Celebrity Makeup Artist: Maria Verel

Much of Maria Verel's early childhood was spent atop mountains of her treasured coloring books and crayons -- a tireless fascination where she dreamed of becoming an artist, and indeed did!

Officially, Maria became a makeup "guru" in seventh grade, being the anointed expert on mascara application by her girlfriends. She did everyone's makeup when they got together, long before they were actually permitted to wear makeup in public. She painted everything in sight, including the toenails of the family dog!

Fresh out of college, Maria began doing makeup professionally for an international cosmetics line, and quickly began securing major photo shoots. Her natural talent, now her absolute craft and passion, continued to blossom, taking her on assignments all over the globe. She focused her artistry, often working with large-format cameras long before the invention of Photoshop retouching. Her precision and techniques have proved indispensable before the unforgiving lens of today's high-definition camera technology.

Today, Maria is in constant demand. Her bookings are for film, television, videos, editorial print shoots, celebrity red carpet appearances, as well as the occasional Broadway gig. Her makeup expertise is regularly cited in Allure, O, Vogue, Bazaar, In Style, Glamour and many other publications. She also consults for major corporations.

Maria is honored to serve as Diane Sawyer's full-time makeup artist since 1995, and she still maintains a loyal "who's who" celebrity clientele.

Her philosophy? "I am my happiest when I know I have helped someone feel better about the way they greet the world. I never aim to 'change' them. I simply help them enhance their own personal beauty. I do not aim for any ideal of perfection. ... I focus on what makes one unique -- is their absolute beauty."

Maria has lived and worked in Toronto; Hamburg and Munich Germany; Paris; Milan, Italy; and NewYork City, which she now calls home. No day is complete for her without doing the New York Times Crossword puzzle, making time for her music, reading and hanging out with her two parrots.

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