Beauty Inside and Out: An Interview with Makeup Artist Eva DeVirgilis

Image courtesy of Y Communications

Award-winning actress and makeup artist Eva DeVirgilis will be the keynote speaker for this year’s Face & Body Northern California, an annual conference and expo held exclusively for skincare, spa and wellness professionals. DeVirgilis’ keynote presentation - titled, “In My Chair: Makeup Chair Conversations” - will bring conversations with clients to life and will highlight the role that wellness professionals play in encouraging clients to feel confident and beautiful.

Below, DeVirgilis dishes on the importance of loving yourself inside and out, plus her tips for finding success and providing meaningful interactions with your clients.

Tell us a little bit about your mission to end apology in all women.
If you are in the beauty industry then you experience clients apologizing for the way they look the second they see you. “I'm sorry, I know I look like crap," or “I’m sorry, my roots are horrifying,” or "Sorry, I have less hair on one eyebrow.” But it’s not only on the job, the apology has become the new "Hello" among women. I did it for a long time too! So I enacted a "No Apology Rule" for myself and clients. Now, my clients catch themselves doing it, they laugh and say “I never realized how often I apologized!” It’s just about breaking the habit.

Do you have any tips on how to take a compliment and be less critical of yourself?
Just. Say. Thank you. Then close your beautiful lips and smile. It takes vulnerability and a little bit of bravery for another person to give you a compliment, so honor their risk and kindness by just saying thank you, and refrain from saying that you didn't sleep last night, or how cheap your shirt is, or how much weight you've gained. If you absolutely must keep speaking, then pay it forward by giving them a compliment right back.

How can beauty/salon/spa professionals be more memorable with their clients?
Treat them like they are the only person on your schedule that day.

How can professionals be better speakers in front of a master class, group, or convention?  

  1. Hook 'em! Before you even introduce yourself, the first thing out of your mouth should be something surprising, personal, or funny. Preferably all 3 at the same time. Plenty of time to give them your name later. If you hook them right off the bat then they'll be begging for your name, and your product!
  2. Make them FEEL something! "People won't remember what you say but they will always remember how you made them feel." Personal stories are best when bringing home any point. I’m a big fan of the book, Keep it Short and Simple by Dr. Aaron Anderson and David Leong to help with public speaking.
  3. Call them to action. Tell them exactly what you want them to do with enthusiasm so it will inspire them to leap out of their seat and go forth and do it.  

You have made some incredible leaps in your career. Tell us about your “mess to success” story.
You have no idea where life will take you… A few years ago I called off a wedding and left New York City with just a suitcase in hand. I was a despondent mess after years of hard work. I started my life over in Richmond, VA. I took a full-time job behind a makeup counter at Saks Fifth Ave to pay the bills, which turned out to be the best thing I could have done, because it connected me with their customers who are some of the most successful movers and shakers in the area. You never know who your clients are, so treat them all like they are the most important person in the room. One customer turned out to be a coordinator for TEDx and asked me to pitch a talk about being a makeup artist. I got the gig. Two years later, almost a half million people have seen my talk, In My Chair. I had to leave the makeup counter; I get to go all over the country speaking about the beauty in all of us. The Business School of a major University asked me to teach a public speaking course, (never dreamed that was in the plan), women from all over the world reach out to me and share their story, and I am happy to say I am engaged to an incredible man who loves and supports me endlessly. When I look back and ask myself, "How did this all happen? What made the difference?" I realize that I completely invested in myself - I listened to my gut and ended a relationship that was forcing me to compromise who I was. I got lots of fabulous therapy and read a gazillion self-help books (every human should read You are a Badass by Jen Sincero); I hired a coach to help me reach my goals. It was a lot of hard work but preparation met opportunity and when that one person took a chance on me, I was ready.

Lastly, what are the beauty/makeup products that you can't live without?

  • Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer for SPF and light coverage on a hot day.
  • Giorgio Armani Master Corrector #2 and High Precision Retouch Concealer. It's great for gals like me who have darker under eyes due to genetics. This stuff does not crease despite me piling it on.
  • Elf HD Powder. For 6 bucks this stuff does an amazing job, and you get more than a thimble-full, unlike some other brands.
  • Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk and Luminous Silk Foundation. It looks perfect on the entire color spectrum of women on the planet earth.

Don’t miss DeVirgilis’ keynote at Face & Body Northern California, to be held this Aug. 20-22, 2016 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. To register, visit

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