If you're in Florida this weekend, you might want to check out The Makeup Show Miami, a two-day event featuring all the makeup know-how you could imagine. I recently talked with lead makeup artist James Vincent, who created a beautiful face for the event. He has worked with celebrities including Liv Tyler and Jordin Sparks (pictured), he's created looks for designers such as Christopher Deane, and he even created his own makeup line, Pretty Pretty. (Also, he has some bad-ass tattoos.) Read on to find out about the weekend ahead and his unusual path to becoming a makeup artist.

What inspired you to create this makeup look for the show?
It was Miami's art-deco history and love for color and texture. And definitely the weather and the influence of so many different cultures on Miami. From the beginning of US history, Florida has always had a rich influence from Latin cultures, and I think Miami still has that today.

Who can wear the show's look?
Anybody! Everything that I do and everything we do at [event planner] The Powder Group is for all races, and it's important to me personally because so many of my clients are women of color. Regardless of your skin tone, you should be able to wear the look that you're seeing.

To find out about James's unusual path to makeup artistry, and to get details for re-creating the Miami at home,


So what will you be doing when you're at the show?
The show is a way for makeup artists and people who are interested in makeup to see what's happening with makeup lines, what they're showing next to get to meet the people who own the makeup lines. And it's a chance to participate in forums about things going on in the industry, to look at educating themselves, and to see what's coming next. We have workshops, everything from makeup for women of color to airbrushing to bridal makeup to special effects. It's a really amazing way to get information, and we try to create an atmosphere of community and education for makeup artists and people who are interested.

You concentrated in women's studies at Brown University. How did you make the transition into makeup artistry?
I started with makeup because we started a camp when I was in college for children with HIV. Then after starting the camp, the Body Shop started a camp for children with HIV in England, and they hired me to do some program development. Then I worked in the store and started looking at how the industry really can affect and empower women. Makeup doesn't have to play up women's insecurities; it can really be a tool to make people feel better about themselves. Then I moved to Atlanta to write my thesis and MAC hired me. MAC at the time was so amazing because it was all races, it was all sexes, it was something that worked on everyone.

From there I just continued. I never went back to social work, unfortunately — although I say I do more counseling now! So that's how I got started, and throughout my career I've always tried to keep my belief system in my makeup. I don't shoot with magazines or companies that I feel exploit women. Everybody that I work for and everyone I work with has to have my belief system or it doesn't really work.

Here's how to get the look, courtesy of The Makeup Show Miami:

Face: James starts the look with a bronze base of Solar Glow by Temptu New York applied with a design’s Perfect Face Shader brush to smooth the liquid bronzer seamlessly into the skin to create a glow from within.

Eyes: For the eyes, the soul of South Beach is expressed through the suntan metallics of Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics’ Miami Loose Color Concentrate and Face Atelier’s Ultra Bronzer in Cognac. Onyx and Indigo Eye Accent Pencils by Pencil Me In add just the right amount of sensuality, and a quick smudge of the pencil along the lash line and inner rim gives a sophisticated smolder to the look. For a final touch for the eyes, James adds Three Custom Color’s Peacock Eye Shadow at the inner corner of the eye and along the lash line using Crown Brush’s unique Small Chisel Brush.

Lips and cheeks: For the lip and cheek color, James worked with Three Custom Color to create Poppy Lip and Cheek Stain, the perfect new coral, which he used on both the apple of the cheek and as the lip color. To complete the look, a touch of Face Atelier’s Ultra Bronzer in Cognac was added at the top of the cheekbone, and a combination of Diva’s Peach and Bling Diva Glosses from Big Girl Cosmetics were layered on the lip.