When asked if she could remember how old she was when she first realized her love of makeup, Lancôme Regional Makeup Artist Linda Miller matter-of-factly explains, “I can pinpoint the exact moment.” Her love for cosmetics, Miller says, blossomed at a young age with the gift of a giant makeup kit. “In 6th grade, I received an Estée Lauder blockbuster for Christmas. By Easter it was completely gone.” Makeup junkies and casual fans alike know that using up a blockbuster (a large makeup kit) is not a small feat, as most would take years to use up the amount of makeup involved. And if Linda Miller knows one thing, it’s definitely makeup. For the past 16 years, Miller has worked as a professional makeup artist, traveling between the eight states in her territory: Nebraska, Montana, Colorado, South Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Minnesota. Starting off in the world of cosmetics as many self-starters do, Miller sold Mary Kay out of her home for a few years before realizing she didn’t want to deal with the business aspect of selling cosmetics. Switching cosmetic lines, Miller soon moved from selling Mary Kay to selling Estée Lauder in a department store at Omaha’s Crossroads mall. Before Miller knew it, she was asked to work as a Regional Makeup Artist for French cosmetic line, Lancôme. “I serve as a regional makeup artist for special events in department stores in the eight states I cover,” explained Miller. “It’s mostly for pre-booked appointments, but occasionally I work with models for fashion events in department stores like Macy’s in Chicago and Minneapolis.” Miller also gave insight into the major differences between working with customers and models. “For everyday clients I generally give a clean and polished look. I give instruction on how to achieve flawless skin, and how to highlight your best feature. I collaborate with designers and stylists to achieve a look that doesn’t compete but compliments clothing and hair.” During her time with Lancôme, Miller experienced an influence that she considers her biggest honor yet. “I was given the opportunity to work with Lancôme Artistic Director Ross Burton for five years. I learned a lot from him and gained a lot of insider information about the business. It was so exciting.” When asked about her favorite cosmetic products, it comes as no surprise that most of Miller’s must-haves are made by Lancôme. “My favorite products are Lancôme’s Photôgenic Lumessence foundation, Maquicomplet Complete Coverage concealer, Dual Finish powder, Artliner liquid eyeliner and Hypnôse mascara.” Outside of Lancôme, Miller also likes MAC Cosmetic’s Cream Colour Base blush in a shade called Hush. “It looks good on everyone, and gives a natural glow,” said Miller. The makeup artist also shared her opinion on the biggest trends in makeup for spring 2011. “Makeup this spring is all about lip color, so use a full coverage matte lipstick as the central focus of the face. Follow with glowing skin and a shimmery eye to complete the look”. On the topic of glowing skin, Miller explained that singer/actress Jennifer Lopez tops her list of beauty icons. “Jennifer just looks angelic,” explains Miller. “She has beautiful glowing skin and just radiates beauty.” When asked about the biggest trend to avoid, Miller says, “Too much color on the cheeks. Spring is about a glowing, clean complexion with less blush.” Miller’s work in the cosmetic industry doesn’t end with Lancôme. For several years, Miller has worked as a freelance makeup artist for everything Omaha fashion-related. She works on models endlessly at events such as Omaha Fashion Week, for lines like luxury swimwear brand KKINI and clothing line SuShe by J.Tracey. Miller also frequently collaborates with local fashion supporters such as photographer AJ Brown, event coordinator (and Reader Creative Director) Eric Stokes and talent agency 89 Talent Management. She also donates her time and talent to events such as Glam VIP, Fashion LOUD and The Reader’s Style Industry Nights. In giving advice for all women when it comes to makeup, she quickly notes her opinion on the biggest beauty mistake women make. “Women wear far too much foundation,” said Miller. “Foundation should be used as needed, not all over the face. It makes for a much more natural look.” Miller also shared that she believes that all women, from the inexperienced to the cosmetics veteran, can benefit from just a little makeup application and instruction. “Anyone from age 17 to 70 can learn to look fabulous by demonstrating how to use minimal amounts of the right products. Makeup is all about strategic placement to highlight your best feature, and less is definitely more.” When asked about the challenges of her job, Miller stated, “My biggest challenge is also my biggest reward. Many women come to me with their beauty concerns, and I provide education on how to use something as simple as foundation. Using a little bit in the right way, can give amazing results.” Miller’s plans are clear in her mind. “I’d like to work with cancer patients at some point in the future,” she says. “I want to continue to be able to help wherever I’m needed, to help women feel better about themselves. Many women cry during a makeover, and I can actually see their self-esteem change while they’re in my chair. That’s my greatest reward.” Sarah Lorsung Tvrdik is a stylist, costumier, wife and freelance writer based in Omaha, Nebraska. Her style blog can be found at fashflood.com.