She wears her pale skin bare on this rainy afternoon after class. Cotton-candy pink streaks run through her white-blonde hair. Earrings dangle from the gages that form sizable holes in each of her ears: one a machine-gun, the other, a revolver. Her four facial piercings add enough sparkle to evoke her alter ego: Miss Marie Massacre, a sort of gothic pin-up girl who covers herself in her creativeness.
Think Marilyn Monroe meets Kat Von D of LA Ink. How many tattoos does Miss Massacre have? “I don’t count them,” she says, laughing. “One,” she says, pointing to the turquoise and purple cupcake, encircled by the words “bitter” and “sweet,” tattooed on the inside of her left forearm. “Two,” she says, pointing to the bat on the opposite forearm. She counts, pointing to various spots on her upper body covered by her vintage T-shirt and black straight-leg jeans.
“Probably seven or eight,” she concluded.
Miss Marie Massacre, also known as Stephanie Aviles, a senior public relations major at Syracuse University, from San German, Puerto Rico, drives Makeup Massacre, a freelance and mainly avant-garde makeup service.
The self-taught makeup artist approaches graduation with plenty of experience, some directly related to her major, like her internship in media relations at Andon Artists, a music management firm, in addition to an array of others.
She spent the summer working as a receptionist at a tattoo parlor in the lower east side of New York City. She also interned at the New York City branch of Mute Records, an independent record label based in the U.K., and is a former editor and creative director of Jerk Magazine, a campus publication. And she has worked as a freelance makeup artist for the past two years.
Aviles’ mixed experience fits her personality. She hopes to avoid that typical nine-to-five desk job. It has to be something she loves. “If my heart isn't it then I'll be mediocre and it's not worth it.”
And her work for Makeup Massacre reveals her passion for makeup artistry. Aviles applied runway makeup on models for Esther Siegel, now a freelance fashion designer in New York City, for her senior fashion show at SU. in 2008. Siegel wanted a certain John Galliano look from a Dior Couture show. Siegel describes the look as “drag queen makeup with high eyebrows, and globs of golden tones of eye shadow.” Aviles’ created an exaggerated eye that complimented Siegel’s avant-garde costume collection.
“Working with her was fantabulous,” Siegel says, “She totally did what I asked for and more.”
One of Aviles’ favorite projects brought her to Buffalo, N.Y., where she worked on the first issue of Auxiliary Magazine. It gave her a chance to work with one of her favorite alternative models, Sharon TK. Aviles matched the bright redhead’s hair with bright red lips for the cover.
Sharon TK has modeled for nearly 30 designers, with names including Vicious Dolls, Lady Lucy Latex and Vintage Opulence, according to her profile on ModelMayhem.com, a portfolio networking website for models, photographers, makeup artists and other industry professionals. Aviles booked the Auxiliary Magazine job through Model Mayhem, where she has a profile as both a makeup artist and model.
Aviles’ interest in makeup started in high school, where she did theater and was inspired by the theatrical makeup. She experimented with her own makeup, learning techniques and colors. She finds inspiration in other artists and their work and often looks on the Internet for ideas.
“When you’re interested in something you always look for it,” she says. Aviles prefers high-fashion unconventional makeup. “I’m not interested in doing strict beauty makeup. Although I can do it, I’m not excited about it,” she says. She prefers to work with a concept for her avant-garde creations.
In one concept project, Aviles stuck candy on the models’ faces. One image zooms in on half of the model’s face. Her aqua blue eyebrow extends to a smudge of pink sugar crystals and sprinkle balls, large and small, white, pink, yellow and green on her cheekbone. A set of fluffy, purple false eyelashes blends into a white highlight outlining the inner corner of her eye. Her cheeks remain bare and pale. “I’m really into incorporating other things into it rather than just strictly makeup,” she says.
Although unsure of what she wants to focus on after graduating, Aviles hopes to do makeup at a professional level. “When the prospect of graduation comes up, I can’t help but doubt everything and freak out a little. But I think that happens to everybody though,” she says.
She considers the possibility of attending beauty school at Makeup Designory in New York City. With a less-than-focused history of creative experience, Aviles hopes her skills will prove useful in a variety of things. “I try to be optimistic about everything.”