Austen and Tyler Parker are the dynamic duo behind their eponymous brand, The Parker Twins Makeup. They started off in the fashion industry as models and have successfully transitioned into beauty authorities. Check out their story below.
Say hello to The Parker Twins, Austen & Tyler:
Where are you from? Where have you been?
We are originally from Ann Arbor, MI – however, we moved to New York City almost 8 years ago. We have frequently worked in and around Chicago, Miami, and DC throughout much of our young adult lives. We enjoy travel and have been to a number of places around the world.
What’s your favorite place in the world?
We would have to say Greece. The Cyclades – Mykonos in particular. Not only is it one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean (picturesque, white houses with blue roofs and pristine beaches), but it also hosts a lively culture encompassing great food, beautiful accommodations, friendly locals, and a diverse nightlife.
What’s on your “bucket list” of ideas to create?
We would love to create more architectural, avant-garde looking editorial images with gold leafing. We envision taking a series of beautiful models and creating a very clean makeup look with gold leafing artistically placed, and then positioning the models in a clean background, and having them wear one to two high-end fine jewelry statement pieces in beautiful colors (blue diamonds, sapphires, tanzanite, pink sapphires, rubies, etc). We could even play with the lip color to complement the fine jewelry (i.e. perfectly painted red lips to complement a magnificently sophisticated ruby choker).
Tell us about your careers. How did you get into it?
We originally started out in the fashion industry as models – working primarily out of Chicago and Miami. After attending The University of Michigan, we ended up moving to New York City in 2009 to pursue modeling here. We were not exactly sure what we wanted to do with our lives career-wise, so we did this for a few years while exploring and figuring things out. Modeling lead to us going back to school for entrepreneurial management and advanced business analysis while doing a rigorous one and a half-year apprenticeship under a renowned celebrity makeup artist. We’ve always had a creative talent and understanding for the arts since we were very young, so makeup just made sense. It is very satisfying work when happy clients tell us that they have never felt more beautiful in their entire lives. In many ways, makeup builds confidence, self-assurance, and overall happiness in many people by bringing out their natural beauty.
What is your number one beauty/makeup tip?
Less is always more! Many people try to utilize makeup in a way that overpowers their natural beauty – heavy contouring, almost painted-on eyebrows, very strong eye and lip colors on a more mature face, etc. We are huge proponents of natural beauty. Our number one beauty tip would have to be putting waterproof liquid liner along the waterline of the upper eye under the lashes. As we age, the waterline becomes more prominent. On a more mature woman, applying liquid liner to the waterline alone can make one appear 10 years younger.
What three makeup products do you always have in your bag?
Our three must-have products would have to be a great waterproof, black liquid liner, a pore-reducing primer, and an effective lip conditioner. Even without anything else, these three must-haves can completely change the appearance of one’s face. I really love using Lancome La Base Lip Conditioner, L’Oreal Pore Vanisher, and Almay Black Liquid Liner. All of these will work wonderfully on any face!
Do you have any projects you’d like to show off?
This year, we would have to say the cover shot and featured fashion editorial we did at the St. Regis in New York City for World Bride Magazine’s winter issue turned out really beautifully. It was the result of a team of creative authorities coming together and creating uniquely stunning images.
What challenges do you currently face in your careers?
Pricing is always a challenge. We do professional makeup primarily, however, we also do beauty directing and casting directing. The fashion industry is not what it used to be – everyone is cutting back, and as a result, rates are getting lowered. Clients are more willing to compromise quality for a better price, and many up-and-coming makeup artists are beginning to work for lower rates than industry standard. This has led to professional makeup artists often having to lower their rates to stay competitive.
Where do you hope to see your careers in the next five years?
We would like to be even more well-known as beauty authorities. Currently, we are working on promoting our social media accounts (specifically Instagram) to raise our brand-awareness. In addition to posting beautiful images of our work, we also share with our readers what we feel are currently the latest and greatest/most effective cosmetic and skincare products on the market. This alone has given us a notable following thus far! We love engaging with our followers via commenting, direct messaging, and so on.
What’s the most memorable project you’ve participated in?
This is a hard question to answer! We would have to say doing hair and makeup on our first celebrity for a double-page spread in People Magazine in our early years as makeup artists was probably the most memorable. It was the first project where we were going to be published in print, and we remember being rather nervous! The images turned out great. We did another shoot for People Magazine early on in our career where I (Austen) had to go into Ground Zero and do makeup for a story on the surviving firemen that were trapped after 9/11. Not very many people had been in the basement of the World Trade Centers at that time – that alone was pretty memorable.
What beauty trend do you wish would make a comeback?
We really love the makeup look of the 1920s – red lips with black smoky eyes. This look in some ways is having a comeback – as blue-toned red lips and a tight smokey eye have been a huge trend throughout all of 2016. We feel this is such a timeless and elegant evening look that really makes a statement.
Which beauty trend do you wish was gone forever?
Neither of us understand the current eyebrow trend that is often referred to as “the Instagram brow” – where the brows are completely artificially filled in creating a box-like shape near the nose that begins to fade. To us, this looks more or less like someone put stickers in the shape of their eyebrows over their real eyebrows. It just looks unnatural in a non-flattering way for an everyday look!
What is the most life-changing event that you’ve experienced?
Making the decision to uproot our entire lives at a young age and move to New York City. It takes a lot of courage to move to a city where you are starting from scratch – as many of us (now) New Yorkers know! We were very lucky to have one another for support to fall back on while we established ourselves here. We love MI, however we have no desire to ever live there again. New York has an uniquely amazing and indescribable energy about it that we are able to identify and grow with. We love getting out of the city every now and then, however, it is always nice to see the city outside of the plane window and feel like we are back home. New York City has truly become our home.
What’s your greatest failure, and how did you overcome it?
Neither of us would say there is any major failure in particular that we have had to overcome – at least nothing that really mattered in the big picture. We did get fired from our first job ever right after moving to NYC. We were hired as hosts for a high-end, iron chef restaurant in midtown Manhattan with no restaurant experience whatsoever. We were only there for a few months – management was terrifying. One day, the owner flew in unannounced from Chicago and literally fired off half of the staff with no viable explanation. We were supposedly fired for putting the floating candles in the pond on the mezzanine level 15 minutes after we were instructed to – mind you that was just added to our job description a few days prior. This experience certainly taught us one thing – that we had no desire to ever work in the restaurant industry and that not everyone is an innately nice person!
What’s your greatest achievement, and how has it shaped you?
In all honesty, making things work in NYC to create a safe, secure, comfortable, and happy life for ourselves has been by far, our greatest achievement. We were lucky to meet a number of great people soon after moving here that were a huge part of our success. The love, support, and consistent belief in our success and future well-being from those closest to us has made us who we are today. It has made us more giving, compassionate, confident, and driven.
Feel free to show off some of your work!
For anyone who wants to get in touch with The Parker Twins, here’s some contact information:
Austen and Tyler, thank you so much for sharing your artistic journey and valuable beauty tips with us!
If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.