April 30th 2010 – a day that shall shine in my memory forever. On that day I was lucky enough to go to The Wit — one of downtown Chicago’s chicest hotels — to meet a legendary makeup artist. Sam Fine. Artist to celebrities such as Iman, Tyra Banks, Mo’Nique, and Vanessa Williams. Author of Fine Beauty: Beauty Basics and Beyond for African American Women, and the man behind the phenomenal new DVD Fine: The Basics of Beauty.

It had already been a long day for him by early afternoon – when I arrived at the hotel he’d already done six interviews that day for various forms of media. When I showed up he was in the process of filming a segment for NBC 5 (with a reporter that seemed a bit irked that a blogger rolled up during her camera time, I might add. Let me tell y’all, it’s always interesting to see how old media deals with new media).

Despite the cameras, the ongoing interview, and the interviewer waiting in the wings – Mr. Fine remained so easy breezy, dapper, and comfortable on camera. Unflappable, professional and yes – the last name fits. Sam Fine is fine! And even though he is arguably one of the most famous makeup artists in the world, he remains down to earth, friendly, and funny when you meet him. I was nervous as hell as I headed to The Wit. Just a few moments in Sam’s presence, and I felt completely at ease. Our ensuing discussion was amazing. But of course, I may be biased. See for yourself.

I loved Sam’s insider perspective on the industry, and some of his views made me think about the issues addressed in the new documentary, “The Colour of Beauty.” The people behind the scenes who make the decisions about how beauty is depicted, make a direct impact on the industry’s level of diversity.

I didn’t get to ask Mr. Fine all the Twitter questions I’d recieved, or all the other makeup inspired questions I’d come up with – but he answered MANY of my questions the following day, during his demonstration at A Fine Day Of Beauty. Look out for a follow up post on that.

If you don’t follow Sam Fine on Twitter, you are missing out! And click here to get his DVD, Fine: The Basics of Beauty! The techniques I’ve learned from the DVD and from the presentation I witnessed, helped me step up my makeup game overnight!

What are your thoughts on the interview bellas?

