB~ It was a few years ago that my time with Los Angeles Ballet was coming to an end. And I was at a place in my life that I was deciding what I wanted to do; join another company, audition, or get into something completely different (interior design has always interested me). But then I had been playing with the idea of starting my own company. Out of all the things I was considering getting into, that really inspired me. It was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to start a company of my own. I had thought about it in previous years, coming back to LA and creating a company I grew up in. It was at that time, my dance career had come to an end, and it was at that time that I considered such a move. It just seemed to make sense, it just felt right. As soon as I started putting pen to paper and writing out my mission statement, it all started exciting me. It grew from an idea to people jumping on board. It’s something that inspired me and still inspires me.

BB411~ You have worked with some incredible dancers Misty Copeland, Benjamin Millipied (Black Swan) and principle NYCB dancers Sara Mearns, Tiler Peck, and Robert Fairchild. Who have you not worked with but is on the top of your list?

MB~ Maria Kochetkova is incredible from San Francisco ballet. Actually San Francisco Ballet has a lot of incredible dancers I’d like to work with; Sofiane Sylve, Yuan Yuan Tan, there all exceptional! Wendy Wayland, she’s just an amazing, amazing artist. Also she loves to work with choreographers and would look good in anything created.

BB411~ What advice do you give for young ballerinas or people with a passion for dance that are starting out?

MB~ I’d tell them to just focus on themselves, try not to look around and see how quickly other dancers are moving forward in their progress. Dancers grow at various rates and it’s super important to not compare yourself to others. You look, you watch, and you want to learn from other dancers but you don’t want to directly compare yourself. Because again, you could have strengths they don’t have and you don’t want to diminish what you have. You have to stay focused, better yourself, focus on improving, and try not to compare cause that can really destroy you.

BB411~ How did your parents influence the person you are today?

MB~ My Mom always believed in me and boosted my confidence. She always tried to be very honest and subjective with me. Hearing her encouragement throughout the years really gave me a sense that I had something special.

BB411~ What do you do to stay fit and healthy?

MB~ I try to eat super healthy and well-rounded. I don’t deprive myself of anything, I eat chocolate, fruits, vegetables, I enjoy eating sensible and in moderation. I stay away from anything processed and eat organic as much as possible. I enjoy pilates, I’m really lucky I have my best friend Andie Hecker who owns a pilates studio, Ballet Bodies in LA. I stays active through pilates, hiking and gyrokinesis, which is a form of yoga, tai chi, gymnastics, and dance. I enjoy activities that are low impact.

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Photo credit: Bobby Quillard

 

BB411~ Describe your style?

MB~ If I go out, I would say city-urban chic, east meets west coast sort of vibe. During the day, I’d say California girl.

BB411~ Top 3 things every woman should have in her wardrobe?

MB~ Nice blazer, hot pair of jeans (that make your booty look good and legs look long) and a pair of nude heels.

BB411~ Bare feet, socks or stilettoes?

MB~ Ballet Slippers

BB411~ What does the word “beauty” mean to you?

MB~ Confidence, Graciousness and Compassion define beauty.

BB411~ What inspires you personally and professionally?

MB~ I get inspired by people’s innovation. So professionally, If I’m observing (especially in terms of choreography), I loving seeing what can be created and done. I love the book that came out on Steve Jobs; he was this guy that had an idea and who just had a knack for business, marketing and product that people wanted. Innovation has really inspired me, other people’s, whether it be artistic, technological, scientific, I find that really cool.

BB411~ Are you involved in any charities that are close to your heart?

MB~ I support various animal wellness charities. My schedule doesn’t allow me a lot of free time, but when I can, I try to attend events that support great causes. Animal welfare, the prevention of animal cruelty are the causes very close to my heart.

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Photo credit: Bobby Quillard

 

BB411~ What is your skin care regime?

MB~ I’m an EPICURE girl all the way. I use their facial wash, they have this mask and peel I’m obsessed with. I love argan oil and use Avene sunscreen every day.

BB411~ What are your go to hair products?

MB~ Right now I’m using Pantene, it adds extra moisture to my hair. I like to change my hair products regularly.

BB411~ #1 beauty product you could not live without?

MB~ Vaseline, I use it on my lips, cuticles and sometimes as an eye moisturizer. Vaseline is universal and inexpensive.

BB411~ Do any certain scents remind you of your childhood?

MB~ The smell of freshly cut grass, brings me back to being younger. Also the smell of rose, there use to be a store in a mall that was decorated all in pink (girlie) and whenever I smell rose I think of that store. It was one of my favourites.

