AE Friends & Family: Aerie Makeup Artist Jenna Menard

AE Friends & Family: Aerie Makeup Artist Jenna Menard

Jenna Menard, Aerie’s resident makeup artist and Clinque’s first ever Global Colour Artist, travels from photo shoot to photo shoot making our girls look flawless. We sat down with her to find out how her love of beauty began in her basement and how far she has come in her career!

Jenna Menard, Aerie Makeup Artist

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was raised in a small town between Philadelphia and New York City called Doylestown, Pennsylvania and I have been in NYC for almost 10 years now. I also went to college in PA, so I lived the small town girl life and then decided I wanted to move to NYC and pursue being a makeup artist.

I love being outside and I am so lucky that part of my work takes me there. It is not just showing up at the studio everyday, it’s about getting on planes, traveling far and being able to be outside in nature and really just enjoying life while working – which is rare for people to be able to say that they get to do.

I like to get out around NYC and ride my bike along with doing yoga to stay active while I am in the city living my normal day-to-day life.

How did you get your start as a makeup artist?

My story has a lot of pieces that come together and bring me to where I am today. My mom is a hairstylist, so I grew up with a hair salon in my basement as a child (and she is still doing it to do this day!) I have three sisters, so you can imagine in a house of all girls with a mom that is a hairstylist presentation and beauty were a big thing. I didn’t ever think I would be a makeup artist growing up but slowly things all started to connect.

When I was in college I studied psychology because I knew I wanted to work with people and interact with people, even though I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do yet. I had an internship while I was in college for a small cosmetic company and that prompted my interest in makeup. I didn’t have any formal training before that internship. I graduated and moved to NYC for an internship on the set of the feature film, The Stepford Wives. I landed this internship through meeting Ann Roth, an academy award-winning costume designer, and she introduced me to Bernadette Mazur who was the head of the makeup department for this film.  I was able to be on set and watch makeup artists for three months. As soon as the film was over I decided to begin my career freelancing and I began assisting other makeup artists from different agencies in NYC. This is when I was introduced to Dick Page, a world renowned makeup artist and ended up assisting him on and off for about three years while also pursusing my own career. I was so lucky to meet someone like Dick Page and work so closely with him and learn the art and the business.

My career growth was more of an organic process and one thing led to another. When I started working on my own, I started working with an agency and started shooting bigger things. Everything seemed to just work out- I worked hard at it, but it really just flowed in a way that one thing led to the next.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I pull from a lot of different things, mostly from what is around me living in NYC just walking around the city during my daily life. It is really amazing what you see when you stop and look around. I have been lucky enough to travel so much and I come back with tons of pictures from trips and those images in general act as my inspiration. It is not as literal as using the color of the sky for eyeshadow, but it is the beautiful things around me that inspire me to be more creative. Nature, colors, cultures, faces, and everything that I experience whether I am in NYC or traveling, I absorb that and take that and use that as inspiration.

You have worked with everyone from Sofia Coppola to Taylor Swift to Kate Winslet and of course our Aerie girls – do you have an all-time favorite person to work with?

I feel like in moments of my career there has been shoots that I have been like “wow this is a really great point in my career” or maybe just a job and location that I am traveling to, but I really feel so lucky to have met  the women that I have worked with. All of the celebrities that I work with are extremely talented and inspiring on many levels. It is not just the work that they do; they are a really good example at how to balance everything from career to family to personal time. Every time I am working with these women I realize that they have this balance that I always try to strive towards.

Jenna preps Nina Agdal during the Aerie Back to School photo shoot.

Can you tell us a little bit about the process it takes to come up with the look & feel you want for each photo shoot/event?

One of the really great things about being a makeup artist is the collaboration. For the most part it is a lot of creative individuals that all have the same goal and that goal in the end is to create images that will make an impact to people around the world. We all come together and the art director shows inspiration on what they are going for and who the “girl” is (I hear that a lot.) It is a lot about who we want to bring to life in the campaign or a particular beauty and fashion story. With all of these images put together on a mood board you can see where they want to go and the feeling of a particular shoot. If you work with the same team often, it takes less and less time to get all on the same page. It is a great feeling when you work with a team that has trust in you and trusts you to do your thing.

