It’s 4:30pm in Israel.  And although Shahar Gerbi is halfway around the world, it’s clear; her heart is in NYC.

“I had tears in my eyes when I boarded my flight home.” says Gerbi.  Faced with the growing COVID-19 pandemic, Shahar decided to leave New York in early March and return to Israel before the international travel ban would make it impossible to return home to see her family. 

“It was certainly a tough decision, because I had just completed the Master Program at The Makeup Academy of NYC by Nina Mua in February.  I was already making connections and doing projects when everything just stopped.” 

But little did Shahar know, the last project she worked on before leaving NYC would be a game changer for her new career.


Shahar with one of her lead instructors, Roxie Benz

Shahar with one of her lead instructors, Roxie Benz

“She was a very self-motivated student,” says Roxie Benz, professional MUA and instructor at The Makeup Academy NYC.  “She was curious, always wanted feedback and has an attention for little details.  We really connected in the classroom.”

Roxie, a certified MUA and licensed cosmetologist with a full book of personal clients and projects, found a passion for teaching when she joined the Makeup Academy’s team of instructors.

“The one thing I stress over and over again in the classroom is ‘teamwork.’” says Benz.

“The success you have as a makeup artist relies heavily on the connections you make and your ability to work in a team setting.  Whether you are interested in editorial, film and tv, or even bridal, you work with photographers, hair stylists, and every other part of what it takes to bring a look together.”

So in February, when recent graduate Shahar reached out to her former instructor to assist on an editorial shoot, Roxie jumped at the chance. “Their victories are our victories.  Shahar was a go-getter from day one.  She worked hard on building relationships with photographers and models.  This opportunity was a big deal for her.  I was happy to help.”

Shahar had secured an editorial shoot with a photographer willing to collaborate with her on a design idea.  “I had a vision for this shoot, and the photographer said let’s do it.  We booked a studio, hired a model and Roxie agreed to style the hair.  It all came together so quickly.” says Shahar. And despite, her original model canceling last minute, through connections she was able to find another to get the editorial shoot done.

“It was stressful, but so exciting and rewarding to see the images we created.” says Shahar.  “All that was left now was to submit the work for, hopefully, publishing. 

As a makeup artist, being “published” is a big deal.  There are no guarantees your submission will be chosen, and you are competing with submissions from around the world.  Even if you make it into the publication, you could be placed anywhere in the layout of the magazine the editors choose.     “It’s just a ‘wait and see’ game after you send the submission.” says Sharar.

But it’s a gamble that paid off.  Sharar got the news her images would be published in the May issue of Moevir Magazine, a French art and fashion publication.  And, not only would her photos be included in a spread, she got the cover. 


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“I was over the moon!” says Shahar.  “I really put a lot of hard work into creating this look and getting the editorial shoot done and submitted.  As a newer MUA, it really validated my decision to take this path with my career.”

“It’s a really great moment for all of us.” says Roxie. “Knowing you were part of a collaboration that made the cover of a fashion magazine is exciting for anyone!  It’s even more special for me, knowing it’s my student who did the makeup.”

As for Shahar, until the pandemic subsides she is working in Israel on photo shoots and other projects continuing to grow her skills.  “I am absolutely returning to NYC when possible.” says Shahar.  “It’s been a life long dream of mine to work and live there. Now that I know I can do it, nothing can stop me.”


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