BB411~ What is your favorite fragrance?

MB~ My scent that I wear is Narcotic V. by Nasomatto. I love gardenia and tuberose is really beautiful. If I want to relax, lavender is great and I’m really into Cire Trudon candles.

BB411~ 3 words that best describe you?

MB~ Loyal, Genuine and Honest!

BB411~ Fun fact that people may not know about you?

MB~ I love the saxophone. I have also always loved the sound of the accordion and bagpipe as instruments too.

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Photo credit: Bobby Quillard

 

BB411~ If you could tell your younger self something you have learned and know now what would it be?

MB~ Not to give up, you have to work your ass off. Nothing comes easy (laughs).

BB411~ Favorite quote?

MB~ Favourite quote I have on my desktop is by Woody Allen “If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”

BB411~ Favorite food?

MB~ Pizza & Dark Chocolate

BB411~ Favourite colour?

MB~ I know it’s technically not a colour, but I like black.

BB411~ What are the key points to being a good role model?

MB~ Being supportive and honest.

BB411~ #1 thing you want to cross off your bucket list?

MB~ I’d like to go on a safari in Tanzania (Greek Islands is a close second)

BB411~ Describe your perfect day (when you have down time)?

MB~ Start the day with a good, healthy breakfast, pack up a small bag of my beauty essentials and head to Olympic Spa in Korea town, LA. It’s a stay cation, filled with pools, saunas and their milk and honey body smoothie treatment. They also have this warm floor that you can have a nap on after your treatment. It’s pretty Kick-Ass!

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Photo credit: Bobby Quillard

 

BB411~ What has been your biggest Aha Moment so far in life?

MB~ Take with a grain of salt anything a man tells you, don’t take it to heart!

BB411~ What advice would you give entrepreneurs starting out that are following their dreams?

MB~ Be determined, work hard and you have to make sure it’s something you are going to enjoy putting a lot of time into. As long as you know this is a passion of yours, you’re going to enjoy the hard work. Certainly the bumps in the road can’t get you down. You have to be able to weather any storm that comes.

BB411~ Where do you see yourself in 1 year, 5 years and 10 years?

MB~ When I was younger I use to set goals, but now I live day by day. Right now my focus is on ballet of course and in 5 years I’d love to see my company continuing to grow with great dancers, opportunities, exciting audiences around the world by then and being happy (that’s the biggest, most important thing). One, five and ten years all I really want is to feel fulfilled and happy. And what ever way that happens, whether I’m married, single, Barak ballet’s a success or I move to Portland Oregon, I just want to feel fulfilled!

BB411~ When I say the words #lovethis, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

MB~ Funny Cat videos on You Tube, I’m a fan

To keep up to date with Melissa and Barak Ballet: Follow on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow Melissa personally on Her Instagram Account.

Remember to say you heard it here

Much Love,
Beauty Buzz 411

Fresh Beauty: Spring into Spring

Dermalogica Multivitamin Thermafoliant 75mL

 

The Mother of all Exfoliants

Dermalogica’s Multivitamin Thermafoliant is your beauty tool for sloughing off the dead cells to reveal a brighter glow. The Great thing about this product is it not only polishes the skin, but with a touch of water it’s self-heating, creating that extra touch of exfoliation. With scrubbing action like this, products penetrate and melt into the skin more deeply.
Refresh your skin at Dermalogica

 

 

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D’Fluff

The key to a perfect shave is preparing the skin before. I love looking for products that have fresh ingredients, and that’s exactly what you get with LUSH Cosmetics! D’Fluff Strawberry Shaving Soap is like dessert for your legs (and other body parts too). Whisked together is this combination of strawberries, egg whites, coconut oil, cocoa butter and many more antioxidant goodies. The fluffy, whipped, marshmallow texture brings fun to the shower and you’ll be showing off those silky legs.
Discover a new way to shave at Lush

 

 

Let the Good Times RollLike Oatmeal in the Morning

What better way to start off the day then with the sweet smell of “Let The Good Times Roll” from Lush. This maize, cinnamon and polenta facial cleanser gently washes, soothes and conditions your skin. I can’t get over the heavenly scent that makes me think of sweet and salty popcorn, caramel and oatmeal with brown sugar all-in-one! A real treat for your face.
Get your morning burst with Lush

 

 

In the Buff

Kai

Bring Hawaii to your bathtub with the exotic and natural scents of “Kai” body buffer. This unique sponge is infused with good-for-you oils like coconut, olive and palm. This product really does it all, cleanser, exfoliator, moisturizer, bubble bath AND provides up to 30 showers. Oh and it’s a great companion for the travel bug on-the-go (Packs Perfectly)!
Let Kai take you away at Kai Fragrance

