BRADENTON -- Celebrity makeup artist and Bradenton native Stephen Moleski is back in town, and he's offering to share his makeup secrets to everyone from cosmetic aficionados to beginners.
"I want to teach people how they can get the celebrity look -- "the red carpet look" -- without looking like they are wearing a lot of makeup," Moleski said.
He just spent a long stint in Australia doing makeup for Mel B. of Spice Girls fame, who was a judge on Australia's version of the "X Factor." Now he's offering his Master Class next Sunday and Monday at Molinari Models and Talent, 56 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota.
Moleski will teach two looks -- the step-by-step process of how to apply natural, clean, beautiful makeup, and his most sought-after and highly acclaimed "smokey eye" technique made famous by reality star Kim Kardashian, with whom Moleski has worked with for years.
"It's going to be six hours of me doing makeup and answering questions," Moleski said.
Makeup artist Eri Vincent, who is hosting the classes, thinks the event will be a success.
"Stephen does beautiful makeup," she said.
The class isn't cheap --it costs $300 a person, which includes a gift bag for the first 30 people who sign up featuring more than $200 worth of makeup products from L'Oreal, Kevyn Aucoin and Moleski's eyelashes from his new makeup line Smoke & Mirrors Beauty.
The step-by-step teaching
technique in these classes is the framework for Moleski's makeup school that he's planning to open up in Atlanta next year.
Always an artist
Before Moleski became a makeup artist to the stars, he grew up in Bradenton with his family. He would paint and draw exquisite art pieces that his parents adored. As a young boy, he dreamed of becoming a marine biologist.
"I wanted to train dolphins and killer whales," he said.
But after finishing high school, Moleski's career goals changed when he realized that he didn't want to go to college.
"I told my parents that I was going to Orlando, but I never did, I just floated around," he said. "I just didn't know what to do."
After moving to Orlando, he began helping out a local fashion designer.
"He needed help with one of his fashion shows, and I helped out his makeup artist," Moleski said. "I started doing (makeup) more, and a lot of people started tell me that I was really good."
So Moleski attended cosmetology school, then moved to Atlanta. There, he worked for the Dass Salon and a M.A.C. Cosmetics store. He also did makeup for New York Fashion Week.
"I did a lot of creative stuff with the salon," Moleski said. "After about six years, I got bored of doing that."
Moleski's boredom with Atlanta and love for beaches led to him to Los Angeles, where his career as a celebrity makeup artist started by "word of mouth."
"I moved out to L.A. where a girlfriend of mine put me in touch with her girlfriend, who did a workout video," Moleski said. "Within three months of me being in L.A., I was working on 'The Girls Next Door' TV show, doing all the parties and photo shoots."
At the same time he worked for "The Girls Next Door," featuring Playboy head Hugh Hefner and his girlfriends, Moleski also started working for Ripe TV ,where he did makeup for celebrities such as supermodel Joanna Krupa and socialite Kim Kardashian.
"I remember the day that they said that Paris Hilton's best friend, Kim Kardashian, was going to be hosting Ripe TV," Moleski said. "I had no idea who she was."
After Moleski did Kardasdian's makeup for the show, she called him the next day and asked him if he would be interested in doing her makeup again.
"She literally had me come over and get her ready every single day," Moleski said.
With Moleski doing makeup for three prime-time TV shows, his name-recognition grew as celebrities started spreading the word about his artistry.
"Kim referred me to Mel B.," Moleski said.
When Moleski's contract ended with "X Factor" in December, he decided to focus on a new chapter in his career.
"I recently got back from Australlia where I worked with many celebrities, and I wanted to do something that wasn't celebrity-based," Moleski said. "I like education and I like to see women empowered, so I figured that while I'm home in Bradenton I could start my master classes in my home town."
As Moleski focuses on opening his makeup school in Atlanta, he also has plans to expand his makeup line with business partner Niki Toney-Pressley.
"We are already working on lashes to add to the line, and adding more tools that we like to use with the lashes," Toney-Pressley said. "Then we will eventually branch out and do other things, like maybe sable brushes and lip glosses."