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Daniel Chávez sees himself empowering women and their make-up as he travels the globe for Smashbox Cosmetics by Jack Yan

From issue 21 of Lucire


SMASHBOXS Daniel Chavez is exactly how I imagined him to be after reading his bio. As the man behind Smashbox Cosmetics’ international artistry and education—Chavez appears on the home-shopping networks around the world repping the brand—I pictured an outgoing man, a great speaker and a quick talker, driven by his passion for the product.
   Chavez has his fans. Go online and you’ll find conversations dedicated to the man and his make-up expertise, and comparisons with Timber Gooding, who appeared on the shopping channel QVC before him. ‘Daniel seems a fun sort of guy,’ commented one viewer.
   Visiting New Zealand for the first time, Chavez was impressed with the country’s attitude. Prior to his visit to New Zealand, Australia was a favourite for the make-up expert; no wonder, given that northern California is his real home. Because of the similarity in cultures, he understands the antipodean attitude, and was enjoying his first week in Auckland.
   He has been at Smashbox longer than almost everyone, ‘except [founders] Dean and Davis [Factor—see Lucire March 2006],’ he proudly states. After nine years at Smashbox, we can only think of Holly Mordini, who appears on QVC in the United States, as having a longer service than Chavez, by one year.
   The story began with Chavez, a competitive ballroom dancer, wanting a bit of extra money for competitions, and he spotted an opportunity at Smashbox. ‘I have seen this company grow. I ran their first counter in San Francisco. There were 38 kinds of nail polish—now, we do not even carry it.
   ‘We did not want to be the same as everyone else. [Therefore,] I liked Smashbox: it had a story. It had a photographic studio. There was no age limit. It was very fashion-forward and was for the everyday make-up user,’ he says.
   It’s that everyday nature that has made Smashbox a hit. Chavez once told Irish television that he had tips for glamourizing a woman’s look in under five minutes, a claim we had to take, after witnessing hundreds (if not thousands) of make-up sessions over the years. But Chavez defends this—and has proven it on television.
   While one needs some knowledge of make-up, he says that he would not have made the claim if he did not believe it.
   ‘Smashbox makes it easy with make-up application. I show as much as I can with the video demonstration. We give you the tools to make application effortless. We always work the same way,’ he says.
   It’s that almost-modular approach to make-up that Chavez believes is about ‘empowering women to do it themselves.’
   Although a few enjoy the pampering and Chavez has delivered. ‘I’ve worked on everyone from Julia Roberts to Hilary Duff.’ And for about 10 times, he had worked on his ‘favourite,’ Carmen Electra. ‘But Carmen has signed with Max Factor’—which means she has to work with Max Factor’s make-up artists, according to Chavez.
   Outside the celebrity world, Chavez is a well travelled man as he goes around the world with his infectious love for the Smashbox brand. He appears on QVC in the UK (previously in the US), TVSN in Australia (five times a year), and QVC Japan (four times). He will appear on a Korean equivalent.
   Chavez notes the difference in consumer purchases depending on the nation. In Korea, he finds that buyers tend to buy kits. ‘Anti-shine primer, concealer, powder, foundation—they buy all in one go,’ he recalls. In Japan, ‘Women love make-up.’
   He continues, ‘They are not used to someone like me. I’m so out there. After they saw me, the hosts wanted me to do their own make-up. There was a line outside!’
   He credits his outspoken nature as how he bridges cultures: despite a Spanish surname, Chavez does not speak much of that language, and Japanese and Korean TV sees him speaking English. But he knows what he is talking about—‘people trust and understand me. I have enthusiasm, and make-up should not be a chore.
   ‘Dean Factor said that I was "more passionate about the brand than we [Dean and Davis] are."’
   Make-up, he believes, should never put women into a ‘rut,’ and that his demonstrations lead them to think, ‘Let’s just try it,’ he says.
   He sees his future continuing with Smashbox, and has moved to Los Angeles to be closer to the head office. When Lucire interviewed him, he had been there for around one month—as in, he moved there a month ago, but hadn’t had time to chill out in his new home. In fact, he wasn’t even sure of where he could eat out, given that northern and southern California might as well be two different countries in their outlook.
   ‘I am in Venice Beach, which is the most diverse part, but I travel 95 per cent of my life.’
   However, by being at Smashbox Studios, Chavez can feed back his findings from his travels immediately into the new product development process. ‘At the Studios, I can make more decisions: creating more lipsticks, foundations, etc.’
   It would not be unfair to say he is Smashbox’s product-development czar. ‘I put all the colour kits together. I have to believe in it 100 per cent.’ He has full creative control over his work.
   He is particularly proud of Smashbox and its independent nature. ‘They were approached by Leonard Lauder himself, and by Lancôme. Other brands have sold out, but Dean and Davis have 100 per cent. They believe in the brand.’•

Daniel Chavez


‘They are not used to someone like me. I’m so out there. After they saw me, the hosts wanted me to do their own make-up. There was a line outside!’

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