MUAmazing: Interview with Marcello Costa
If you’ve seen a fashion show, awards show, or flipped through an editorial spread in a major fashion magazine, chances are you know the work of Marcello Costa and his super-talented team already. After all, Marcello by Marcello Costa is one of fashion and entertainment’s biggest and most high-profile hair and makeup ensembles. Born and raised in Brazil, founder Marcello Costa came to the USA 13 years ago, where he studied, improved his skills, and took classes at companies like L’Oreal in France, Redken, Wella, Paul Mitchell, and learned special effects and character makeup at the New York University and MUD. Now he’s based in New York, Milan, and Paris.
Marcello works with well-known fashion houses, at red carpets, celebrities, and cinema, as well as being a fashion correspondent for Telemundo NYC and TV Azteca. He regularly works the Oscars, Grammys, Golden Globes and the Cannes Festival in Europe.
He works the Oscars, Grammys, Golden Globes, and Cannes Festival
One of his specialties is working with ethnic/black hair, enabling contact in jobs with famous personalities such as Stevie Wonder, Angela Basset, Terri McMillan, Oprah Winfrey, Alfred Woodard, Brandy and Queen Latifah. Among countless personalities of the music world, he’s been part of beauty teams of stars like Nick Minaj, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carrey and many other global icons of music, cinema and fashion. He has had his works published in magazines such as Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitan, O Magazine, Chinese Femina, Essence Magazine, and others.
Marcello Costa is very sought after in the fashion world as well, assisting in beauty teams for the stars like Guido Palau and Pierpaolo Piccioli, and for the runways of high fashion like Dolce & Gabbana, Cavalli, Versace, Armani, Tom Ford and Moschino in Paris, London, Milan, and New York.
Marcello Costa also teaches courses and workshops and is fluent in five languages (English, Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese).
Q: Tell us about Marcello by Marcello Costa.
Rule Number One: Put God first in everything you do! I feel taller when I am on my knees!
I’ve aways felt deep in my heart that I was part of something greater.
As a child, I remember pulling out pages from magazines and taping them to the windows in my bedroom. I didn’t quite understand what fashion was then, I just loved how the it looked and thought it was pretty.
I understood that in order for me to pursue my dreams I needed to surround myself with inspirational people who were doing what I wanted to do. I needed to master the elements that I wanted to create on my models: the symmetry and precision of Vidal Sassoon, the spiciness of Oribe Canales, and that perfect aligned hairstyle that only Guido Palau can achieve.
I needed to master the elements that I wanted to create on my models
Always find “whole models”: people who inspire you. Try to do what they do; that is called modeling.
Finding that one thing that you relate to and are really good at tends to be a bit difficult, especially in our industry. Runway and presentation shows are my strengths; they are my driving force. Which has led me to create trainings that offer continuous education for professionals. Education has always played a huge role in my career, even though hair and makeup are my passion.
Runway and presentation shows are my strengths
Fun fact: I completed my degree to become a Computer Engineer. After graduating, I decided to return to hair and makeup. This decision would start me on my journey, taking classes with Redken 5th Avenue. Soon after, I became a Redken Brand Ambassador.
I believe “education does not take up space.” With that outlook, I furthered my education by taking SpecialFXat NYU. As a hair and makeup artist I’ve had the opportunity to work with some big names in the industry; Pryianka Chopra, Queen Latifah, Karlie Kloss, to name a few.
“Education does not take up space.”
As I excelled in the industry I began assisting celebrated artists. These opportunities opened many doors for me and are the reason I have been able to build a ten-year career backstage around the fashion capitals of the world, doing shows for designers such as Dolce and Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Versace, as well as many others throughout Europe.
Q: What is Team MC?
Team MC is an international beauty team of highly trained hair, makeup, and nail artists who provide services for runway shows and presentations. The team has experience with all hair textures, weaves, wigs, on-trend makeup techniques, as well as body painting and prosthetics.
