Beauty Convos with Gad Cohen: How Do I Get My Mojo Back?

As I’ve begun to settle into my ‘new-normal” state during this Covid era, I’m able to stop and take stock a bit.  The first few months I was working at a frenetic pace trying to manage increasing work, kids and home needs.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful that my family is healthy, I’m still gainfully employed and that the weather has been warm enough that I can get outside one a while.  But as I settle into my new routine, I’ve started bumming on the new beauty reality of social distancing.   How can I express my me-ness?  Can I share the part of me that’s associated with how I look and show up, my sense of fashion and beauty?  If my life consists of presenting on do I do that well?

Oh, yeah, what do I do when I have to give a speech at a “virtual” conference next month?  You see when I present, I see it as a performance of sorts.  Of course my content is the most important part of the experience.  But for my information to resonate, I do a lot to make it entertaining — including how I come across on stage.  I use videos, jokes and gestures to make my points.  And I try to present an image — one of intelligence, fun, AND glamour.  So what happens now that I’m relegated to giving a speech on a tiny screen?

Who do I turn to for some advice (and commiseration) on this topic?  My close friend and beauty stylist to the stars, Gad Cohen.   His response?  First, he totally sympathizes.  “We need responses from other ppl…that’s natural. We get dressed up for work and look for a reaction of some sort. And now we  don’t have that ‘audience’ anymore.”

Then we moved beyond the moping and when into solution-mode.  “We have to be creative in our confinement,” said Gad.  In addition to all the typical tricks we’ve been reading, e.g., make sure your background looks nice, ensure your sound works, or don’t just wear your PJ’s all day, Gad gave us some new tips.  Here are some:

1. It’s not enough to have a great background, but change it up!  It not only refreshes you but the folks that you tend to chat with virtually too.

2. Watch other ppl … you see what’s good and what’s not so good.

3. Think of your appearance on the computer camera like you would a portrait..only its a LIVE portrait.  Consider the framing, the composition and the lighting   Natural light is the most even.  Don’t get too close to the camera.  Make sure your heads and shoulders are in frame.  And sit at the right angle.  Maybe face on isn’t the best but at a slight tilt or angle changes everything

4. Be smart about hair and make up — you don’t want to look too done up.  “As long as we look fresh — fresh is the keyword — don’t look like you just got out of bed..a day time look.  Look polished.  Polish is key.  Add a little lipstick.  Give hair volume — freshly washed, blown out, velcro rollers.  Never ever cut it!”

And now I’m adding something:

 5.  Have fun with wigs and head scarves!  I never thought about this myself until I had a virtual birthday bash a few weeks ago and my friend came on the camera wearing a fun wig.  Instead of  panicking about your hair color, just dress up in a wig or scarf.  I ended up wearing a blonde pixie wig and then went online right after and bought myself a bright red wig for the next cocktail hour we have.

Yes, we may not be able to totally express our fashion sense or head to toe beauty during this era, but that doesn’t mean we can’t express it in different and even more creative ways.  And the even better news is that when things start to return, we will have the tips and tricks to make even the simple call as beautiful as possible!

For for the full video of our convo, check below:

Weekend Observation: Finally, My Photos From the Photoshoot

If you’ve been a follower of Beautyskew for a while, you probably recall that I experienced a transformative experience: my own personal photo shoot.  While a number of the pics from the shoot have made their way into my various social media profiles over the past few months, I haven’t actually done a “big reveal” until now.

Why a photo shoot?  I realized last year that it’s not enough to have great content to share with the world.  I needed to put a “face” to that content.  So some new awesome shots were in order.  But I wasn’t going to rely on my husband or mom for some homey pics.  Nooooo.  I needed to go professional.  And the right “image” was critical too, e.g., not too corporate, but not too coy or cute either.  Luckily, I had a friend of a friend (photographer extraordinaire, Stephen Sullivan) willing to do some for free!

Why has it take me so long to post my pics?  First of all, I took over 1000 shots.  That’s a hellava lot of pics to agonize over.  Second of all, some of the pics weren’t quite appropriate for all eyes (if you catch my drift), though I’ll include some of the less nasty ones anyway … heee, heee.

Finally, SO many of the pics just downright sucked.  I’m not being overly judgmental either.  Sure, I’m going to be more sensitive than anyone to my pics, but still there were a ton of hideous ones.  And these shots aren’t a reflection of my photographer either.  But, as a recent story about photography points out, camera angles can MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE. (“The camera does lie: proof that a lens can be the difference between pretty and pretty ugly“)  As the article points out: “Depending on the lens’ focal length, the image will deform and affect how the image looks in photos.”

But as I also learned (and wrote about in another post (Can I Really look Hot In Pictures?), being comfortable or uncomfortable in one’s own skin can change the quality of the shots more than anything.

But, there were still a lot of great shots too.  After becoming more at ease with myself, after my photographer got used to my best angles, and after we figured out the best hairstyles and make-up, we hit our stride.

The following slide show gives you a taste of the absolute horrendous as well as a number of my faves.  The first 5 are the sucky ones, and and the rest are a variety of the goodies (please keep in mind these aren’t adjusted for color/saturation etc, in other words, not photo shopped).




Am I totally satisfied?  Sure, I think there’s some room for improvement.  But at least I have a better sense of what I can do better (e.g., relax), how to use the camera better and how to do my hair and make-up better.  At the very least, I have some instant comic relief. 🙂

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