10 Questions for Make Up Artist Rachel Toledo

The first time I met Rachel wasn’t on a photo shoot. We met on the magical island of Capri off the shores of Naples, Italy. I met her through fashion stylist and magazine editor, Ise White, who had rented us New York City girls a beautiful villa to get some much needed R & R. When I arrived, via Amsterdam, Rachel was already there. We hit it off immediately! Eating gelato in the town square one night, we bonded over yelling out “BROOKLYN” to the locals drinking their Limonada and espressos. That was two years ago and in that time I have had the great opportunity to work with her on two different editorials. Rachel is not only extremely talented, she’s personable, funny, hard working and a true team player. Never one to ask what time we’re going to be done, she’s ready to get that extra shot in if we have time, ready to suggest another look on top of the look you just captured. I sent Rachel 10 questions to answer and here are her answers! You can check out her work on the ABTP site.


What are the benefits of being represented by an agency as opposed to being on your own?

A good agent can protect you. They’re a great barrier between you and the client to make sure things like proper pay, kit fees and transport are all arranged for you. Also you’re not hassling a client for money. They also can guide your career in the right direction for your talent. A good agent should market you right and open up doors to new clients you never would have met on your own. I love my agency, Artists By Timothy Priano- they “get me” and how I like to work, I’m obsessed with my booker Christina there- she’s amazing! Even when I bring in my own clients she always gets me a better deal then I could have arranged for myself, plus she is super sweet and all my clients compliment how lovely she is-which is very important to me, I like to be professional but nice.

How do you communicate with the photographer you’re working with on a shoot to achieve his or her goals?

It’s really important for a photographer when communicating with a makeup artist to have trust in the artist he or she is working with. If I am hired it’s because he/she trusts in my skill but also it’s important for the photographer to give as many visual and verbal descriptions for the shoot that we are working on.  It’s great if I can be given a detailed “brief” of what the shoot is about and what it’s for. The makeup I would do on a model for a teen marketed magazine is very different for a European very edgy fashion magazine. Mood boards and tear sheets of ideas are good but I’m not into ripping off another artists’ makeup and I always add my own personal flair and stamp on the look.

How much of your input do you add to achieve the results the photographer is looking for?

I’ve been in the business over 17 years and have worked on all ends of the spectrum so I give a lot of input, but more in the finished result rather than talking about it too much because a lot can happen in the process of creativity.

Tell us what a dream job is for you?

My “Dream Job” would be Ellen Von Unwerth as the photographer, Grace Coddington styling, Sam McKnight on hair, Baz Lurman doing the art direction and Raquel Welch circa 1970 modeling (she is my muse) But any job with a sassy creative director and a decent pay rate is always an awesome second LOL.

What are the three tools in your make up kit that you can never, ever be without?

The three tools I can never be with out are 1: a contour brush. I use them for everything from shadow to powder to concealor 2: a sharp pair of slanted tweezers from Tweezerman, and 3:  my eye lash comb (because I like rock and roll but not clumpy lashes).

Advice for young makeup artists who are just starting out and want to be where you are, at the top of the industry?

For new makeup artists- leave your diva-ness at the door, NEVER be late- learn to be 5 minutes early everywhere, be flexible as shoots run late so if you’re assisting don’t whine that you need to leave early or go home, don’t turn your nose up at washing brushes or getting coffee-what ever creative environment you can wedge your way into and shadow and learn from, do it!! Say yes to as many free tests and jobs as possible-you never know where they may lead. Work at a makeup counter part-time and practice, practice, practice!!

What is your favorite quote?

My fav quote is “Beauty Fades but Dumb is Forever” – Judge Judy.

Melissa Rodwell