We had the good fortune of connecting with Maria Pecoraro and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Maria, how do you think about risk?
I don’t think of myself as a risk-taker. But hindsight is 20/20, right? And if I think about all of the decisions I’ve ever made related to my career, they all involved risk. Risk taking is inevitable when building a brand or business or anything for that matter. You have no idea how it is going to turn out, but that’s the risk you take. Every choice and every decision has zero guarantees. You risk failing as much as you risk succeeding. If you never take the risk, you’ll never know and you’ll never grow. I like to look at taking risks as simply as stepping out in faith. The word “risk”, in my mind, sounds kind of negative, and I’m a positive person so it’s not a part of my vocabulary. It’s like having that constant “what if” taking up space in your brain. What if things go wrong? What if it doesn’t work out? I like to think of it in this way, “what if it does work out, wouldn’t that be amazing?” In fact, I know it will work out because it always does. Even when it is unpleasant, you know it is a part of the process and a necessary step towards attaining your goals. If you want something bad enough, you will get it, but not without taking the risk. Nothing is handed to you, and if it is, you didn’t earn it. And if you didn’t earn it, you will not respect it and you will fall short. Why? Because it was not meant for you, and you will find you were not ready or prepared. Right now, in my career as a makeup artist, I’ve taken the biggest risk I have ever taken. I walked away from everything I’ve ever achieved over the span of 15 years, which was on the East Coast, and moved to the West Coast. I moved to Los Angeles, specifically, knowing no one and without opportunity. I stepped out in faith and have thrown myself in the pool of artists hoping that I will swim. And I will swim because sinking is not an option. “What if I swim?”, I say to myself. Where will it take me? I don’t know, but it sure is exciting, and I can’t wait to find out.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
For me, being an artist was innate. Deciding on how I wanted to express my art came when I was a teenager. I transitioned from drawing on paper to drawing on my face using makeup as my medium. I practiced and practiced and bought more makeup to practice. I bought countless books about how to apply makeup and never read a word. I didn’t have the patience or desire to read about it. I bought them to look at the pictures and recreate what I saw. Much of what I did was done by not knowing why I did what I did. I just did it, and it looked good. Growing up in New Jersey, there wasn’t much by way of careers in makeup unless you wanted to work for Mary Kay or at a makeup counter at the local department store. My parents discouraged me from those options and encouraged me to pursue college. I never liked school and, therefore, failed out my first year. I then settled on a business school. After graduation, I began working for a Fortune 500 company, which I am so glad I did. The skills I learned from working for a professional corporation helped shape me into the professional makeup artist I am today. Being a professional in your career goes well beyond the advanced knowledge you have about your profession. It’s about the manner in which you carry yourself, conduct yourself, and how you deliver the service you provide. This is what I believe sets me apart from the rest. Yet the road to get here wasn’t easy. It took a side hustle while working full time. It took hearing “No” more times than being told “Yes”. It took not getting paid, low pay, and 16+ hour days of work that was not fun. It took doors closing as fast as they opened, and when that happened, never giving up. When it’s your passion, you’ll do whatever it takes because you know this is what you were born to do. And today I have all of that experience to thank for the artist I am today. Oddly enough, at this point in my career, I am so far and, at the same time, so close to where I want to be. It took giving up everything that I knew provided security, moving across the country, and pursuing what I’ve been dreaming of to get me to where I am today. I keep hearing this all over Tik Tok, “slowly is the fastest way to get there.” This couldn’t be more true. As a society, we are very inpatient and try to rush the reward. When we do that it never works out. If you stay patient and take everything as it comes before you know it you’ll find yourself in the middle of where you want to be.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m new to LA, like brand spanking new. I know very little, but I do believe I’ve uncovered some hidden gems as far as dining goes. I live in The Valley and work all over Los Angeles so I do get around. Malibu is one of my favorite places. We would spend the day at the beach before heading over to the Malibu Seafood Shack for some of the freshest seafood. If you needed a little retail therapy, I’d take you to the Malibu Country Mart where you could find some unique shops as well as some of your familiar favorites. And for dinner we would take a short drive through the canyons to Calabasas for some of the best sushi at the hidden gem, Shibuya. Beverly Hills and West Hollywood are two of my favorite places for people watching and self care treatments. We would grab our morning coffee at Verve and maybe get an ear piercing or two at Ancient Adornments. I would definitiely talk you into freshening up that cut with one of the stylists at the Andy Lecompte Salon before dragging you to Sugared LA for all your waxing needs. Dan Tana’s is where we’d end up for dinner. I’m half italian so naturally I’d want you to experience great italian food at this iconic restaurant. I would also see if you’re into maybe roller skating… I haven’t been to one of the outdoor skating areas, but I’d love for us to find one so we could boogie on down. They look super fun.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband, Cris, deserves a shoutout for his support and allowing me to pursue my dreams. He supports every idea I have because he believes in me. He has seen me go after everything I have ever wanted to do and achieve it. Sometimes he gets grumpy with the process, but he has the patience to see it through. I honestly could not have achieved anything without his love and support.


Website: https://www.mariapecoraro.net

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mariapecoraromakeup

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariapecoraro/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mariapecoraromakeup/

Other: Tik Tok: https://www.tiktok.com/@mariapecoraromakeup

Image Credits
@clint Clint Robert @alexstonephoto Alex Stone @wikkiehermkens_photo Wikkie Hermkens @marta_skovro Marta Skovro @miramarphoto Hanna Snyder @veronicasams Veronica Sams @a.la.cho Ala Cho

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