Deborah Altzio, Celebrity Makeup Artist: A tFS Exclusive Interview

We caught up with Deborah, who told the Fashion Spot about her amazing career, and which celebrities she’s enjoyed working with the most.

The Fashion Spot: How did you get into doing make-up?

Deborah Altizio: I was a child artist. I discovered I had a talent for painting and drawing.  I won a lot of art contests, and painted on a lot of new furniture around the house, which I got spanked for! I decided to take that talent and work with faces as my canvas. There is a joy in making women look and feel beautiful.

tFS: You grew up in Argentina. What prompted you to make your way to New York?

DA: Ah, well my older sister Blanca contracted Polio in Argentina before they had the vaccine. It was my parents’ choice to move – I was very young. The doctors in the U.S. were more experienced, so we packed up and made our way to America for help. Through countless operations, they were able to save her leg. The art and culture of Argentina has always been a major influence on my aesthetic, however.

tFS: What was your first big job?

DA: An all-expense-paid trip to Jamaica for a beauty calendar with sexy girls in swimsuits…a beautiful location, and a great crew. What can I say – I got lucky! Also, working backstage with Bobbi Brown during fashion week. She was doing all the shows at that time. I was very excited to work with her.

tFS: How did you get to work with photographers like Arthur Elgort and David LaChappelle? Was it through your agency, Exclusive Artists Management?

DA: Well, I am no longer with Exclusive. It was through my agent, Jesse Gomez, who was extremely talented.  He’s left the business, but he was with Artmix at the time, and booked me with an artist by the name of John Mayer. I did not even know who that was! That was about eight years ago. From that day on, John has requested me for all his work in NY. John was shooting with David LaChapelle for the cover of Rolling Stone. Working with David was cool. I felt like I was at a party. He had a DJ on set, and lots of assistants helping him create the set design – a tub full of overflowing water, made from scratch! Arthur Elgort was for a job with the NYC Ballet. That was actually a random call that came in. I think they knew I was a ballet dancer, too. Arthur was very modest.

tFS: You’ve worked with so many celebrities! Do you have any favorite stories?

DA: Yes, I have. My favorite story is when Joss Stone walked off the set of a magazine shoot because they wanted to use their people for make-up, and not hers. She fought for us and said "See ya later, I have somewhere else to be" and took us with her to her next shoot. It was great, because there is a constant battle between the celebs’ choice versus the magazine’s choice for hair and make-up.

tFS: What does the future have in store for you? Do you plan on launching a cosmetics line?

DA: Working with Dick Page and Tom Pecheux has inspired me to become an artistic director for an established make-up line. I think they are both so amazing, and I want to follow in their footsteps.

All photographs courtesy of Deborah Alitzio