In 2003, I decided to retire from service. I gave up my make up artistry and aesthetics practices, resigned from my position as Director of the largest spa group in Western Canada, and headed to Toronto to start a new chapter in my career. I wanted to become a true artist, using my skill to create looks for women that were not just for commercial purposes. I wanted my artistry to transcend just the business of cosmetics. When I arrived in Toronto, I almost immediately found myself surrounded by amazing performers who inspired me to find my inner artist. For the first time in my entire career, I realized I could be more than just a business person, I could actually be a real artist.
Over the last eleven years, I have met, worked with, socialized with, and, of course, admired some of the greatest talents in this city. Every one of these artists, whom I have met, has allowed me to create looks for them and encouraged me to keep improving my talents.
Dione Taylor holds a special place in this pantheon of women. She has continually challenged my perceptions of life, encouraged me to express my art, and, most importantly, allowed me the great honour of designing make up styles for her.
Dione is a world-renowned entertainer—having performed for audiences as far away as Tokyo—who interprets jazz in a way that cannot be easily described. She has performed at the White House for the President of the United States and the First Lady, on Parliament Hill for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and graced the stages at The Kennedy Centre and Massey Hall. Part soul singer, part gospel singer, and all R&B singer, Dione can make a person dance in one moment and bring them to heartbreaking tears in the next, all with her ability to tell a story in a way very few singers actually can. Dione’s unique ability to evoke the soulful musical truth is a rare quality, one attractively complemented by her keenly trained musical ear. It's little wonder she has been nominated for a Juno, Gemini, and National Jazz Award. She is also the recipient of the 2009 Govenor General's Mentorship Award.
Dione is currently working on a brand new CD, and plays to packed houses every Friday night as her alter ego DeeDee Martini, at Toronto's Reservoir Lounge. I have seen this show several times and it is, truly, not to be missed.
Recently, I asked this incredibly talented woman what beauty means to her:
"When I am feeling healthy, happy and confident then it’s impossible not to be beautiful.
I love to dress up! It’s easy to feel amazing and beautiful when my hair is perfectly coiffed and I’m wearing that sexy little black dress, a full face of make up and coveted four inch heels. When I’m at home donning my comfy gym suit and fuzzy slippers I still feel amazing and beautiful because I feel beautiful from within.
Beauty is complete acceptance that I am beautifully and wonderfully made.
When I’m not working I don’t really wear make-up or “dress up” too much (just a feather boa with my winter coat!). I often get stopped by perfect strangers who tell me how gorgeous my skin is and how beautiful I am. This used to confuse the hell out of me until one day it dawned on me: true beauty starts from within and is enhanced by make-up and clothes.
Every Friday night is Halloween in my world! I get to play “dress up” as my stage persona: DeeDee Martini. She’s a cross between my aunt Joyce and Diana Ross…just enough style and attitude to keep you coming back for more!"
Next Month: Christine Horne