You had the chance to work with famed photographer Arthur Elgort, tell us about that!

Arthur Elgort is a photo legend! He has been around for a long time and taken some amazing photos that a lot of people know. I met him while assisting Dick Page and I will never forget the day I was working with him. We were talking and he asked me to send my book over sometime. I willingly sent my book over and the first job booked with him was the cover of Teen Vogue. For someone like Arthur who has been around a long time and could work with anybody he chooses, it meant a lot for him to choose me. To think my first shoot with Arthur was a cover-it amazes me . I knew I was capable of it, but usually photographers don’t start on a cover as your first job. This was the March 2009 issue of Teen Vogue and still to this day I think back to that point in my career and think about where I was then and where I am now. There are certain moments in my career I really kind of feel nostalgic about. I think to myself, “Wow I was really lucky to be able to work with him and work with such a legend.” He is an amazing person and photographer and that is definitely one  moment that is a strong memory of mine.

What is the one piece of makeup you cannot live without?

I would say Clinique High Impact Mascara. It is something for my kit that makes a huge difference for the people I am working on whether it is a model or celebrity, but also I love it for myself. It is something that will make your eyes look more open and awake, but it doesn’t have the overpowering effect that makes you think “Oh my gosh that is too much makeup.” Mascara is the perfect way for someone to look at you and say “Wow your eyes look really pretty today!”

What is your number one makeup tip/trick for keeping that Summer glow all year long?

Summer is always the perfect time to focus on keeping your skin looking flawless and experimenting with a single element of makeup. It’s not time for full face of make up – eyeshadow, liner, lipstick, blush – it’s more about focusing on one thing that you can bring out that is easy for summer and easy to withstand the heat. Foundation is great for keeping the skin light and simple. Try adding a liquid highlighter to make your skin more radiant. I would recommend a playful, bold lip shade (try Clinique’s Chubbystick) or a colorful eyeliner that will withstand the summer months but also make a statement on your face. Don’t go for anything serious or heavy.  Fresh, clean and beautiful is what I strive for when doing summer makeup!

A playful list of products to get that perfect summer glow:

Super City Block SPF 40

Clinique Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Even Better Makeup

Uplighting Liquid Highlighter-Natural or Bronze

Super Balanced Powder Bronzer

Chubby Stick in Pudgy Peony

Blushwear Cream Stick in Glow or Blushing Blush in Aglow

Brush on Cream Liner or Quickliner for Eyes Intense

Lidsmoothie in Pinko Biloba or Cashew Later


Check out all of Jenna’s work on her website!

Meet the People: Cleo

Meet the People: Cleo

Over the next few weeks, we will be profiling each cast member from the Live Your Life campaign. The blog posts were written & photos were captured by Leanne F., who traveled with the crew during the shoot to document the experience.


Cleo in her dorm room during the Live Your Life shoot.

We met Cleo that morning in her dorm room. It was fun to be in the college world and everyone in the hallway was very curious of what we were doing there. Cleo lives with one roommate in her room but they have a suite with a couple other girls. It’s nearing the end of their freshman year and they will part ways, but Cleo has a lifetime of exciting things in her future, starting with her summer plans to head off to Amman, Jordan to study with Columbia’s Intensive Arabic Language program. This girl is going places… literally!

A behind the scenes photo from Cleo’s Live Your Life shoot.

Cleo wants to change the world. You can feel it as soon as you talk to her and I think she will! Cleo is a freshman studying Foreign Affairs at Columbia so that she can get the education to start to help others. The day before we shot her she had just gotten back from Doha, Qatar where she went to TEDxSummit with her school internship. TED is a nonprofit organization that spreads ideas, knowledge, and inspiration. Cleo is a Columbia representative for the organization, spending a couple hours a week there. Pretty amazing! Actually that is a good description for Cleo in general – pretty and amazing. She is driven to work hard, learn, and to improve the lives of others. She is naturally so pretty, too!

Watch below to learn more about Cleo:



Get to know Cleo and see some of her favorite AE styles on our Pinterest board.