 

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Intensive Repair

Cocoa butter is the bomb! Garnier body’s “Intensive 7 days” Conditioning lotion brings moisture-rich hydration and an amazing scent. You’ll love that you can jump out of the shower and it absorbs quickly, while still providing continuous moisture for days. It’s perfect for full body coverage and all weather conditions throughout the year. And the best part, is it contains L-Bifidus, which is inspired by probiotics found in yogurts.
Slather up today with Garnier

Remember to say you heard it first here
Much Love,
Beauty Buzz 411

Something Sweet with Jessica Krueger

JessicaKrugerOFFICIALLise Watier Cosmétiques and its partner Shoppers Drug Mart are proud to announce that Jessica Kruger of Coquitlam, B.C. is the face of the new Something Sweet fragrance. This effervescent young woman dazzled the panel of judges with her infectious enthusiasm, unfailing positive energy, determination and eloquence, and because she so clearly represents the Lise Watier brand values. She is definitely the Something Sweet they were looking for!

“I have all the character traits that Lise Watier is looking for to represent Something Sweet, but choosing me also means choosing to embrace diversity and changing the world’s perception about what a model should be”, said Jessica Kruger. A fourth-year student at Simon Fraser University, Jessica is also Canada’s youngest female player in the wheelchair rugby association. As a quadriplegic, Jessica accommodates her challenges and enjoys life to the fullest. She also gives motivational sessions for WorkSafeBC (sic) and the Rick Hansen Foundation. Encouraged by a friend, this inspirational young woman enrolled in the competition at the Shoppers Drug Mart in Burnaby, B.C. Although she entered for fun, Jessica quickly realized the impact her application had when she garnered huge support from her community.

It was an absolute pleasure to meet and interview Jessica. Her story is inspiring and she is a great role model who shows what it takes to rise above challenges and see the possible in the impossible. I love that I get to share this interview with all of you, Enjoy………!

BB411~ You are currently in university, what are your focused studies and career plans?

JK~ I am studying at SFU to get my bachelors of English. Once I have gotten that I will apply to the PDP program, which is a one year education/teaching program. The ultimate goal is to be a high school English teacher.

Jess-rugbyBB411~ You are Canada’s youngest female player in the wheelchair rugby association, what do you love most about the sport and organization?

JK~ Honestly, I love everything about rugby—my team-mates, the physical challenges, the contact aspect of the game, the strategy—it’s all so much fun!

 

BB411~ What did winning and becoming the face of the new “Something Sweet” fragrance campaign with Lise Watier mean to you?

JK~ It meant that Lise Watier was ready to help make my dreams come true, that they thought the world was ready to see somebody with a disability be a model—an unheard of feat!

BB411~ What do you hope to accomplish being an ambassador?

JK~ I hope to show both girls and women that being different can be beautiful and that confidence is admirable.

BB411~ What do you think it means to be a good role model?

JK~ I think that a good role model empowers those that look up to them. I think that they remember that all of their actions could have an effect on other’s and that they truly embrace the message that they are trying to send.

BB411~ Where does your drive and focus come from?LiseWatier_Finalists

JK~ Honestly, I think that it comes from my stubbornness, which I suppose comes from my Dad. I have always been one of those people who refuses to accept no for an answer, and being stubborn has made me strive for things that may have seemed impossible just to prove that they weren’t.

BB411~ Who did you admire growing up or do today?

JK~ I wouldn’t say that there is one specific person that I admire, but rather that there are a number of people who possess the traits that I admire. I admire hard-work and determination, positivity and kindness, loyalty and drive. I see these traits in so many of the people that surround me, my friends, parents, sister, and team-mates, that it is nearly impossible to choose just one.

BB411~ How did your parents influence the person you are today?

JK~ My parents are, and always have been, my greatest supporters. They are the type of people who have encouraged all of my dreams and never ever told me that something seems impossible or stupid. They have raised me to be the person that I am today. When I was six years old they took my sister and I on a four-year sailing trip around the world. In choosing to expose me to so many different cultures they gave me the gift of understanding other’s challenges and struggles. This trip showed me that people can have virtually nothing and still find happiness, it made me realize how ridiculously blessed I am to live the life I live.

BB411~ How do you stay motivated with life’s daily stresses that come up?

JK~ I remember that I really don’t have it all that bad, and recognize that this is the life I have been given, it is up to me to make the most of it, feeling sorry for myself will ultimately accomplish nothing.

