ArtistAbout This Expert
Leonora Conley—who most recently held post as a luxury cosmetics Global Artist and Artistry Trainer with roots at Henri Bendel’s Manhattan’s flagship store—traces her passion for skincare and makeup back to her days at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Though she originally went to school for fashion design, Leonora notes that it being the 1980s—when the club era was at its peak—she and her friends always had great clothes, but no one’s hair and makeup really complemented their looks. Faced with the need to look amazing from head to toe (and rightfully so), Leonora found herself doing the hair and makeup for her group before their nights out and soon thereafter she and her friends were getting more attention for their makeup than their fashion choices.
Armed with a natural gift and an infectious passion for the beauty business, Leonora enrolled in cosmetology school to hone her skills and quickly began working in the industry. Though her work speaks for itself, Leonora credits one of her biggest cheerleaders and the man to gave her the extra push to bring her talents to the city as Robert Verdi. “We were friends growing up,” she said, “and one day he gave me the challenge of providing his sister with the perfect Audrey Hepburn look on her wedding day. I accepted the challenge and nailed the look to a T.”
With the utmost confidence in her work, Verdi began suggesting Leonora to friends and business acquaintances that were in need of a makeup artist for an event or photo shoot, including one of Verdi’s confidants and clients, Eva Longoria. These new opportunities, coupled with a budding business relationship with Paula Dorf Cosmetics set Leonora’s career into motion and her résumé now includes advertising campaigns (Samsung, Pantene and Olay), fashion shows and heavy-hitters (André Leon Talley) and magazines (Cosmopolitan, Town & Country Weddings and HudsonMOD). Leonora is also the Contributing Beauty Editor at HudsonMOD Magazine.
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