Meet the People: Sammy

Meet the People: Sammy

Over the next few weeks, we will be profiling each cast member from the Live Your Life campaign. The blog posts were written & photos were captured by Leanne F., who traveled with the crew during the shoot to document the experience.

Sammy at home during the Live Your Life shoot.

After an hour ride out of Manhattan, we arrived very early in the morning to an amazing old gym where Sammy likes to practice basketball that she said was her favorite place to hang out. Dance and rap music was blasting out of the speakers and a couple friends were playing basketball – sure seemed like a good hang out to me. Sammy has been playing basketball since she was in the first grade and was even on the Rosie O’Donnell Show as a kid because she was the only girl on  the little league football team!  Sammy just got drafted to play in the WNBA to play for the Phoenix Mercury. We are in the midst of a celebrity here! Pretty amazing. Judging by her bedroom, she is definitely living her dream. Her walls are filled with pictures of famous basketball players and inspirational posters.

Sammy’s inspirations on her bedroom wall.

Sammy is so sweet and she makes me want to be more active. I even grabbed a basketball and tried to beat the Creative Directors at a game of ball.  After some time at the gym, we went back to Sammy’s house, where her mom greeted us with homemade chocolate chip cookies. Sammy loves sweets, and judging by the empty tray of cookies, so does the crew! Luckily we worked the cookie calories off playing basketball and dancing all day.

A behind the scenes photo from Sammy’s Live Your Life shoot.

Watch below to learn more about Sammy:

Get to know Sammy and see some of her favorite AE styles on our Pinterest board.

Meet the People: Frankie

Meet the People: Frankie

Over the next few weeks, we will be profiling each cast member from the Live Your Life campaign. The blog posts were written & photos were captured by Leanne F., who traveled with the crew during the shoot to document the experience.

Frankie is beyond cool:  he is the definition of cool. He was super quiet until we got him talking about the things he loves. Frankie loves bikes, art, tattoos, “The Clash”, and his musical request for the shoot and general hero, Iggy Pop.

Frankie and his father during the Live Your Life shoot.

Frankie grew up around motorcycles. Right now he is working on a 1940 Harley Davidson with his famous Biker grandpa, the guy who started Easy Rider Magazine, K. Randall Ball. He is going to race the motorcycle at the Bonneville Salt Flats in September! If he wins, he and his grandfather will have rebuilt the fastest bike in its class in the world.


A behind the scenes photo from Frankie’s Live Your Life shoot.

His hair was greased and slicked back, the way he has always worn it- it’s how his parents combed it for him as a little kid and he just kept it going. His arms and chest seem to be on the way to being filled up with tattoos, and considering he is a tattoo artist, that makes sense. We were hanging out outside while he leaned on his motorcycle and explained the ins and outs of the tattoo business. I personally am tattoo free, but if I was going to get one, you better believe he would be my guy.


Frankie shoes off a few of his tattoos.

While we were shooting Frankie we were trying to get him to smile every once in a while so I asked him, “Hey Frankie, what do you think about girls?”  He didn’t even flinch before smiling and answering, “They smell good.” Coolest answer ever.

Watch below to learn more about Frankie:

Get to know Frankie and see some of his favorite AE styles on our Pinterest board.

AE Friends and Family: Meet Lauren R.

AE Friends and Family: Meet Lauren R.

Lauren R., Manager of Direct Business Strategies, travels from photo shoots all over the world to the AE Photo Studio to make sure that the right products are seen in our marketing materials. We sat down with Lauren to learn a little bit more about her (and learned a great new joke!) and what she does at AE.

What is your background?

I went to Miami University of Ohio. I had an amazing three years and immediately came to work for AE.  AE recruits at Miami, which is how I got my job.

What does your job at AE entail?

Currently I’m the Manager of Direct Business Strategies, which means I’m responsible for managing the way our marketing partners show our product and how it’s outfitted.  I work for both AE and Aerie, ensuring we have the right product highlighted on the website through marketing, trend guides and overall outfitting in our photo shoots & photo studio shoots. It’s a pretty sweet gig! I landed this role a few months ago.  Previously, I was the Manager of Women’s Business Strategies and prior to that I was on the Women’s Merchandising team as the Sr. Assistant in T’s and Polo’s.