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Purple says:
May 17, 2010, 10:23 am
Fabulous work, Afrobella! It's so great to see your passion shine through your work. Your impact is spreading far and wide.
sandra says:
May 17, 2010, 1:33 pm
Wow! I don't know where to begin and although bella I know you read the response posts and don't have time to react to all of them, I have to write this and only hope that someone reads my post and runs with it. First I want to thank Sam Fine for this interview. Everything I've seen him in is REAL. This man is so down to earth and real, it makes me cry. He is a fine role model because not only is he talented but he wants to extend his message to ALL folks. He's not star struck. I just love him. And bella this is by far the best interview you've done and I hope to see more of these inside features of people in the beauty industry. Now here is my response. I've been around a long time(over 50) and I've seen so many magazines and zines come and go. I'm concerned about the self image of our youth and our values, beliefs about our own view of ourselves. It sickens me that we are coming down a long stretch and waiting for online and offline magazines to present features on US. Now don't get me wrong, I appreciate Vogue IT, Essence, Ebony, Jet and others...but there is a missing market. I just wonder if when you go to the magazines racks if you feel the void of magazines with us on the front cover and in all the stories and the advertisements. It seems I have to look across a spectrum of magazines of different genres: sports, fashion, home, beauty, just to get a glimpse of life as a person of color. What I would like to see is a magazine which addresses self esteem issues by showing us (the external and the internal) in depth: In depth interviews of who we are and how we live.) This magazine would feature people like Sam Fine and all the people who he has worked with and some indepth interviews about their lives, struggles and accomplishments. The interviews would be the best of the best. The pictures would show people who look like real people. I think Sam Fine is on to something with his video and the focus of his life towards people of color. Bloggers you are doing a great job and I appreciate you all. But what would be grand is if some of the bloggers of color could come together with one great blog zine showcasing how folks of color live, eat, breathe, exercise, survive, beautify themselves and their environment with interviews to inspire us all. One of the reasons I love Afrobella is I can feel the vision, but I also know there is a tremendous amount of work to do so many things. My hope is that one blogger at a time does not fall off from exhaustion and then someone who is not a person of color captures the market and presents "our vision" which is what has happened over the years. So I challenge all you commenters, bloggers, writers, laid off journalists, copywriters, advertising agents to bring all these skills and aptitudes under one umbrella and present a vision for our people of color which is multi demensional and has depth. Don't wait for one magazine to do it; let's move on to express the global image for our people which emphasizes the positive and collective growth and understanding for ALL of us. As an aside, and to their credit there is one new magazine which is doing a great job. I'm not a paid agent for them; but just want to share the following resource: do a google for ARISE magazine and check out the offline version as well. But there is room for many more magazines. Lately there has been controversy over the Vogue IT because some feel that the delineation of Curvy and Black in separate categories isn't appropriate. Perhaps this discussion could be a catalyst for us to come up with a powerful presence of all of our people and how they live under one umbrella. In sum, there are many other folks like Sam Fine out there, which we havent' heard about or people like him trying to penetrate the beauty industry and it will be up to the younger folks to carve out a space where we can hear the voices of all of these people. Thank you bella for this interview and I'm hoping that these interviews will grow and become a library of interviews where we can hear and learn about ourselves. For those who took the time to read this post, I thank you and I hope you are one of those who will start the building of something big!
Tiffany says:
May 17, 2010, 7:50 pm
Great interview afrobella. and @ Sandra I have a blog that showcases women of all races feel free to check it out. !
Kwana says:
May 17, 2010, 8:46 pm
What a wonderful interview. Thank you so much for sharing it. He is such a genius. I'm a true fan.
Vonmiwi says:
May 17, 2010, 11:31 pm
@Sandra I have to agree with you how I find so many women looking for validation through the media. I read so many blogs because there is something missing that I have yet to see in any fashion magazine and in all honesty while on my lunch break during one of my "dreamscapes," I thought about that magazine that caters to the diversity that represents us all. I'm not seeing it in the media that's out here now. I love what Arise magazine has done when they found a niche opening and went for it because so many of the magazines that we grew up with have become People Magazine in living color. I'm not celebrity obsessed and I can only deal with the celebrities as the ones we should emulate and model our lives after to only a millisecond because I'm too old for that. I watched Sam Fine work his magic at last years Essence Music Festival and I still have his first book which was written years ago. In earlier times you knew of him, Fran Cooper, Russ Barnes, Reggie Wells,and Roxanna Floyd who did so many Essence covers and editorials and they taught many of us the techniques that are still used today to achieve a flawless look. The only ones who can change our perception of beauty will be us and no one else. We've got to learn to love all that we've been blessed with in order to achieve any amount of self-love.
Nicole says:
May 18, 2010, 4:03 pm
Great interview Afrobella. You are really on top of your game, keep up the good work and next time charge that battery.
Rochelle aka @greenlightprjct says:
May 18, 2010, 4:46 pm
Wow! Great interview and responses/comments from Afrobella fans. I'll say to them that they are being heard. All that you ask is coming. From your fingers to God's ears!
Lee says:
May 18, 2010, 7:02 pm
Nice interview. He seems like a genuine and down to earth guy. It's nice to see someone who is nice as they are talented. Kudos.
2bnatural says:
May 18, 2010, 9:43 pm
I really enjoyed this. I appreciate that Sam Fine does not shy away from his opinions of prejudice or alienation of color in fashion and frequently speaks about it in interviews. Keep up the good work Bella and Mr Fine.
crystal g. says:
May 19, 2010, 2:06 am
I love how he's honest, blunt, and humble. He is a master in the game of makeup and his makeup tips are 'always' helpful. I enjoy all the interviews and articles i read on him.
Mishara says:
May 19, 2010, 3:19 pm
I have learned from and am so impressed by yet another one of your posts bella @sandra...i love the perspective you have offered! I will now check out ARISE
KeShaJo says:
May 19, 2010, 8:46 pm
You met Sam Fine????? I so envy you! =)Go Pat!
Caribbean Girl says:
May 19, 2010, 9:26 pm
oooh typing quickly!!! Bella you are so... I was about to say lucky, but I think blessed may be a better word!!! Thwi is so cool. Please, if you can, tell Mr. Fine that Amazon does not have his DVD in stock, so he needs to rectify this asap... I would love to purchase a copy. Also, I read that he is going to be in Trinidad on 13 June - can you please, please, go on an info hunt and post some more details, especially where one can get tickkets?