Blanche Macdonald




Amidst the sprawling metropolis of New York City, film fanatics and beauty aficionados flocked to Pier 94 New York, New York this past month to take in everything Makeup at the prestigious International Make-up Artist Trade Show (IMATS). Held annually in only six mega makeup hubs across the globe (LA, New York, Vancouver, London, Toronto and Sydney) IMATS is a cosmetic wonderland and an opportunity to rub shoulders with the best of the best: from tip-top Makeup industry veterans and innovators, to Award-Winning Artists and YouTube/Vlogger sensations. This year, two superstar Blanche Macdonald Makeup prodigies – recent Global Makeup graduate and first time competitor from Ottawa, Ontario Aurezo Sanari as well as Global Makeup Co-op graduate and two-time competitor from Monroe, Michigan, Erin Geer – were selected to compete in the hotly contested Battle of the Brushes competition at this renowned event. With thousands milling about and Facebook live feeds streaming away, these two took to the stage with a carefully selected group of outrageous new makeup artists to battle it out for those coveted podium spots.

Blanche Macdonald: How did you prepare for this event?

Erin Geer: With the Battle of the Brushes Prosthetics category you aren't told how many pieces  or even what exact pieces you will be getting. Because of this, there is only so much prep you can do. I practiced at home for the last two months, making sure I knew my layers and the order I would do things in so that I didn't get lost. This helped a lot in my time management.

Aurezo Sanari: I received the news that I was a finalist seven weeks before the show, which is exactly when the preparations began! In terms of preparing for the day itself, I packed doubles of every product I used just in case something didn't work!

BMC: What spoke to you most about the theme of each contest? What aspects did you want to integrate into your look because of the theme?

EG: I LOVE LOVE LOVE creating aliens and creatures!!! It is a giant passion of mine. When I heard that Guardians of the Galaxy was this year’s theme for the Character / Prosthetic competition, I couldn't wait to apply. One thing I noticed while watching the movie was that a lot of the characters had illuminated skin or different shaped heads. I knew I wanted to try to incorporate those aspects.

AS: I’m always drawn to the Middle East and constantly inspired by their countries, the beautiful women and their rich culture. Competing in the Beauty / Fantasy category, I knew I wanted to include those things along with some gold into it. I didn't want to go political with my concept but I couldn't find myself creating something without emotion.


BMC: Were there any challenges you encountered?

EG: Oh man - figuring out how to put lighting under a bald cap was my biggest challenge for sure! It wasn't until about a week and a half before we left that I was able to create a piece that worked properly and allowed me to attach it to the hair wrap without major issues.

AS: There was one problem that arose during the two hours I had. When I had practiced before I left, the tears I was using for my look dripped freely but the area we were in for the competition was so cold, the tear drops wouldn’t drop at all! I spent a lot more time trying to get them to drip naturally so I ended up leaving it for a bit and coming back to it later.

BMC: How did you prepare for such a high-pressure, public competition?

EG: I had some amazing teachers at Blanche who really took the time to make sure that I knew what I was doing. I just imagined my competition was a final and I was fine!

AS: During my year at Blanche Macdonald I kept hearing about IMATS and our instructors and faculty at the school are very encouraging. I watched everyone on stage and thought to myself - I think I can do that! And I still can't believe I did! I was overwhelmed by how many people believed in me and it made me work even harder.


BMC: When your name was announced as a winner in your category, how did that feel?

EG: During the competition I wasn't able to pay attention to the other contestants’ work so I wasn't sure what any of the models looked like. Once I got a look, I was blown away. It could have been anyone's game. When my name was called for 2nd I was so happy! It's not everyday that you get to compete against such a talented group of people and come out on top. Honestly, this year's group was really strong.

AS: It's hard to describe the feeling I had in that moment. There were so many emotions - I couldn't even believe I was in New York to begin with, let alone competing at IMATS and when I heard my name I didn't know what to do! I was a deer in headlights - I took a step out and paused because I couldn't quite believe it, and then kept walking to the front of the stage. It was an incredible feeling, I felt like my heart was going to burst!

The Blanche Macdonald Centre would like to offer our warmest congratulations to Erin Geer and Aurezo Sanari, along with huge thanks to our staff in the Blanche Macdonald Makeup department whose hard work was at the heart of these astoundingly talented students!

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Blanche Macdonald