Niagara Gazette

July 15, 2013

Local makeup artist is making it up as she goes

By Michele DeLuca michele.deluca@niagara-gazette.com
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — To listen to Stepanie Signorelli tell it, her rise from a beauty school student to the catwalks of Fasion Week in New York City happened in a blink of an eye.

Certainly she admits to some really lucky breaks, especially when she asked a question from the front row of a makeup seminar given by a leader in the industry, which opened the doors to her to assist some of the top artists in the industry.

But, to Signorelli, the route has taken a lot of hard work, and her successes have resulted in the opening this spring of her own business, a stylish boutique called “The Makeup Parlour” at 10158 Niagara Falls Blvd., near the Niagara Falls International Airport.

“I’ve been looking for a place for years,” said the 1998 LaSalle High School graduate who remembers how, while she was struggling back in high school to find a career path, her bedroom was always filled with friends who wanted her to do their hair and makeup.

It is makeup that is her true love, she says, and her skills showed themselves early when, at age 16, she traveled makeup counters throughout the region with her mom, Debbie Signorelli, a representative for Yves Saint Laurent. One day she started putting makeup on customers. That led to a position when she turned 18.

“That’s when I fell in love with skin care,” she said recently during an interview in her new boutique. 

She became a certified esthetician and moved to Las Vegas where she got a job with Sephora. She believes that the makeup company changed the retail makeup game, providing educational seminars every day. 

“I just soaked it up. I loved it,” she said of the product knowledge she gained.

It was during a workshop with celebrated makeup artist Charlie Green that Stephanie raised her hand and asked about how to break into the business. Green told her to call a certain agent and the agent gave her advice to start doing weddings and to get her photo book resume into better shape. About a year later, in 2011 she went back to the agent and the agent gave her her first shot at assisting.

The next thing she knew she was applying makeup to LaCoste models for the spring Fashion Week show, working with a famed makeup artist from Paris, Mayia Alleaume.  

“My first show was at Lincoln Center. I was petrified,” she said, adding that afterwards, she was exhilerated. “I thought to myself, I want to do this everyday.”

And now, she does. 

At the Makup Parlour, along with makeup services by herself and several associates, she provides facials, eyelash extensions and a natural spray tan from a system getting a lot of attention in Hollywood. She provides the service in an open tanning area created by her father, John Signorelli of Signorelli Electric Construction. While the tan spray costs about half of Hollywood prices, she said, “I want them to come to me because they want the best tan, not the cheapest.” 

Kayla Marcantonio, 19, of Niagara Falls, a body builder and Buffalo Athletic Club employee, stepped from the booth recently looking as if she’d spent a day at the beach. Maracantonio said she’d been spray tanned by Signorelli for a wedding recently and “it was very even. I wasn’t even sticky and it lasted a long time, about six or seven days.”

While Signorelli goes to New York once or twice a month to work as an assistant to Green, a Britain who is still considered one of the top makeup artists in the industry, the bulk of her work these days is with local bridal parties and special events. 

Khristen Rodgers of Niagara Falls had Signorelli do her makeup on the day she married Niagara Falls Police Officer Tommy Rodgers. She was also in two other wedding parties that Stepanhie and her staff did makeup for.

“She takes a lot of time,” Rodgers said of Signorelli, adding “and the makeup stays on all day. I got tons of compliments.” 

With LeMiex Skin Products and Sienna Cosmetics coming soon, she said she plans to offer the best international products and services in the industry she can find for her clients from the Niagara region.

For Signorelli, applying makeup is its own form of artistry. 

“At the end of the day it’s about making a woman look her best for the camera or in person,” she said, and her success on the runway is giving her the confidence to know that she can do that. 

“I’ve been so blessed to get this nitch,” she added. 

IF YOU GO • WHAT: The Makeup Parlour • WHERE: 10158 Suite 2 Niagara Falls Blvd. • FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.themakeupparlour.com or call 609-0627.