Meet the makeup artist who is making magic at iconic beauty brand NARS.
Written By JAYME CYK
Known For: Clean, flawless skin
Where to Find Her: Los Angeles
Clients: Rashida Jones, Michelle Dockery, Lili Simmons
Years in the Industry: 25
Beauty Essential: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
Mentions in The Violet Files: New Year’s Eve Beauty Essentials
Agent: Luke Pygman and David Washinsky @ Tracey Mattingly
As a med school student in the ’90s, Uzo says she stood out. “I was the one who wore a bold red lip to class,” she laughs. “And I was the one who had blue mascara peeking above my surgical mask.”
Medical school wasn’t Uzo’s first choice, but her father felt his daughter’s nurturing qualities could help her flourish as a doctor. However, after seven years in med school, she became determined to pursue her first passion, makeup artistry. Luckily, her easy demeanor with patients in a hospital setting was an unexpectedly useful skill when it came to the up-close-and-personal art of makeup application. Uzo took a summer job in a department store at the Clinique counter and stayed for a year, then landed work as a freelance artist. “I did some work for Bobbi Brown in the ’90s, and I met Naomi Campbell backstage at the Tommy Hilfiger show,” recalls Uzo. “Bobbi Brown was the designated makeup sponsor, and when it was time to touch up Naomi she said, ‘I only use NARS.’ She had already had her makeup done by a NARS artist, and she looked amazing. That’s when I knew where I wanted to go next.”
After a few years working in Barneys Beverly Hills as the resident NARS artist, Uzo was offered the position of International Lead Makeup Stylist, a title she has held since 2003. With this new role, and what she refers to as her big break, Uzo was given the chance to travel the world, work with celebrities (she quickly caught the eye of Rashida Jones), and train store associates on all things NARS.
I was the one who had blue mascara peeking over my surgical mask.
Naturally, her training has served her well. Uzo is a perfectionist, and when it comes to her aesthetic, clean, flawless skin is always top of mind. Her favorite product? “The Multiple highlighter stick from NARS has always been my tried and true,” says Uzo. “It’s all about creating dimension, and I always go back to it.”
And, of course, the self-taught artist learned about NARS from the best—her mentor and the brand’s founder, François Nars. “There are two words from François that vibrate so solidly in my mind,” says Uzo. “‘Never compromise.’ As a makeup artist and as a career woman. Always put your best foot forward.”
Uzo on the comfort of Manolos, DIY manicures, and her makeup essentials.
NARS Creamy Concealer. It’s also my beauty essential. A good concealer does wonders.
I love Eric Buterbaugh. He’s very special to NARS. We always order his arrangements to send to celebrities and clients—and to ourselves.
I’m all about exfoliants and glycolic acids. I love the process of removing dead skin and producing collagen. I like the NARS Double Refining Exfoliator, but I go to the dermatologist to do laser or I get a mild glycolic peel.
I have always loved Tilda Swinton, but right now I’m into Kerry Washington. She can do anything. She can look very edgy or clean and relaxed. I also really like Victoria Beckham.
If I wasn’t doing makeup I would have pursued a residency in plastic surgery.
DO YOU SEE THE PERFUME BOTTLE AS HALF EMPTY OR HALF FULL?
Who’s going to say glass half empty? Always half full.
My favorite is in Seoul; it’s The Spa in the Park Hyatt Hotel. They do this treatment with hot stones and I can get a facial and a body treatment all in one. I go to Korea maybe once a year, so it’s something I look forward to.
WHAT’S THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE WHEN MEETING SOMEONE?
I have started noticing the pitch, timber, and cadence of someone’s voice even more than their smile.