FullSizeRender-1BB411~ Have you always been in love with fashion and beauty?

JK~ I think that many little girls grow up with an admiration for all that is beautiful and glamorous, and I was no exception. While I have not always been a “girly girl,” I have always appreciated the fashion and beauty world.

BB411~ Who is your favourite designer?

JK~ My favourite designer would definitely have to be Betsey Johnson.

BB411~ Ditto (One of our faves too!)

 

BB411~ Any beauty/fashion tips or tricks you have?

JK~ The best tip I could give anyone is to wear something that makes you feel fabulous. Going out with confidence is probably the most attractive thing you can wear.

BB411~ Describe your style?

JK~ I would describe my style as girly, fun and flirty with the occasional edge. I love, love, LOVE dresses and boots!

BB411~ What does beauty mean to you?

JK~ I believe that true beauty comes from within. Someone that is truly beautiful is seen as externally beautiful because their spirit shines from within.

BB411~ What inspires you personally and professionally?

JK~ I am inspired both personally and professionally by people who are not afraid to work hard to achieve their dreams. I have a huge respect for anyone that has “beaten the odds” and remains humble.

BB411~ Are you involved in any charities that are close to your heart?FullSizeRender-4

JK~ I have had some involvement as a speaker for the Rick Hansen Foundation, which is of course close to my heart, as their work is in support of people with spinal cord injuries. I learned about the work that The Lise Watier foundation is doing, and am hoping to be able to contribute to that in some small way. I think that the work that they do with women and girls in need is extremely important.

BB411~ What does it mean to you to give back?

JK~ It means using all of the wonderful opportunities that I have been given to make a difference to others.

BB411~ If you could tell your younger self something you have learned and know now what would it be?

JK~ It would be that everything happens for a reason.

BB411~ 3 words that best describe you?

JK~ Determined, Positive, Loving.

leah+jess_22.jpgBB411~ What is your skin care regime?

JK~ Extremely simple, wash with water and Lise Watier’s Hydra Smart self-foaming cleanser, moisturize with their Hydra Smart hydration gel cream.

BB411~ 3 beauty products you carry with you always?

JK~ My purse sized Something Sweet perfume, Lise Watier Dramatique Intense Mascara, and my Lise Watier Sun Ray lip gloss!

BB411~ #1 beauty product you could not live without?

JK~ Lise Watier’s feline black liquid eyeliner! Amazing!

BB411~ Do any certain scents remind you of your childhood and what is your favorite fragrance?

 

JK~ Any sort of baking related scents remind me of my childhood, as that was one of my favourite things to do with my mother, and my favourite fragrance is Lise Watier’s Something Sweet!SSweet_RollOn

BB411~ Fun fact that people may not know about you?

JK~ I have been to 45 different countries.

BB411~ Favorite quote?

JK~ “May the bluebird of happiness do cartwheels in your oatmeal” I actually have this quote up on my bedroom wall!

BB411~ I absolutely love this, this is going in the vault!

BB411~ Favorite food?

JK~ Tacos and sushi!

FullSizeRender-10BB411~ Favourite movie?

JK~ The Guardian or John Tucker Must Die.

BB411~ #1 thing you want to cross off your bucket list?

JK~ Travelling to India.

BB411~ What has been your biggest Aha Moment so far in life?

JK~ Realizing that people in wheelchair’s are capable of doing anything an able-bodied person is, just in a different way.

BB411~ Describe your perfect day when you have some down time?

JK~ Spending time with friends, family, and my boyfriend, baking, and curling up on the couch to watch wedding shows with my sister.

BB411~ What advice would you give young entrepreneurs starting out that are following their dreams?

JK~ I would tell them to remember that achieving them will probably not be easy, but ultimately hard-work and determination are always rewarded. Be patient, never say no to an opportunity, and go get those dreams!

BB411~ Where do you see yourself in 1 year, 5 years and 10 years?FullSizeRender-9

JK~ 1: Starting the PDP program at SFU, continuing to train for wheelchair rugby, hopefully doing some part-time modelling!
5: Teaching, playing on the national wheelchair rugby team, getting engaged (**hint hint nudge nudge** haha!), living in Vancouver.
10: Playing on the national wheelchair rugby team, opening my own cupcake shop, married, living in Vancouver, and starting to have children!

BB411~ When I say the words #lovethis, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

JK~ On a non-materialistic level, My family, my dog, my friends, my life!

To keep up to date with Jessica: Follow her on Instagram

To get your hands on the incredible fragrance “Something Sweet” Visit Lise Watier

Remember to say you heard it here

Much Love,

Beauty Buzz 411