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THM Interview: Dyana Aives

One of my all time favorite interviews for one of my all time favorite websites!
THM Interview: Dyana Aives

THM Interview: Dyana Aives
On April 12, 2010, In Interviews + People, Rants + Raves, By cnaselli

“If I offer you an Altoid before I do your lipstick, just put the damn thing in your mouth, there’s obviously a reason for it.” - Dyana Aives

Name: Dyana Aives

Hometown: Brooklyn, New Yawk

Lives: All over the damn place

Occupation: Makeup Artist Connoisseur, prodigy, educator, mentor

Why We Love Her: Raven red, Devoted friend, kibitzer, Old soul, Brainy and Astute

How We Know Her:

Well, where do I begin. I first met Dyana in 1998 while working on a photo shoot in NY. I would have no idea how special that day would turn out to be. I started to unpack my kit and in comes this fire ball of sex and humor. We had a blast that day and she told me at the end of the shoot that you are going to be my new best friend. Well little did I know that the very next morning I received the call that would change my life as I knew it. That raspy voice said “Hello, It’s me Dyana, your new best friend…” We meet that afternoon and got… for lack of a better word…shit faced. She has been my best friend ever since. I have worked with dyana for over 12 years and by far is one of the most gifted makeup artist in the business.

Dyana started her career almost 20 years ago, and is an accomplished and innovative makeup artist who has had her hands in everything from editorial, video, film, commercial, television and fashion shows.

She has a unique approach to handling her career and dealing with people. Her excitement for her job transcends on to the pages of magazines and has a flawless touch when painting a face. Dyana has not only been a best friend but has been a teacher and confidant. I look forward to watching her grow as an ever changing artist. This is Dyana Aives.
THM: What inspired you to become a makeup artist?

DA: This is kind of odd, all the women in my family are either makeup artists or hairstylist, my mother is a Color Specialist, I have one aunt who is a wig maker, and another who is a famous Emmy winning Makeup Artist in Hollywood, even my grandmother worked in a salon for 35 years, so I grew up thinking that this is what all little girls do when they grow up.
THM: How would you describe yourself as an artist?

DA: In one word…Marketable. Years ago that would have been an insult to me. I always wanted to be that crazy avant-guarde makeup artist, but early on I got a ” reputation” (for the lack of a better word) for doing really beautiful “clean beauty makeup” , and as much as i’d like to be doing crazy geometric shapes of color splashed across the model’s face, that doesn’t get you beauty campaigns, doing “marketable” makeup does.
THM: What is your current state of mind?

DA: I think I am finally at ease with the way my career is going. I’m comfortable in my own skin, and i’ve stopped doubting myself so much. Wellllll, not entirely, but a little. LOL
THM: What is the most frustrating thing about your job?

DA: Learning that I cant control everything. That the success or failure of a shoot is not just in my hands but that every factor has to come together, the makeup, the hair, the wardrobe, the photography, the model, the art direction. If one thing is off, the whole shoot suffers.
THM: How do you unwind after a long day of shooting?

DA: I don’t know that I ever unwind, haha, but red wine, a good Piave’ and Nag Champa Insense help.
THM: What is your definition of sexy?

DA: Sexy is an attitude, an inner confidence. I’ve seen people that aren’t traditionally good looking come across as incredibly sexy. I think it’s the state of mind you’re in. Some people can be sexy in sweat pants while others can slither across the floor in the skimpiest outfit and not be sexy at all.
THM: Who has inspired you the most?

DA: I’m inspired everyday. Old Hollywood film starlets, european fashion magazines, a lot of the more editorial makeup is inspired by artists such as Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko, Hans Hoffman. I get inspired when I see paintings with the use of great color. Most of all, working alongside someone who challenges me and stimulates my creative side than work alone and try and be the star. Sounds like a shameless suck-up but (Christopher) you’ve inspired me more than you know!
THM: What’s your most memorable journey?

DA: My career, has been my most memorable journey. If I knew then what I know now… Also my recent trip to South America to do my last film. It was HORRIBLE! I thought for sure i’d never get out with my kidneys intact.
THM: One day you hope to…

DA: Be satisfied. I am my own worse enemy sometimes and hyper-critical of my own work, so one day I hope to see myself as those that believe in me do.
THM: Three products that should be in every girls makeup bag?

DA: Tinted moisturizer for when you don’t want a “made up” look, Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler (yes it really does make a difference) to open up the eyes, a bronzer for a quick all over lift, and Victoria’s Secret Sexy Lip Gloss in “Wet” which is the perfect anywhere color.
THM: What advice would you give to aspiring makeup artist?

DA: That this has to be your passion! Don’t do this thinking youre going to shoot to super-stardom and make a ton of money at first. It takes years to perfect your craft, and every step develops you as an artist.
THM: The one thing you can’t live without that’s in your makeup kit?

