The Makeup By Mario x Sephora collection is one of only two collaborations Dedivanovic agreed to this year – the other being the KKW Beauty x Mario eyeshadow palette with his longtime client, friend and muse Kim Kardashian West. The Sephora collection is also the last collaboration Dedivanovic will do before launching his own line in 2020.
“I have an extremely important and meaningful bond to this company,” he tells us of his decision to work with Sephora. “It’s where I discovered my talent. I really feel indebted to them; I know that I would not even be alive had I not discovered them when I did, because it changed my life.”
Dedivanovic started off his career as a fragrance consultant and greeter at Sephora after graduating high school. “Prior to Sephora, I was confused,” says Dedivanovic. “I was in this little prison I had created in my mind.”
Getting the job did not come easy for Dedivanovic. When he didn’t hear back from the brand after submitting his application at a local store, he went to the New York Public Library and found the number for Sephora head office in Paris. (Dedivanovic suspects his mother asked the store not to give him the job.) He connected with a woman there who agreed to meet with him. “She was like, ‘What experience do you have?’ and I said ‘Oh, well, I made pretzels and I sold Icees and I bussed tables,” he recalls, laughing.
“I had left, sadly, all of my friends from high school. Everything that I thought I loved or that I was close to, I just shunned completely. I went full force into Sephora. I built a new circle of people that I could be myself with and that I knew wouldn’t judge me. I had this fear of being disowned and not being loved back by the people that you love so much. It creates a lot of chaos in your head, and when you’re young, that’s scary, because you can go to very dark places and try to do very dark things to erase those feelings. Sephora was for me, at that time in particular, life saving because I met all these new friends and I found this new passion that I immersed myself into.”
In November, Dedivanovic publicly came out as gay in his acceptance speech for the Artistic Achievement Award at the 2019 American Influencer Awards. “It’s been incredible,” says Dedivanovic of life after the announcement. “Every day since then, has been an awakening. I’m not insecure. Even today, I’m looking at myself and I’m shocked that my hair is not spiked up with all this glue. I can now leave my house and not put all this gunk in my hair and still be confident.”
“Even with my body: I was so conscious my nose, I was going to get a nose job,” he adds. “Thank god I did not do that, I would have been so upset at myself today if I had done that a couple of months ago. It was in my search for finding happiness. But I realized that that’s not happiness. I love my nose now.”
There are 13 eye and complexion brushes in the complete Makeup By Mario x Sephora set; all are made of synthetic bristles. It was a welcome challenge for Dedivanovic, who traditionally uses handmade Japanese brushes, to design. The main difference between synthetic and natural-hair brushes is the density. “The density of hair in synthetic brushes is traditionally very compact and tight, so when you put it in a product and then on your face, it almost puts too much product on in one spot and then not enough,” he explains. He worked closely with Sephora to ensure the brushes were the ideal density for even product distribution.
Creating the line also helped Dedivanovic edit down his own brush wardrobe. “I have always brought hundreds of brushes with me and I thought I needed them because I use them all,” he says. “Well, I was using a lot of the same brushes for different parts of the face. Now I do not have to lug around all those brushes all over the world.”
Watch Dedivanovic demonstrate how to use all of the makeup brushes in the Makeup By Mario x Sephora collection below.
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