A few months ago, only YouTubers and makeup artists knew how to set up a ring light; now everyone with a Zoom account thinks about how their skin reads on-camera. ("You look like you just rolled out of bed if you're not wearing makeup on Zoom," says Blevens. "And you probably did! ") She has been giving virtual tutorials and selling more of her makeup line, Kriss Cosmetics, online.
That woman was Kriss Blevens. "When I'm doing makeup for live TV, I work like I'm an EMT," she says, with a laugh. "It's a moving target, and you have to get it perfect.
I knew everything was going to line up. " Blevens says her own political affiliation is "true independent": "I can't tell you how many times I was swayed to go a different way. " Her decision-making process involves replaying every interaction she's had with candidates in the last year, one by one.
For Sanders, Blevens can do what she needs to in five minutes — which she gets by telling the Vermont senator it will take only three. "I'm putting on the invisible makeup," she reassures Sanders, as his wife combs his hair. "This is not a beauty product. " (It is.
Too much makeup and you risk distracting; too little and you could look tired or worse… unlikeable. It's a tightrope. "Fresh, classic, and consistent," says Blevens, with an emphasis on the last word.
The candidates amble backstage and the blotting begins. "This is waterproofing," Blevens will explain to me later. "It's great on a hot set. " Her blotting powder is also light-reflective, creating the illusion of smooth, soft-focus skin. "We don't use airbrush foundation machines.
Less than two months later, New Hampshire's governor (along with, ultimately, 41 others) will issue a stay-at-home order in response to the coronavirus pandemic. "It was like going 200 miles per hour and stopping abruptly," Blevens tells me on the phone in the spring. "[I went from] doing the presidential debate to not being allowed to touch anybody's face.
In 2008, she flew to California to do Obama's makeup for the last debate before the election. "I know presidential energy," she says. "I knew he'd been called to a great purpose.
In 2007, she made up Hillary Clinton before the New Hampshire debate in a bronzey-plum lip color. "I got 1,000 emails," says Blevens, all asking about "the Hillary lipstick. " When she turned the custom shade into a lipstick called Debate, it quickly sold out.
When Blevens has more time (e. g. , backstage with Klobuchar), she starts with a mattifying gel and follows with a creamy concealer-foundation all-in-one, applied with a flat, synthetic, foundation brush: "Always downward strokes. " Afterwards, she uses pressed mineral powder, precisely blended to their skin tones.
Blevens was wearing rainbow quartz, moonstone, blue tourmaline, and snowflake obsidian, and had stashed selenite (an "energy-clearing" stone) in her makeup kit.
It was strapped to Kriss Blevens's adjustable belt. "When candidates and campaigns get frantic, we get calmer," says the 55-year-old Manchester-based makeup artist.
For years, Blevens did what any good career bureaucrat does, eschew partisanship for versatility: "Have a great show! " But after her stepdaughter's death, she resolved to bring up the opioid crisis to every politician she encountered.
Other times, they took deep breaths together. "The makeup is secondary to the energy and the good vibrations I'm bringing," she says.
Maybe it's an unexpected silver lining. "Had we become too perfect? " asks Blevens. "Is that good for my industry? Of course!
Just try to match that with the white around his eyes and throw powder on. " By "plenty of color," does Blevens mean that unfortunate, otherworldly orange?
Then she uses a lint brush on Sanders's shoulders and checks his tie. "Are we done yet? " he asks. "If you wanna be president, you have to look good," she says. "Okay," he grumbles. The debate starts.
In mid-June, she reopened for limited beauty services, after renovating her studio: "I couldn't pick up a makeup brush, so I picked up a paintbrush.
She attributes her careers — all of them — to a knack for reading vibes and situations. "I can feel their energy," she says of the candidates. "I'm like the bipartisan divining rod!
From Joe Biden’s chatty pre-debate routine to color-matching Donald Trump’s spray tan: https://t.co/h3RVsMDqAs— Allure (@Allure_magazine) September 8, 2020
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