This is the first official Get to Know here on BetsyElisa.com. To kick start the journey, our first chat is with the amazing Elisa Tallerico, who makes up half of the founding team at Betsy Elisa.
So Elisa, our first question is, what prompted you to begin a career in the make up industry?
I’ve always loved makeup; I remember watching my Mom and Aunt getting ready to go out, and studying their beauty rituals. I remember buying my first wet n’ wild eye liner as a teen. There’s always been something magical in how make up makes a woman feel. I saw that magic, and I wanted to be a part of it in every way that I could.
Becoming a make up artist and making a successful career out of it seemed unattainable when I was in high school. I’d never met anyone that was a professional makeup artist and I didn’t know this could be a career choice. But in 1991, Allure Magazine had it’s debut, and for the month of June, Linda Evangelista was on the cover. I could stare at that cover for hours, she was so stunning and her makeup was flawless. When I opened the magazine, the inner cover read “Make Up by Kevyn Aucoin”. In that moment I knew a career was out there, and it was up to me to go and get it.
So with all of that in mind, how did you start to move forward with that dream?
I ended up dropping out of college, enrolling in beauty school getting my cosmetology license and moving into Manhattan. My first day working in a salon, I met Kristi Fuhrman. It was also her first day at that salon. We both wanted to be makeup artists, and had already begun introducing ourselves as such.
In reality, I was washing hair and she was doing haircuts, but in our hearts we were already what we wanted to be. That’s one thing I’ve learned, that when you believe something it comes to you…whether that be something positive or negative. Your thoughts truly do create your future.
Beauty school didn’t teach me much about make up, which I remember being frustrated about. So I practiced and practiced some more. I did looks on friends, family, any face that I could find. That practice gave me confidence as an artist.
When when was your first big break?
Kristi left for a few months during our time at the salon to further her education at Joe Blasco in Fort Lauderdale. It’s one of the top makeup school to learn special effects, as well as beauty. I remember wanting to go with her but at the time I simply couldn’t afford it. She would call me to tell me what she had learned that day and we would talk for hours. When she returned she continued at the salon, and one of her clients turned out to be a producer that worked for MTV. He hired Kristi and I for our first freelance job, doing make up for a pilot called “The State”, a comedy sketch show. The pilot got picked up and we worked on it and then a spin off called Viva Variety.
From there, we slowly we built up our freelance work, which wasn’t easy. I worked graveyard shifts at Empire Diner so I could pay the bills and be available during the days to take those freelance jobs. Kristi had picked up some days at MTV studio in addition to working at the salon cutting hair. She got me my first gig at the actual MTV studio, and on my first day I was asked to do make up on a new girl group named “Destiny’s Child”. Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland were the two girls that I was assigned to get camera ready that day. I think about that 18 years later and laugh. Who knew?!
Eventually, Kristi became the head of hair/makeup at MTV. She got me a job as the key makeup artist for remote shoots at the MTV Beachhouse. We traveled to the Bahamas where Kristi and the TRL team helped with the launch of the Beachhouse. Then she returned to the studio at Times Square to continue taping the daily live show Total Request Live (TRL), while I stayed in the Bahamas on assignment.
(Launch of Summer at MTV Beachhouse)
(Kristi Fuhrman in the middle at MTV Beachhouse)
(Elisa hiding behind Singer Tyrese)
This was the summer of 1998, and it was only the beginning. In the years after, we traveled to work on MTV Spring Breaks, VMA’s and more. I was on my way to becoming the person I’d always imagined myself being, and I began developing all of the skills and tricks that I’ll be sharing with you all in part two of this series!
Kristi Fuhrman is currently living in Los Angeles, and has continued to work with MTV, as well as on notable shows such as Americal Idol, Dancing with the Stars, and Celebrity Client Carson Daly on The Voice. See her work at www.kristibeauty.com.
Stay tuned for Part Two of Getting to Know: Elisa Tallerico! Any questions for her? Leave a comment below and let us know!