2005-02-24 / Front Page

Style was always part of area native’s makeup

VaShaya Ramsey
BY Sandi Carpello

Correspondent

NORTH BRUNSWICK — During her years at Rutgers University, VaShaya Ramsey had a hard time keeping her mind on her studies.

“I’d be sitting in class and all I was doing was looking at everyone’s eyebrows,” said the 29-year-old township native. “No two pairs are the same. And a lot of people don’t know what to do with them. … A lot of people overtweeze. They overpluck. Some people have great brows, but they are just the wrong shape.”

Ramsey’s obsession with tweezing and plucking has taken the North Brunswick High School graduate into the world of fashion, entertainment and television. Over the past few years, Ramsey has become one of the beauty industry’s most-sought-after eyebrow specialists and makeup artists, earning $55 every 15 minutes for her artistry at the John Barrett Salon at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City.

She has worked on the brows and faces of celebrities such as Queen Latifah, Brian McKnight, rapper Lil’ Kim and the New Jersey Nets’ cheerleaders. Last year, she was the lead makeup artist for the groom’s family at the star-studded wedding of Star Jones and Al Scales Reynolds.

And last week, Ramsey was the force behind an ambush makeover on an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” titled “Look 10 Pounds Thinner Instantly,” which featured The Learning Channel’s “What Not to Wear” stars Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine.

“It was excellent,” said Ramsey, who now resides in Brooklyn. “We were in Chicago for three days and made over seven women. They were really happy when we were done.”

Ramsey said her ardor for beauty and makeup was ignited as a small child.

“I started becoming fascinated with makeup when I was 4 years old,” she said. “I used to watch my grandmother put on her makeup and I watched how she really took her time. Nowadays, a lot of women don’t take enough time.”

During high school, Ramsey honed her craft by cultivating new looks for her girlfriends. After graduating from Middlesex County College and Rutgers University, she landed a sales position at New York City’s renowned Helena Rubenstein Salon, which led to various internship positions with makeup gurus like Kevin Aucoin, Bobbi Brown and Jake Bailey.

Ramsey said she intends to keep North Brunswick on the cutting edge of beauty. With an eyeshadow palette and tweezers in hand, Ramsey returns to her hometown every spring, offering mobile makeovers to prom-bound teenagers. She volunteers for Cornrows, Double Dutch, and Hip-Hop — a youth organization that provides support to African American teenage girls in the suburbs. And Ramsey’s very own township-based eyebrow salon, Brows 2 Go, is currently in the works.

Although Ramsey admits to having a “God-given gift” and “the luck of the draw,” she said the secret to her success is quite simple.

“Being nice to people and being a people person will get you far,” she said. “People will remember you more when you’re sweet to them.”

North Brunswick teens interested in receiving a prom makeover with Ramsey may contact her at vashaya12@yahoo.com.

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