Makeup artist Eva DeVirgilis has heard it all. When women sit down in her chair sans makeup, within the first three seconds, they almost always apologize for something relating to their face—perhaps their perceived lack of beauty, pale complexion, blemishes, wrinkles, dark circles under the eyes, or sunspots. 

“It doesn’t matter how young, how old, what socio-economic background she comes from, how traditionally beautiful she is, almost every single woman apologizes and does not feel that she measures up to this new standard of beauty,” DeVirgilis says. By the way, when she says “this new standard of beauty,” she defines it as a combination of “porn and fashion and photoshop just like all mixed up in one.”

DeVirgilis is a veteran actress from New York who became a makeup artist to make ends meet between acting gigs. With seven years of experience applying foundation, powder, and eyeshadow on a wide variety of women, she’s come to view her job as not just “skin-deep” but rather as profound. Indeed, seeing the true beauty in each of the individuals who visit her, she hopes to transform her clients’ negative self-perceptions. Actually, it’s become DeVirgilis’ passion to help her clients not only look better but feel their best. So she uses her makeup as a tool to get the women to open up about their concerns in a therapeutic manner, and from there, she tries to awaken them to their beauty and fully embrace it. 

While some people would never dare leave the house without a full face of makeup, others choose to wear makeup but feel no anxiety about their appearance with or without makeup. These women make no apologies about their imperfections while in DeVirgilis’ chair. “These are the movers, the shakers; they’re the powerhouses,” DeVirgilis explains. “They could be CEOs or stay-at-home moms, but they don’t measure themselves by a mirror. Sure, they wear makeup, but they don’t apologize for it. They live in the moment, and they let themselves have that pleasure of living in the moment and in the now,” she continues in awe of these rarities.

And a subcategory of this unapologetic group includes the women who are tuned into their own mortality—the very old and the very ill. It seems the last of their concerns are some insignificant asymmetric facial features or large pores. These kinds of clients, in particular, served as a wake-up call to DeVirgilis. Admittedly, she struggles to accept her own perceived flaws, and it pains her to think:  “Is this what it’s going to take for me to appreciate what I have? To be confronted with the prospect of illness or death?!”

People’s “imperfections” make them human, relatable, and even captivating. Sun-weathered skin can reveal a love for the outdoors, wrinkles are evidence of a lifetime of experiences and smiles, and unique or unusual facial features run in families and connect people to their loved ones. 

Since her TEDx talk In my chair—a makeup artist’s perspective on beauty, DeVirgilis ventured to eight countries across the globe to connect with women from various cultures and hear about the pressures they may feel to meet modern-day beauty standards. From there, DeVirgilis created a solo-show called In My Chair which premiered at Virginia Repertory Theatre in 2019 based on the interviews. As an activist for self-acceptance, she speaks across the U.S. on the topic of “Ending the Apology.”

DeVirgilis is an actor, coach, and keynote speaker who studied under the prominent actor Vincent D’Onofrio. Her acting credits include Law and Order: Criminal Intent; TURN: Washington’s Spies; and Legends & Lies: The Patriots. She graduated in Musical Theatre from The New School University in New York  City.

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