How Makeup Artist Romero Jennings Preps For NYFW

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It’s days before the AW24 season in New York and Romero Jennings, the legendary Jamaican makeup artist and director of makeup artistry at MAC is editing his makeup kit to keep up with the latest trends. “My makeup kit is the most important item,” Jennings tells ESSENCE. “It is time consuming to keep it organized and well stocked, [so] I have been prepping for months to get ready for fashion week,” where you can find him backstage working his magic at Kim Shui and Prabal Gurung again this season.

The over-30-year beauty veteran is behind the makeup for some of the most well-known fashion shows in the city, with press crowding around to hear his beauty techniques before models hit the runways. If he’s not researching beauty trends (think: the popular doll-like look) or checking his personal beauty archives, then he’s de-potting new products– like the MACximal lipstick and MAC Pro Chromacake– and sanitizing his kit for the week ahead.

Running to and from shows, his beauty bag is swinging with secrets and prepped to brush, dab, and line the faces of model after model. “I always stock my backstage beauty bag with key products for tweaking the makeup look, and powders and concealers for multiple skin tones,” he says. These are on hand next to his must-have drugstore items like lip conditioner, Q-tips, disposable wands, tissues, lighting and sharpeners. Oh! and Jennings cannot forget the basics, like neutral and black liner pencils, and clear brow gel. 

Expected to execute trending looks under strict time restraints, the “lingering feeling of anxiety due to lack of time” is shared backstage. “It’s an exhausting few weeks,” he says, attending back-to-back fashion weeks in London, Milan, and Paris. But “I am also incredibly grateful for the creative community that surrounds me,” he continues. “I can’t wait to travel and meet my global fashion colleagues and family and learn from them too.”  

During the busy week of making up the models, the “feeling of belonging to a global creative community,” is Jennings’ favorite part of NYFW. From working with designers, hair stylists, and nail artists, to backstage press interviews and rehearsal lighting tests (which is a must for last minute tweaks), fashion month is equal-parts beauty month– and we’re all at the edge of our seats filled with anticipation. 

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