Jill Ventimiglia is my BBF. No, not BFF, but my BBF: best beauty friend. After working as a makeup artist for 10 years in Hollywood, it’s safe to say she knows a thing or two about beautifying any situation. A nasty car accident propelled her to seek out an esthetician’s license, and after managing a Beverly Hills spa she developed her own makeup line, Just Jill Cosmetics. Super eco-friendly shea butter foundations used by Jessica Alba, Brooke Shields, the Grey’s Anatomy cast and the head artist of the movie Dreamgirls gave Jill more than enough legitimacy. This year her makeup line has been relaunched and features all mineral based ingredients, a liquid foundation that stands up against the Texas heat with a smooth powder finish, and can be seen in college-friendly publication Study Breaks Magazine as an aid to go from hitting the books to hitting the bar. Every eyelash tint, lip gloss, blush, and cream eyeshadow is long-wear worthy and sweat resistant. You can catch Jill working her independent cosmetic company and spa inside of Austin beauty oasis Lighten Up Hair Salon & Spa.
HC Texas: How did you get your start in makeup and cosmetics?
Jill: Well you have to have a very focused personality. A lot of people might be artists but they aren’t driven as a businessperson. You have to have business sense; artists don’t book jobs, businesspeople who aren’t cocky and show up on time do. Also, Google is my best friend. I would have never known where to start with how to make my own makeup line. I learned about trade shows and I’d go to chat rooms and ask questions. In one chat room I met a cosmetic chemist who makes makeup for Mary Kay and they gave me some good advice. They told me to find a manufacturer that fits what you want. You can buy 10,000 units or 12 units, but I can’t buy 10,000 lipsticks of one shade. I don’t think you need to have that many products in your makeup bag: Just Jill. Just you.
HC Texas: What has been your favorite project to work on?
Jill: An Oxygen TV show called Campus Ladies about two women who wanted to go back to college after divorce. Jonah Hill was in it and I got to work on him every day (pre SuperBad), and I got to work with Maya Rudolph, Paul Reubens, and Anthony Anderson. Also this movie called Brick-- it won an award at Sundance—and it was the first time I saw my name on a movie screen. Some of the actors were Meagan Good, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Richard Roundtree.
HC Texas: What prompted your transition to Austin?
Jill: My sister had twin boys 13 months ago, and my parents retired and moved here to be closer to her. I realized after being in Los Angeles for 10 years that life is short, and while a career is great, family is first. I’m making new connections, friends and clients and enjoying life here. I feel like this is the second part of my life, I’ll be 39 in a couple of months. I still want to travel back and forth, I just won’t do film anymore, just commercial and red carpet [instead].
HC Texas: What’s the difference between working on movies and commercials, and working for a red carpet event?
Jill: Film is all about working from 20 to 40 days, six to seven days a week, and for 12 to 16 hours a day. It’s all about consistency; you manage a whole team of artists and have a lookbook for matching scenes. Commercials take around two to three days, are more creative, and you make lots of money then move on to the next project. I love red carpet makeup--it’s so much more dramatic--but when they leave you, you can’t touch them up. I learned a trick: Spray the face with hairspray, about 12 inches away, with a light mist for your makeup to stay in place.
HC Texas: Do you have any pointers for female business owners? Any especially for turning a talent into a business?
Jill: I strive to empower and encourage young women. Finish college! I had a learning disability as a young child, got my associate degree and trained at three vocational schools: medical assistant, esthetician, and master makeup artist.
I had a tutor…even if you’re not the smartest it just means you have to work a little harder and stay focused. If you’re creative, that’s all it takes to build your own company, but to be a CEO you have to be good with people. If I can’t implement those ideas, I hire someone to do it for me. Ideas are what drive me but that’s not for everybody.
I don’t have children or a husband and that’s the path I took. It’s hard to build a business and have both. If I did, I’d need a full-time nanny and I just didn’t want that.
Photos Courtesy of Jill Ventimiglia