Team MC spans from New York, Milan, Paris, London, to Los Angeles, and is continuing to grow.
Q: What sets Team MC apart?
The fashion industry is constantly evolving. The format is constantly reshaping itself. The same goes for backstage. Fashion recycles itself but it always returns to its origins, Europe.
This is where I saw and learned as a young hair and makeup artist how to create trends from different perspectives, understanding inclusion and diversity.
Our faith and beliefs are what bond us together as a team; the sense of unity and the pursuit of similar goals. Education is a major part of our team’s culture.
Education is a major part of our team’s culture.
We have monthly trainings that keep our team on the cutting edge of trend. In our trainings we learn the “Whys and Why Nots” of fashion, and how to project the new looks for the seasons to come. We understand that education and mastery are the keys to having a successful career in the fashion world.
We have monthly trainings that keep our team on the cutting edge
Q: How do you know what style of hair and makeup to pick?
The first rule, besides researching the designer, is to understand how that designer envisions a woman. What kind of woman is she? An everyday woman, couture woman, urban woman, etc. Hair and makeup is an extension of that vision, a “second skin”. This will determine the woman’s personality; once that character is on the model, then the garment will do the rest.
The first rule is to understand the designer’s vision
Q: Who is your target market?
Our target market is modern, glammed, inclusive fashion.
We are inspired by fashion houses, and also appreciate and value emerging designers: raw talent that comes from all corners of the world.
Fashion should be the biggest word of the English dictionary: it represent all forms of feelings, culture, religion, sexuality, compassion, empowerment, etc.
Our target is modern, glammed, inclusive fashion
The bottom line is we are open to all markets, ranging from haute couture in Paris, to Miami swimwear. “Fashion is fashion,” and should not be secluded.
Q: What inspires you?
Many things inspire me, the arts especially.
I enjoy taking risks and crossing cultures. I am inspired by Cubism, Expressionism, Pop Art, etc. I have visited museums all over the world to visit the past, or even glimpse into the future.
There are times I ride the subway in New York City to look and see how each individual expresses themselves. What I’ve come to understand about fashion is “it’s not about showing your financial status, but your inner imagination.”
Fashion is about showing your inner imagination
Q: Did you ever think the team would grow as big as it is today- world wide?
Honestly no, I never imagined it expanding to this capacity and so rapidly.
When I first took a break from fashion instead of working backstage, I would attend shows just to watch and observe. After building a career spanning a decade working backstage, I wanted to experience what people felt when they watched a show.
Seeing the models walking gracefully, understanding how light washes the runway and the movement of the clothes, gave me a greater appreciation of all the months of hard work that go into building a collection, which runs 30 minutes or less [in a typical show].
In that moment, I was reborn; the passion flowed through me differently. After a year off, I called a few industry friends to help out local New York designers, and the next season Team MC was born.
God plays a huge role in guiding our steps as a team.
Q: Since you do multiple shows, how can you keep up?
First, there is no “I” in TEAM.
The Team MC is structured to not only train artists, but to create team leaders — also known as Key Artists.
Each Key Artist has a team of hair or makeup artists, which allows us to guarantee a smooth show with a unique experience.
Each Key Artist has a team of hair or makeup artists
The secret is to listen to the designers and exercise clear communication, which leads to greater understanding. That gives us the ability to offer multiple ways of getting a better version of what they the designer envisioned.
Q: What are the Do’s and Don’ts of hair and makeup on the Runway?
My top 5 are:
1. Salon hair and makeup are not fashion
2. Don’t oversaturate the hair and makeup
3. Maintain consistency with all the looks (all the models should be polished and finished)
4. Time is everything
5. “Less is more” does not always apply
Q: How can someone qualify to be part of Team MC?
A strong work ethic, professionalism, being a team player, experience, and common passion for our favorite “F words”: Fashion and Faith.
Work should be submitted to: firstname.lastname@example.org.