Beauty Grad is a Celebrity Airbrush Artist and Entrepreneur
Beauty Marketing & Product Development Alumna Alexandra DiMarchi, who graduated in 2016, has taken the tanning world by storm as a Celebrity Airbrush Artist and Global Tanning Expert for Tan-Luxe. She’s been quoted in The Zoe Report, InStyle, PopSugar, and Who What Wear, and her celebrity clients have included Halsey, Nazanin Mandi, Molly Sims, and Jordyn Woods, among others. The Virginia native’s work has also graced the covers and pages of Vogue, Rolling Stone, Allure, and Playboy. We recently chatted with Alexandra about her FIDM experience, entrepreneurship, and what she loves most about working in beauty.
What was your path to FIDM? I enrolled in 2013 and did three quarters. I got so homesick that I dropped out the following summer. I was in my mid-twenties and moving to LA was a culture shock for me. There were a lot of changes. I kind of needed that break to be reminded that if I wanted to be successful in the industry this is what I had to do. I should have taken a quarter off instead of dropping out, but I had a really hard time focusing. California was so different from the East Coast. I also had a lot of financial responsibilities and I had more worries than someone at 18 or 19 would have. I went home for seven months and reapplied and came back in 2015, and in the following year I graduated.
Tell us about your career since graduating. I knew I wanted to go right into starting my business, but my dream seemed far out of reach so soon after graduating. I went back to freelancing for MAC because it gave me the flexibility to balance my time between them and an ever-growing personal business clientele. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for having that job while I was building my business. They provided me with a place to learn while helping me maintain financial stability when it really mattered. If it weren’t for them, I don’t think I ever would have become the artist that I am today. They taught me so much about undertones and proper blending that I’m not sure I could have learned any other way. I started airbrushing at first somewhere around 2014, but it wasn’t until September 2016 that I finally took the steps to legitimize my business and start promoting myself as an artist.
How did FIDM help prepare you for entrepreneurship? I would say the majority of what I learned at FIDM came from participating in group projects and learning about the things you go through trying to work as a team. I realized I was good at directing others to execute our vision, but I wasn’t always the right person to be doing the work that I knew needed to be done. Working with a group also helped to alleviate any fear of being an entrepreneur by teaching me that you can hire others when you're not able to do something on your own. And in doing so I learned how to communicate my vision with those doing work and learned how to effectively take or give criticism to better the work. I think learning that you can’t do it all was the most important lesson they gave to me and all of their students.
How did you become the Global Tanning Expert for Tan-Luxe and what does your role entail? I first came across Tan-Luxe during the summer of 2017. I was immediately intrigued because I thought I knew of every self tanning brand around! After checking them out I fell in love with their aesthetics and products, so I reached out via email expressing my interest in wanting to work with them as an airbrush artist. After a few months of freelancing with them, their Director of Brands introduced me to the founder, Mark Elrick. Then in January of 2019, they signed me on as their Global Tanning Expert where my role expanded to include education at retail locations and serving as the go-to artist for tanning influencers and celebrities as well as at major events and new product launches. They’ve flown me to New York to tan beauty editors and to Miami to do Swim Week backstage. I’ve worked events for them in LA, and I do a lot of their education for Sephora, Ulta, and Space NK. They’ve played a huge part in molding me into the artist, team member, and business woman I’ve become. I'm grateful for the platform and opportunities they've given me and look forward to my future with them.
We know sun damage is aging and even life threatening in some cases. Did that factor into your decision to work in airbrush tanning? Two of my friends were estheticians and I’d always go down to Miami and come back super tan. My dad had an experience with skin cancer and one day they told me we’re going to put me under the lights so I could see the damage done by the sun. After that I started trying self tanners and spray tanning. I noticed brands were not targeting women of all skin tones and that people use the service for various reasons, including to appear darker, even their complexion, or enhance their natural glow.
What do you most enjoy about working in beauty? My favorite part is how clients feel after I see them. Nothing is better than seeing someone walk in having a bad day and leave with a boosted look of confidence on their face. I see this a lot and I find that if my clients have had a rough week or they’re feeling self-conscious about certain features, a service with me is often something that helps them feel better about themselves. Another thing I love about this industry is the exposure it gives me to other cultures. I’ve always enjoyed learning about different cultures and nowhere has done more to teach me about the size and variety of the meaning of the word ‘beauty.’ We all have our own personal standards, but it wasn’t until working in makeup that I started to notice differences in the features each culture wishes to accentuate about themselves and how those differences meet each culture's standard for beauty. Each day is a chance to learn something new.
Learn more at airbrushbyalexandra.com or on Instagram @airbrushbyalexandra.