Enjoying a serene little piece of Tokyo in bustling New York is MAC director for makeup artistry Romero Jennings. The artist tends to his colorful floral garden and koi pond in his New York home on his off days, just as meticulously as he does the eyes of international celebrities.
From handmade gold brows to electric-blue paper lashes, his style reflects the heavy influence of Japanese tradition and culture, having lived in Tokyo for five years.
The Jamaica-born New Yorker studied at Fashion Institute of Technology. He then moved to Tokyo for a fashion apprenticeship and pursued a career in makeup.
With MAC for 23 years now, he serves as the key makeup artist for many high-profile events such as the New York, Milan and Paris fashion weeks. He’s also worked with many international celebrities, among them Mary J. Blige, Naomi Campbell and Dita Von Teese —all bearing his signature style on their eyes.
“Being able to work on someone’s eyes is very personal. Eyes can give you strength or vulnerability, that is why I enjoy working on them,” says Jennings.
While in Manila, he takes us through four of his new innovative looks for the recent New York Fashion Week.
For Spring-Summer makeup, the focus would be on… four major trends: enlightened, a futuristic vision of purity, expressed through the skin’s luminosity and gloss; review (which is about) black liner and dark lashes that create a bold statement; free party, a sun-bleached festival of energetic colors and splashes of glitter and sparkle; and no makeup, which brings an authentic look that is pure, bare and warmed by the sun.
Makeup this season is… fun and painterly. We’ve had the no-makeup trend for many seasons; now we are seeing a play of colors but not neon colors.
The first MAC product I fell in love with… was the endless array of eye shadows. There were many textures and colors like Saddle and Chrome Yellow. Since I was born in a tropical country, color is life for me.
My most memorable job experience was… securing the cover of Harper’s Bazaar Latin America just a few months ago with supermodel Coco Rocha.
Makeup allows me to… be creative and inspired. Finding beauty everywhere I look is never a challenge for me.
My inspiration for creativity always comes from… nature and technology. I always enjoy looking at organic shapes and colors in nature. High-tech objects, art and architecture also inspire me, especially when they are ultramodern and futuristic.
The most important tool… that I use for my work has to be my mind.
The looks my celeb clients are into right now are… what they see on the runway—super clean, fresh highlighted skin with defined features and complementary colors.
The most common mistake women make with their makeup is… just too much at once. I recommend taking the time the night before to plan an outfit and then come up with a makeup game plan, so that when you’re rushing out the next day, you are thinking of the entire look. If you’re not sure then, take a selfie and enlarge the image on your phone screen to see details. If you feel it’s too much, then it probably is.
My gotta-have-it products for Spring-Summer are… Match Master Concealer for flawless, lasting coverage (great for humid climates like the Philippine summer); Studio Sculpt Defining Powder for the perfect satin summer skin that appears to be sun-kissed and radiant; Studio Sculpt Defining Mascara with its revolutionary comb that separates and defines each individual lash to perfection.
My favorite, easy go-to makeup trick to add impact to your look is… a lash curler and two good coats of mascara (Studio Sculpt Mascara), which can wake up sleepy eyes, and add a crisp, fresh definition, framing the eye and enhancing color.
My all-time favorite MAC Lipstick shades are… Viva Glam (all shades because it’s a fabulous lipstick line and for a great cause), Russian Red, Ruby Woo, Siss, Violetta, Giddy and Candy Yum Yum, a favorite everyday color of my over-70-year-old mom.
What I like particularly about MAC products is… they perform exceptionally well. They are long-lasting and buildable. Many are highly pigmented, and a little goes a long way. I love the dreamy, inspirational lip and eye shades.
Behind the scenes
Jennings shares on his Instagram account, @romerojennings, behind-the-scenes shots from his pictorials for high-fashion editorials. His choice products are available in MAC boutiques nationwide.
Top tip: Nude, organic, natural, easy and effortless are the words that sum up Jennings’ trend forecast for Spring-Summer. Smooth out under-eye puffiness and fine lines before attempting to put makeup. Benefit Puff Off! eye gel is designed to blur away lines instantly, de-puff as well as cool on contact. This lightweight gel works on bare skin or over makeup. It is like a cup of espresso for your eyes. Keep it nearby, and never look tired again.