Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo Fashion Week

The official blog of Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo Fashion Week. September 19-27, 2013. info(at)buffalofashionweek(dot)com

Queen City Gems: Christina Marrale

Tell us your name and a little bit about yourself and what you do.

I’m Christina Marrale, Founding Editor of Beauty Queen, beauty editor/writer for various publications and an on air host/beauty expert.

Where are you from and where did you go to school?

Originally from West Seneca, now residing in sunny Los Angeles, CA with my husband and our two dogs, Alan and Jeff.

I graduated from West Seneca West (Go Indians!) and after dabbling in a Journalism program at ECC and an Esthetician’s license at Continental, I decided to pursue a professional certification in Makeup Artistry at MUD (Makeup Designory of Los Angeles).

What made you realize that you wanted to work in the fashion/beauty industry?

Like many, I was the type of little girl who was fascinated by my mother’s makeup. I would spend hours studying the texture, consistency and identifying what each product was for.  Beauty was something that just came naturally to me and I had such a passion for it. Growing up in a community where a degree is an essential asset in getting employed, I was discouraged by many to pursue a career in the beauty industry and continue on a more stable path by going to college.

I had always excelled in writing and chose an education in broadcasting/journalism. First year in, something just didn’t feel right and my instincts told me that the beauty industry was something I needed to pursue, whether I had the support from others or not.

I started with a part-time cosmetics sales gig, which eventually led to climbing the corporate cosmetics ladder and when I moved to LA, I begun working on many film sets and celeb’s. It was all very exciting, but I wasn’t very fulfilled. Right around that time is when Beauty Queen was born. The idea was originally to have a beauty consulting business and use my blog as more of a tool to gain clients, little did I know it would lead to something much bigger and more rewarding than I had ever hoped.

Tell us more about your blog and how you write about all aspects of beauty- products, health, fitness, etc.

I noticed a large gap in the cosmetics industry, the product was there, but the education wasn’t. Sure, it’s easy to sell someone on a fabulous new foundation or lipstick, but do they really love it? Does it work for them? Do they know how to use it?

These are the types of questions that inspire my writing. I want my readers to be educated and know exactly what they need, why they need it and how to use it. Not always product either, I love recommending “At home” treatments, tips and tricks and new techniques. I also put a large emphasis on health and wellness, as I strongly believe inner beauty is just as vital as outer. You want to see results when your 50? Prevent wrinkles? Let’s learn how to take care of ourselves and what we should be putting into our bodies first and then we’ll get to the beauty products.

What is your favorite part of what you do?

Everyone’s got a story and a reason why they want to feel better about themselves. I love exposing those layers and discovering what it is I can do to help them. It can be a simple task, like recommending a perfect “date night” look to impress the one they love, or it can run deeper. One of my very first clients and her daughter were out one evening at the mall, strolling aimlessly and looking rather troubled. I offered to sit them down and give them both a little makeover, figuring a little makeup and girl chat could help with whatever was going on in their lives. After we finished up, the client revealed her husband had passed away a mere 2 days ago after a long battle with cancer. She and her daughter were out for the first time since the death and thanked me with tears in her eyes for making them both look and feel better.  Almost 10 years later, that story has stayed with me, making me strive to reach and inspire as many as I can. It’s amazing what a little makeup can do.

What do you miss most about Buffalo?

I miss simple things like the 4 seasons, kind people, a sense of community and of course my immediate and extended family. Though I am always missing home, there’s no better feeling than going home. Every time the plane touches down on Buffalo ground, I feel like I can breathe, relax and just be myself around the people I care about the most. Living away makes you appreciate those things so much more.

Where are some of your favorite places to stop at (eat/shop/etc) when you’re visiting Buffalo?

Food-wise, if I come alone, I’ll hit the usual spots (Jim’s, Mighty, Pasquale’s, etc) if I am with my husband…we totally up our food game! You name it, we’re occupying the spot while we’re in town.

I absolutely love visiting The Walker Center (specifically their beauty store, a great place filled with some of my favorite brands!) unique boutiques on Elmwood, followed by martini’s at Cecilia’s and of course the Galleria. It’s exciting to see all of the changes the mall has been through over the years. I started my career in cosmetics in that Kaufmann’s (now currently Macy’s) so there are quite a lot of memories there.

What advice would you give someone who wants to get involved in the fashion/beauty industry?

Don’t be intimidated, believe in your ideas and never take “no” for an answer.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been turned down or told I wouldn’t become successful. If you have a passion that strong for something, you cannot let the negativity stop you.

Also- try to get as much “real life” experience as you can. A simple internship, part-time gig, seminar etc can plug you into your industry, allowing more opportunities and better prepare you for all the challenges ahead as you explore your career path.

How would you describe your personal style?

I tend to gravitate towards very classic, ladylike silhouettes/shapes with a healthy balance of designer “investment” pieces and low-end, affordable items. A few favorite designers/brands include: Theory, Alexander Wang, DVF, Kelly Wearstler, Alice + Olivia, Zara, Victoria Beckham and many, many more.

Since moving to California, I’ve been trying to break out of my shell and experiment with more of a casual-boho look. Fashion is much more relaxed here….jeans, tees and airy dresses work for so many different types of occasions.

One beauty product you couldn’t live without:

Oh my, this is such a tough question, as I am quite the product junkie! I would have to say mascara, specifically Eyeko Skinny Brush Mascara. You can’t beat the convenience of the packaging (it comes in a soft tube, so you can get out every last drop) and the application is beyond anything I’ve ever seen before!

Anything else you would like to add?

I left my hometown due to a lack of beauty/fashion industry opportunities and swore, when I had the means and ability to contribute in some way to building that here in Buffalo, I would. When the opportunity came up to participate in MBBFW, I knew this would be a wonderful chance to do just that. Time to inject a little more style into this already lovely city!

Hannah

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