Saturday, January 26, 2008
Debate lipstick?
Editor's note: Makeup artist Kriss Soterion's been getting some national attention for her work. We asked her to blog about her time with the candidates.

Yup that's right. More than any previous election all eyes are on the lipstick because a women is in the mix.

I couldn't be a happier makeup artist, celebrating my 20th year painting faces! I will never forget the first time I powdered her face (Senator Clinton that is!) at the National Democratic Convention in Boston in '04. She was already made up and just needed a little blotting... I looked into her beautiful blue eyes and dreamed that one day I would have a chance to work my full magic on her.

On June 3, I got my chance using my special techniques, and my own product line, that make women look younger, brighter and more lifted. I went with my intuition that night and custom blended a special lipstick for her, it was not her usual red. After much positive press and interest in "what I did to her that night" I formulated "debate" lipstick, the exact mix (which my beloved CNN crew/woman love to wear).

After last week's Los Angeles Times spread in the style section, a segment on Inside Edition, radio and assorted national press, women all over the country are beginning to wear it too. A portion of proceeds are blessing New Life Home for Women in Manchester, N.H., a women's shelter that is dear to my heart.

As CNN's freelance makeup artist for special events, I have been in a unique situation to makeup up all the candidates for all the debates across the country. I have seen them strive, endure and evolve from behind the scenes, a place where very few venture.

I have the opportunity to touch them with the stroke of my brush, the warmth of my smile, a prayer and a nod for confidence. I connect with them eye to eye. We giggle, meditate, prepare. They are all extraordinary, each and every one of them.

During the debate I sit back stage and watch the monitor, where there is never any sound, and quietly study their faces, waiting for sweat or shine, or a need for more lipstick!

-- Kriss Soterion, CNN Makeup artist

Program note: Anderson Cooper moderates when the Republican candidates for President debate Wednesday, January 30 at 8p ET on CNN.
Posted By CNN: 11:06 AM ET
Dear Kriss,

Thank you for your extremely interesting blog this morning! I studied fine art, specializing in portraiture and the human body so this type of thing is of special interest to me. I always felt that makeup, like art, could be a very intimate experience between the artist and the subject.

I loved the way you described your experience with the candidates, in particular Hillary Clinton. I am sure your experience with them is quite unique because it is intimate and they are putting a certain amount of trust in you.

How do you train to become a makeup artist of your caliber? I have often thought how exciting and challenging the work of a TV makeup artist must be, forced to constantly adjust your work to a particular face and, or venue.

Something tells me it isn't just the women who need to look younger, brighter, and more lifted!

I would be interested in hearing more about your work.

Can you tell us where we might purchase your debate lipstick?

Have a great weekend!
Jo Ann
North Royalton, Ohio
Posted By Blogger Jo Ann : 12:03 PM ET
Hi Kriss!
What a fasinating job you have!
I have to say that I am intrigued.
Do you sell your formulas?
I'll take a couple of the debate lipsticks please~
Every girl needs at least one tube of that.

Betty Ann
Posted By Blogger Betty Ann : 12:26 PM ET
WOW! Makeup artist to the stars. That's HOT. Very much so. So, you're the one we should compliment (or complain) when a hair is out of place or there's too much, or too little, makeup. Just kidding. What a fascinating job. Remember what they say: "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig." Happy entertaining days to you, Kriss.

Portland, Oregon
Posted By Blogger Lewis : 2:21 PM ET

I've been wondering who does the candidates' make-up and now I know. You are very talented and do a terrific job. Congratulations and thanks for your interesting post. Thanks also for the link to the L.A. Times article.
Posted By Blogger Barbara in Culver City, CA : 10:38 PM ET
I understand that this is your job and your passion, however, when looking at the bigger picture, how relevant is a lipstick color? I understand that all candidates need to look a certain way for the camera and public eye, most people don't want to see a candidate who is washed out and tired looking, but does makeup magic really play that big of a role? It reminds me of a few year back when the media was discussing how Martha Stewart's choice of color for her court wardrobe could make or break her... were they suggesting that the American Justice system would let a guilty woman go free because she chose to wear mauve instead of fuschia? The same goes for politics, are we such a self absorbed and vain society that we would take a candidate more seriously based on the color of her lips? Would we think her words more pleasing if the mouth delivering them were painted pretty? Like I said, I understand that this is your job, your passion and I'm glad you are on of the few Americans that can go to work every morning and sincerely love what you do, I wish I could be so blessed! But still...I just don't get why this makeup thing seems to be so important to so many and I wonder if perhaps we should all start listening to the debates blindfolded.
Posted By Anonymous Naomi Mac Millan,24, Long Island, NY : 1:25 PM ET
Great read lipstick is hard to find (even in nice department stores). I've been on the hunt since I was 14. So really, where is a link to buy this?

You know, even the founding fathers were made up. They wore wigs and had wooden teeth. So, making up presidential candidates is just carrying on history. It's pretty cool that you got to create your own making up the first female to attempt to win the Oval Office. I think for many of us there are days when our stylists and manicurists are the only people who can help us get centered in the midst of life's dramas and stresses. What you do for these candidates and reporters is huge beyond the makeup. That's just awesome in and of itself.
Posted By Anonymous Tammy, Berwick, LA : 6:36 PM ET

How refreshing and different!! I'm another who wants to know what the "debate" lipstick you use is!! I'd like to buy it for my next blind date!! Talk about hot air!! Talk about a debate!! Do tell!!

Laurie lol ;)
Posted By Anonymous Laurie, Wheeling, WV : 10:10 PM ET
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