24 July 2024

NAHA 25 Years: Jeanne San Diego, 2012 Make Up Artist of the Year

NAHA is celebrating 25 captivating years this Summer, and we had the pleasure of speaking with the talented Jeanne San Diego, who won NAHA’s Make Up Artist of the Year in 2012.

Now a full-time freelance make up and hair artist, Jeanne’s art has graced countless publications, events and campaigns. Be it traditional or airbrush make up, her work has been a staple in the bridal, print, and fashion scene!

Jeanne is the founder of Sexy Graffiti Hair & Makeup Expressions and MUA Workshops, an educational curriculum aimed at helping artists learn how to be freelance make up artists. We sat down with the stylist and make up extradordinaire and she shared with us some of her insight on winning NAHA and what it’s been like.

“Winning a NAHA award is like winning an Oscar’s in the beauty industry. It is a tremendous accomplishment and major validation of an artist’s talents. When I won the 2012 NAHA Make Up Artist of the Year Award, it was absolutely a dream come true! I have always been in awe and looked up to the legends that walked the stage with the coveted trophy. I really felt like I was just dreaming when everything was happening. I felt nervous, excited, happy, and ready all at the same time. I’ve imagined it many days and nights and it finally happened,” explained Jeanne.

After winning the award, Jeanne expressed how many doors were opened for her. She landed many beauty campaigns and it really solidified and validated her own makeup curriculum under MUA Workshops for the aspiring artists wanting to learn her techniques. Back in 2012, a make up artist had to be nominated by the hairstylist to enter. An awesome photographer – Roneil Chavez, introduced her to the uber talented hair stylist Richie Roman, who also got nominated in NAHA’s Texture category with the same collection they collaborated on. Jeanne’s husband has also been instrumental by always supporting and pushing her to take her craft to the next level. “I think I have always wanted to enter and win but having all the pieces come together was the nudge we needed to truly make it happen,” said Jeanne.

What was the more nerve wracking moment for Jeanne? “Throughout the award weekend, I was nervous to meet all the legends in the industry.  These are individuals who I respect and aspire to be like so it was rather intimidating to meet them in person. During the award ceremony, walking up the steps to receive the award was nerve-wracking. I kept saying to my self ‘walk slow, don’t trip and smile. Everyone’s watching!!!’ Second would be the speech and interviews… I had a speech all memorized and it all came out differently. Up to this day, I do not even know what I said!”, said Jeanne.

Jeanne’s NAHA collection had an amazing story behind it. Much thanks to hairstylist Richie Roman, it was his vision that really got the ball rolling for their collection. He created the back story to what they were aiming for. From that story they were able to create their masterpiece. “Each and everyone involved had put 110% of their time, effort and energy to make it a winning collection. As artists, these are things that we do on a daily basis. When we shot our winning collection, the atmosphere felt really special. Everybody was really relaxed and we felt that the room was just filled with so much creativity. Despite doing the shoot in an empty living room with no wardrobe stylist and a model canceling last minute, we all had fun and we believed that our collection will at least get nominated! To win a NAHA I think it starts with a unique concept, a great team who believes in themselves and each other and have faith that it will happen!”, explained Jeanne.

Jeanne told us she is often inspired by her own students and other artists. One in particular is the amazing make up artist Roshar. She loves his work and his thinking-out-of-the-box approach. 2013 winner Katy Albright is also one of her favorites. Hair-wise she’s inspired by, Richie Roman, Julian Macias, Vicente Leonel Rodriguez, Nicholas French, to name a few.  “Beyond the talent, it really inspires me when an artist really pursues their passion, against all odds, and constantly strives to get to another level.”

What’s next for Jeanne? “In 5 years, I see my self doing bigger campaigns and traveling all over doing what I love. It would be awesome to be nominated again and win another NAHA but truthfully I am living my dream. I get to pursue my passion and get paid for it. I hope to continually teach and inspire other artists about makeup, hair and the beauty industry itself. I want to see my students succeed and be able to say that I’ve at least contributed to their success.”


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