Hometown: Auburn Hills, Michigan
Beauty specialty: Makeup and hair styling
Personal style: A mixture of laidback, in sweats and sneakers, and polished professional
Ice Cream Flavor that describes her personality: Bubblegum, because it’s bubbly, easygoing and fun
I recently sat down with Flynn Marie Pyykkonen, a VIVE makeup and hair extraordinaire, to talk about her unconventional career path, travels and experiences at Paris Fashion Week. Flynn is based in New York City and has worked on projects with Betsey Johnson, Calvin Klein, Maybelline, Nylon Magazine and MTV amongst others.
Summer: How did you start out in the beauty industry?
Well, I actually majored in Communications at the University of Buffalo with a Division I basketball scholarship and worked in the marketing industry after graduation. However, I didn’t enjoy sitting at a desk for hours on end. One day, after doing my friend’s makeup, she told me that I should consider doing this full time. I had always loved doing makeup, but had never considered a career as a professional makeup artist. I figured I might as well give it a shot, so I enrolled in Make-Up Designory, a makeup school in SoHo, and things just took off from there.
So what was your first job after makeup school?
I was lucky enough to go on a makeup tour with Bare Escentuals right after I finished makeup school. I travelled for two years, doing makeovers for various events and clients across the U.S. It was such a great experience and I became close to the team that I was working with.
How long did you spend in each place?
It varied depending on the size of the city. For example, I spent three months each in San Francisco, Chicago and New York, but in smaller cities, we would only stay for a week or so. No matter where I was, I always loved venturing out to explore each city for myself.
What was your favorite destination on the tour?
It’s hard to choose just one destination because each city has its own unique personality. I guess if I had to choose just one, it would be Los Angeles.
Now that you’re based in New York, do you still travel a lot for work?
Well, I’m going to LA next week to work with a stylist out there, but most of my clientele are in New York. I’d love to travel more and work bicoastal because so many of my friends are in California.
As a freelancer, what has been the most exciting project that you’ve worked on?
Definitely going to Paris Fashion Week with Redken. I’ve worked with them for the past three seasons of New York and Paris Fashion Week, and each time I’ve been to Paris, it’s been absolutely amazing!
Did you do different makeup and hair looks each season?
No, not really. I was only working with one client, fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad, so we did a similar style every day. Although I sometimes experimented with a little color, I mainly gave her flawless and glowing skin with a cat eye because she loves the natural look.
There are so many creative and innovative bloggers nowadays. Is there anyone in particular on Instagram that you recommend following?
I love makeup artist Val Garland (@thevalgarland). She’s always posting very creative and beautiful makeup looks. Joyce Bonelli (@joycebonelli) is also really great. Her work is very perfect, with great contouring and structure. Joyce actually does the Kardashian’s makeup too.
You’re actually the first stylists I’ve spoken to that does both hair and makeup. Which do you do more of: hair or makeup?
Makeup is my specialty, but people often want hair and makeup together, so I do the occasional blowout and some up-dos.
What is the most unusual makeup look you’ve ever done?
A couple of weeks ago, I made an upside down cross of little black beads on a model’s face for a photo shoot. It took about an hour to put all the beads in place using spirit gum, but the final result was fantastic. The model was bald, so her makeup really stood out.
If you were going on vacation and could only bring three beauty products with you, what would you bring?
Red lipstick, mascara and tinted moisturizer. To be honest, those are the only three products that I tend to wear on a day-to-day basis because I don’t really like to wear makeup; I’d rather do other people!
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I love being able to work with different people every day on different projects. It’s also so much fun to make people look and feel good about themselves!