ROMERO JENNINGS

 

Name: Romero Jennings 

Age You Feel: I feel 27 years old even though I am really light years away from that.

 Where Did You Grow Up: I grew up in Brooklyn and Queens, New York but was born in Kingston, Jamaica. My family moved to New York back in the late sixties because they wanted us to have more opportunities. 


Tell us about your earliest memories with makeup and fashion!

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At 16 years old, I asked my parents for a sewing machine and told them that I was going to be a fashion designer! It probably was not easy for my dad to agree but I remember how excited I was when I opened the package! I thought I could pick up sewing easily because my grandmother was a master tailor, but that wasn’t the case. In the beginning, I made many mistakes but I worked very hard, and eventually went to Fashion Institute of Technology as a Fashion Design major. After that, I lived in Japan for 5 years working for a designer while also assisting backstage at fashion shows as a makeup artist. 

How has being a man of color influenced your taste?

Coming from a small island that was infused with rich electric colour was something that influenced me as a kid. I loved seeing rich caramel and deep skin toned women wearing bright and bold colour patterns and rich metals. When I went back to Jamaica recently, I was so shocked and amazed because everything was so vivid and electric with colour. This richness of colour is something that still influences me today. I always try to infuse pops of unexpected color even in neutral makeup looks. Colour to me is life and fashion! 

Who were your first role models and what did they teach you about the way that you saw yourself

My mom and dad brought our family to America when I was a kid but my mom really was my first role model. She taught me that hard work and being focused would pay off. Being an immigrant back then, there was always fear that if you didn’t work hard that you might be sent back. My mom was and still is a super woman. She allowed us to be ourselves but pushed us to be our best. She told us to choose careers that we loved and that it wouldn’t feel like work at all. She was totally right as I love what I do every day. My grandmother was the second role model in my life. She was an expert tailor and had the most exquisite garden. I remember visiting her in awe of her talents. She really was a renaissance woman of her time.

How did you start to work for M·A·C cosmetics and what has been your biggest lesson from being a part of that brand?

I applied for a job 25 years ago and have had a full-time position from the beginning. Working at M·A·C has been an amazing growth tool for me that still continues today. I can say that I feel relevant in my work and in the beauty industry. I owe my drive, determination and creative freedom to M·A·C. 

You seem to have so much fun with the work that you do, which part brings you the most joy and why?

I really love the connection that I have with people! I love hearing their stories.  Having the ability to change someone’s mood in a positive way through the art of makeup is truly satisfying.

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Tell us about some of the projects you've worked on in the last 10 years that made you pause and feel grateful

Being able to key shows backstage in New York and Paris during fashion week was amazing. I feel so grateful to have built global relationships with designers that trust my vision. Recently, I was asked to create the makeup for our VIVA GLAM 25 campaign which was a very cool experience.  

The project that I cherish the most was being asked to be in one of our M.A.C. campaigns, M·A·C Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour Metallics, with my mom. When the campaign came out, I took her to some of the M·A·C store locations so she could see herself as a cosmetics campaign model. My mom never felt so beautiful, and it’s an experience that I will never forget.

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You seem to have a close relationship with your mother, what does she think of your work with M·A·C and has she ever asked you for makeup advice

My mom and I are really close and she asks me how her makeup looks every time I see her. She does a great makeup daily but loves when I have the opportunity to do her makeup. She really notices all the details and always tells me that she feels pretty after I am done.

If you could work with any actor or music artist out there right now, who would it be and why?

I would say Lady Gaga since she is a chameleon with beauty and her ever-changing looks. I love that she goes from extreme beauty looks to alien realness.

What songs are on your playlist when you're on set working your magic

FKA Twigs- Water Me / Grace Jones -My Jamaican Guy / Yma Sumac-Taki Rari

Which are your favorite items from M·A·C that you feel everyone should have in their makeup bag

M·A·C Prep and Prime Skin Refined Zone- I call it my liquid powder as it mattifies, reduces the appearance of large pores and helps makeup to stay in place. I always use it for my work but I use it daily as my transparent undetectable mattifier.

M·A·C Lighttful C+ Coral Grass Softening Lotion Spray - a hydrating lotion that preps skin and soothes the skin. All of my clients love how it feels.

M·A·C Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara- This mascara curls and define lashes with a detailed brush that’s coats evenly and lasts ALL day. I love using it for editorial makeup. 

What is your morning routine before a big day?

My day usually starts at 5:30AM at the gym then back home to water my garden. This is truly my therapy as I think of my grandmother and her urban farming tips and tricks when I was growing up. After I usually have coffee, shower and then my daily 7-minute hair styling routine.  

If you created a campaign with M·A·C what would you call it

My M·A·C. campaign would be called “Romero Lashes Out” a collection of creative eyelashes /beauty appliques that the world has never seen before. Currently, I create these custom items for photo shoots, celebrity clients and fashion shows. 

How has having a social platform opened doors for your creativity

Social media, especially Instagram has become my new portfolio. Clients usually go there first to get a 360° view of what I am about. It has opened the world to me and my followers, as I get inspired by interacting with people and places. Since I am constantly traveling for work, social media helps keep me connected with the latest global news, fashion and quickly changing trends.

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What's one misconception you feel folks have about you

I feel like it looks as if many things have been handed to me with little effort! If they only knew the struggles and challenges that I have faced over the years. My positive outlook helps keep me on the right track and continues to surround me with good energy no matter what obstacles come my way.

What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind

I would want people to remember me as being a creative beauty innovator and an all-around nice guy who loves people and has a passion for gardening.

For anyone out there who wants to pursue a life in makeup artistry, what are 3 pieces of advice you'd give them

1. Be your authentic self and never forget where you come from. It will help guide you on your journey.

2. Instagram is the new business card. Potential clients might head straight for your page to see what you are all about and if you are the right fit for their next project.

3. Constantly work on elevating your skills. The minute you stop growing as an artist you could find yourself on the way out. 


Finish these sentences

 I am most proud of My work, M.A.C. Cosmetics, My family

The person who makes me laugh the most is My Mom 

My favorite color is All shades of blue! It calms me and reminds me of summer.

I'd love to work with FKA Twigs for the cover of Vogue

Makeup is LIFE

The women in my life are Powerful, Funny, and Loving

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Romero

Jennings is the Director of Makeup, M·A·C Cosmetics. Follow him here!