A photo of Lauren on top of a goose on her birthday.

Lauren celebrated her birthday last year at our Spring photo shoot in Palm Springs!

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love that I get to work with different people and everything is a team effort.  Don’t get me wrong, I have my sole responsibilities, but at the end of the day everything we do around here is usually done as a team.  Being at a company with people my age helps me get through some of the demanding challenges I face. Retail is crazy, so it’s nice to have a little fun relief throughout the day.

What is the coolest place you have traveled for your job with AE?

Not Costa Rica, not Alaska, and not Palms Springs… I’d have to say Nashville!  I met a lot of great people on that shoot, including my boyfriend!

Lauren and her boyfriend, who she met on our 2011 Back to School photo shoot in Nashville, TN.

What was your role during the Back to School shoot?

I was responsible for building outfits with the stylist and managing those outfits on location, ensuring we capture the looks and product shots necessary for the season.  Shooting on real people in that many different locations meant changes and reactions to our situation, so I had to be there to make decisions based on those challenges.

What was your favorite part of the Back to School shoot?

Meeting so many new people was the best part.  Obviously hanging out in fun cities for a month was a perk, too.

If you weren’t working at AE, what would you want to be doing?

Teaching myself how to cook and working on my watercolors.

How would you describe your personal fashion?

Awesome. Or… a little flowy, loads of jewelry, grown out highlights, and great shoes.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I love Pinterest.  It’s so great to get different ideas from so many people, instead of one resource.  I could look at it all day:  style, food, crafts, decorating… it’s endless.

Lauren’s dog, Lottie Moon.

Do you have any cool interests or hobbies?

My dog, antiquing, under the sea creatures, my new apartment, Parks & Rec, unsuccessfully baking, shopping, driving to Ohio, watching terrible movies (thanks to my boyfriend, Drew) and telling great jokes.  Have you heard this one?

Why was the baby blanket sad?

…It was a little down!

Meet the People: Jules

Meet the People: Jules

Over the next few weeks, we will be profiling each cast member from the Live Your Life campaign. The blog posts were written & photos were captured by Leanne F., who traveled with the crew during the shoot to document the experience.

We arrived at Jules’ house to shoot her in some cute new AE back to school clothes and just dove right in! Jules is a fashion blogger, and her blog, Sincerely Jules, is one of my favorites. She was a great hostess, offering us something to drink. She even picked me an orange off the tree in her front yard.

Jules at home in her room in Silverlake.

Jules lives in Silverlake, CA outside of LA with her parents and has fixed her room up to be a serious girl’s clubhouse. All of her clothes are hung neatly in rainbow order, her jewelry acts as art (out for display and easy access), and her shoes show themselves off on the wall near her bed! I loved was that she had fresh cut flowers all over her house.


Who wouldn’t want a fashion blogger’s closet?

The crew rolled in with a bunch of fun clothes for her to try on. Jules picked out some looks she created for herself (she is a fashion blogger after all, we knew we could trust her!) and put on a few looks that Katelyn, the AE stylist, put together. It was fun to see her work and help in the whole photo shoot process.  She even braided her own hair for us in her signature Jules fishtail braid.


Jules shows off her signature fishtail braid.

Her favorite look was the red and purple striped sweater. When I asked her how she felt in American Eagle she got this big smile on her face, “I love comfortable, effortless style,” she said. “I love to throw something easy on, but it always has to have a little oomph. I love these clothes!” She wanted to tweet a picture of her cute looks right then and there for her followers, but we told her she had to keep it a fashion secret for a little while longer!


We adore Jules’s inspiration board!

After talking to Jules about her daily schedule, her career choice, and her followers, I told her it sounded like she was in a blogging secret society! They meet for lunch, they read each other’s blogs, they share tips, go to amazing events together, and they support each other! This girl has been asked to do everything girls only dream of: she’s attended New York & LA fashion weeks, had dinners with designers, and attended private parties at designer’s homes.


Watch below to learn more about Jules:

Get to know Jules and see some of her favorite AE styles on our Pinterest board.