Janice Kinigopoulos, aka Bridal Babe, discovered her love for makeup as a college junior while working in the cosmetic department at Bloomingdale's in White Flint. She dropped out of college to pursue a career in makeup artistry and now has a résumé that includes Hollywood A-listers Jodie Foster, Liv Tyler, Mariska Hargitay, Ashley Judd and Padma Lakshmi, as well as makeup and styling for the HBO dramas "The Wire" and "Treme." She also has her own line of makeup. Howard Magazine spent an afternoon with the Bridal Babe in her home studio in Ellicott City to find out how she helps brides look gorgeous on their special day.
What made you start Bridal Babe?
It's a different kind of expertise than film. People started asking me to do their wedding makeup, so I did. It was word of mouth.
Then I worked on "The Runaway Bride." It's about how Julia Roberts' character takes on the personality of the different grooms, and I thought it was interesting because there are different kinds of brides. I was just inspired by that, and we had so many weddings going on in the movie and I was doing weddings on the side. I thought I would marry the concepts. ...
At the time there weren't many websites for brides. I told them how to pick the look and get the look.
Why did you write the Bridal Babe book?
For every consultation, I found myself saying similar things, so I thought I'd break it down. The book's very conversational, like two girlfriends talking, and I think pretty helpful.
It's such an important day for brides — they just want to look great. I hate when I see brides overdone, all lit up like a Christmas tree kind of thing, and I don't think the grooms like it either. I just wanted to help.
In your book, you discuss three different wedding day looks: The Princess Babe, The Glam Babe and The Natural Babe. Did you have a look for your own makeup?
I actually used blue. I was really young, 22, when I got married. I wore blue eyeliner, and I still wear it today. It works for me.
What are most brides concerned about regarding their makeup? What should they be concerned about?
I think they just want to look amazing — really, really gorgeous. I do think they want to look like themselves. ...
A lot of girls want to emphasize their eyes and don't want to wear a lot of lip color. Some want to look dramatic. They do come with a picture, and I ask them to do that. At least we can start there. They should be concerned about looking the best they can look without looking like they have a lot of makeup on their face. I just love it when I do a bride and they still have skin that you can see, and their features are prominent. Their features just glow.
It's a long day, a lot of kissing, and hugging and crying …
And weather, too, can really affect the makeup. You can't do too much because it will just melt by the end of the day. I start in the morning and stay through pictures. I freshen them up after the ceremony.
I use waterproof mascara. It's very helpful although it's not foolproof.
When should a bride come for a consult?
As soon as they know they are getting married. It's nice to check it off your list. There are so many factors later on to worry about. I love when they come with their veil and any pictures of the dress. The color of the gown can make a difference with the makeup. You meet the bride and you get an idea of what kind of girl she is. Every bit of information is helpful.
What are your rates, and what does that include?
I charge $2,000 for the day, and that includes starting early in the morning, depending on what time the ceremony is, touching up after the ceremony, and then again if necessary just before she walks into her reception. The fee covers the whole bridal party. It doesn't matter if I'm doing two people or 15 people. If it's a large party I bring an assistant or two, but most of the time it's just me. I allow two hours for the bride. The last thing I would want to do is make a bride feel panicked. I never leave her for last. You never know what can happen.
Can you give some tips for our readers?
Drink water. Take care of your skin as much as you can before the wedding. Use a reasonably priced cleanser and day cream with sunscreen, and eye cream, too.
It's so important, because you're preparing a beautiful canvas. The better your skin looks and your eyebrows look — you don't even need that much makeup. It's like when you're at the beach and you get that glow.
Waterproof mascara is really important, and foundation that matches your skin tone is very important. I do use primer, but not all the time. Sometimes a nice moisturizer is sufficient. Highlighter is a nice subtle way to make your skin look glowy. Put a little on your nose and cheekbones.
Do you do mothers of the bride, too? Do they come with their daughters to the consultation?
Yes. I love doing mothers. Sometimes they're exhausted because they're running the brides around and not really giving attention to themselves. It’s their moment, too, because they're so happy. I think they should look beautiful.
Kinigopoulos can be contacted through her website, www.bridalbabe.com.