DA: WOW! There’s no way I can limit it to one thing, I love Benefit’s “Lemon-Aide”, It’s a great eye primer that also covers redness and discoloration and also “Ooh LA LA Lift”, which firms under eye baggage and reflects light so your eyes look more alive, and “Lip Plump”, because it fills in the little crevices and lines to make your lips appear fuller without all the pain of the bee-stung glosses, while it keeps your lipstick on longer (Benefit has great little cheats that make you look better before your makeup goes on) I love Lord & Berry’s Black Wardrobe Eyeliner, It’s the most amazing for smokey eyes because it’s super smudgy and wet looking. Mac Strobe Cream is also amazing because it makes your skin unbelievably luminous, as if you put tiny light bulbs under your foundation. Kett’s Sett Powder because it can be used on the lightest to darkest skin tones without looking ashy.
THM: Guilty Pleasure?

DA: Shoes. It’s more of an obsession than a guilty pleasure. I bought 7 pairs the other day, and thought “Do I have a problem?” I don’t even wear most of them, they sit in a pretty box on my shelf waiting for the perfect outfit which I don’t own.
THM: Favorite place in the world?

DA: London. I am obsessed with anything BRIT ISH. (I even tried to type that with an accent-it didn’t work)
THM: Hometown?

DA: Brooklyn, New Yawk.
THM: Most cherished discovery?

DA: I have no idea. Don’t think iv’e made any discoveries lately.
THM: Years in the business?

DA: HMMMM, that’s tough. I’ve been doing makeup since i’m like 5 years old (but I guess that slumber parties don’t count as the business) So suffice to say, i’ve been getting paid to do this for a little over 20 years. YIKES!
THM: Advantages/Disadvantages to being a makeup artist?

DA: The most rewarding part of doing this is that I wake up everyday and cannot wait to go to work. I absolutely love my job and think that makes me the luckiest person in the world. How many people can say that they are living their bliss?

Disadvantages-Freelancing is difficult at first. The work is not steady and you have to constantly promote yourself which can be a real head trip when youre not working enough and feel like a loser. Also, trying to convince people that don’t understand that “Freelancing” is a “real job”. I am always hearing “well someday when you have a real job you’ll understand”. Just because I love my job doesn’t make it any less real.
(extra credit answer)

Disadvantages_ It’s not always glamorous. Film sets are hard. Working 16 hours on location, driving home, getting 4 hours of sleep and waking up to do it all over again the next morning for the next 2 months really takes a toll on your body and metabolisim.
THM: What’s your secret makeup weapon?

DA: Joe Blasco Foundation. While most foundations and concealers are 10-13% pigment, Joe Blasco’s are 55-85% pigment so you can hide a multitude of sins.
THM: Biggest Accomplishment?

DA: I did makeup for “The Concert for New York City” directly after 911 honoring those lost in the attacks on The World Trade Center. I got to meet and work on all of my favorite celebs- Jon Bonjovi, Richie Sambora, Kid Rock, Mick Jagger, Melissa Etheridge, John Cusack, Goo Goo Dolls and all for a great cause.
THM: Describe yourself in one word?

DA: Driven
THM: Biggest Pet Peeve?

DA: If I offer you an Altoid before I do your lipstick, just put the damn thing in your mouth, there’s obviously a reason for it.
THM: Favorite Color?

DA: My favorite crayon was always Burnt Sienna, I also love Saffron. I love the color Pink, but can’t wear it. (Unless you’re under 15 or a cupcake you shouldn’t be in pink).
THM: The one thing you should never do when doing your own makeup?

DA: Do not use a small mirror! I’ll never forget the time I tried to do my makeup on the train with only a Nars Eyeshadow Singles Compack. It’s only big enough to see one eye at a time and by the time I got to my friend’s house my brows looked as if I was channeling Joan Crawford. He opened the door and said “Reeealy Glenda whats going on with your eyebrows?”
THM: Favorite cocktail?

DA: Grey Goose Xtra Dirty Martini with Maytag Bleu Cheese stuffed olives.
THM: We heard you recently started teaching aspiring makeup artists, can you tell us a little about this?

DA: I am so excited about this! Yes, after getting back from South America I got a phone call from this producer that I worked for last year, asking me if I would like to come down to Orlando and teach at the Joe Blasco Academy. I was terrified at first! I mean, I studied about him in beauty school, so to actually be working for him was very surreal. To my surprise I actually fell in love with this new job. I get to talk about makeup all day without anyone rolling their eyes and asking me to change the subject! In fact i’ve got 23 pairs of hungry eyes staring back at me wanting to know more!
THM: What are the benefits of teaching makeup?

DA: Well at first it was just getting to do and talk about what I love everyday, now it’s so much more, I’ve become a better artist because of it. After 20 years in the business you tend to lose a bit of that hunger that made you want this so bad in the beginning of your career. I wouldn’t say i’d become jaded, just maybe a bit lax or lazy. Teaching has re-ignited my passion for the business. While I teach my students, they also teach me. I love it.
THM: If you could paint one face, who’s would it be?

DA: I want to paint so many faces that this answer constantly changes. Eva Mendes is number one because I think she is one of the great beauties, like a Sophia Lauren of our time. Chloe Sevingy and Scarlet Johansen because I think they have much more going on than just beauty and would love to hear them rant. And funny as it may sound, I find myself obsessed with wanting to soften Tori Spelling ( I cant stop watching Tori & Dean I feel like I know her) And I would love to pump up the glamour on Chelsea Handler because I think she is so pretty and always looks so washed out.

You can view Dyana’s full portfolio at

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