Episode 35

 

Meet Tim Quinn. VP Creative Artistry of Armani Beauty at L’Oreal. Listen as he describes how after living out of a suitcase for 16 years as a celebrity makeup artist, it was a Cancer diagnosis that helped him reconfirm his career path.

 

Announcer

Welcome to Where Brains Meet Beauty, hosted by Jodi Katz, founder and creative director of Base Beauty Creative Agency.

Jodi Katz

Hey, everybody. It’s Jodi Katz, again, here with Where Brains Meet Beauty, the podcast. Today, I’m excited to say we’re joined by Tim Quinn. He is the VP Creative Artistry of Armani Beauty at L’Oreal. Welcome to Where Brains Meet Beauty.

Tim Quinn

Hey, good morning. Thank you.

Jodi Katz

It’s so nice to meet you face-to-face.

Tim Quinn

I know. I feel like I know you already.

Jodi Katz

Well, we need to get a shout-out to Jenny, our mutual friend-

Tim Quinn

I know-

Jodi Katz

… who connected us together.

Tim Quinn

Oh my gosh, she’s going to kill me. I was in West Chester again and didn’t call her.

Jodi Katz

She’s a friend of yours for a long time and mine for a long time as well and I want to thank her for connecting us together.

Tim Quinn

Yeah, she’s so cool.

Jodi Katz

You’re a very interesting story, Tim, and we probably don’t have enough time to give it justice, but let’s start with the simple stuff. What is it that you do now as a VP of Creative Artistry?

Tim Quinn

My job is mainly in the US. I’m kind of like the front man for the beauty brand. I do all our press and PR and all things like that. I’m a makeup artist, essentially, so I’m the makeup artist for the US. I do our celebrities. I do personal appearances in the stores. I work and train with some our younger artists coming up. Depends on the day. It changes from moment to moment.

Jodi Katz

How often are you traveling for this job?

Tim Quinn

Oh, pretty much every day. In the last two weeks I’ve been from Milan to New York to Boca to San Francisco, back to Connecticut to speak and then to San Diego and now here.

Jodi Katz

This has been your lifestyle for quite some time, right?

Tim Quinn

For the last 16 years.

Jodi Katz

For those 16 years you live out of a suitcase?

Tim Quinn

Pretty much, pretty much.

Jodi Katz

You have your favorite hotels in the cities that you visit often.

Tim Quinn

Oh, absolutely.

Jodi Katz

Mm-hmm (affirmative). What does that do to you? How do you manage that constant movement as just like inside your soul? How do you deal with it?

Tim Quinn

Oh. Well, I find actually it’s when I stop moving I kind of have the trouble. I’ve been really fortunate. I have amazing friends, pretty much all over the world. There’s virtually nowhere I go that I don’t have somebody I can have dinner with or catch up with. I find that, to me, really exciting because it’s kind of like you’re in people’s lives, but not really. When you pop back in it’s like you’re always excited to see someone you haven’t seen in a while. I never get too tiresome on people I think.

Jodi Katz

I would assume that when you see your friends again after it’s been a year or six months, it’s like you picked up where you left off?

Tim Quinn

Oh, absolutely. Of course, it’s so much easier now because of social media. You don’t feel like you’re ever really far away from someone. Facebook, Instagram, whatever, you kind of know they’re life, but when you’re actually there in person it’s much more fun.

Jodi Katz

From a makeup artist’s perspective, I’d assume that many of our listeners who are makeup artists would see that your job is sort of the dream job. Right?

Tim Quinn

Right. Right.

Jodi Katz

You’re hired and paid for your expertise and your focus. It’s not like the life a freelance makeup artist anymore. Right?

Tim Quinn

Right. Right. I think because I get asked that question a lot, especially we do a beauty [inaudible 00:03:18] once a year for all of our makeup artists, to me, it’s a total dream job. There’s so many benefits of being freelance, but there’s also this comfort [inaudible 00:03:26]. You know what I mean? I don’t worry about booking another job or you don’t have to hustle so much.

Jodi Katz

Right. Just yesterday, I interviewed for the podcast Linda Mason, who is a long time makeup artist. She was in the 70s doing this stuff. We spoke about the lifestyle of a freelancer and I speak about it with the makeup artists we hire. It’s taxing. Right? You always have to be ready to go, but you don’t know when your next job is.

Tim Quinn

Yeah and you don’t know what it might be or if it’s coming. You have to always be ni … You have to always be nice in my job as well, but you never want to offend anybody because you don’t know if that might be your next booking. You know?

Jodi Katz

That’s right. Right. Let’s talk a little bit about the job as makeup artist for Armani. You work on famous faces. Do you still get excited to meet famous people or does it feel like an everyday kind of thing at this point?

Tim Quinn

Honestly, sometimes I feel like it’s just another client, but there are certain people I get a little dumbstruck by or something. It’s more not because of their star quality, it’s because you get to see who they really are beyond all that stuff. I think that’s one of the dream things about being a makeup artist is, whoever the client is. Once you start interacting with them, you get to really weed through all the artifice and see who that little person is inside that’s so amazing.

Jodi Katz

Right. I love this idea of the fact that you get to see the human side of these people that we only see the shiny picture.

Tim Quinn

Yeah, yeah. That’s why a lot of times you have to sign nondisclosures and things. Sometimes you see a little too much human, but it’s definitely … It’s a really fun … It’s like being a therapist in a way.

Jodi Katz

Yes, I would assume, and tell me if I’m right, that everybody who sits in your chair gets a little bit of that moment of like, “Well, this isn’t right,” or “This feels weird for me now.” They kind of show their insecurities or-

Tim Quinn

Oh, oh. 100%. Part of … I think one of the thing that I’ve been able to develop that I’m so good at is kind of reading the vibe, rather than trying to force something. I’m not the kind of artist that you’re going to get my image of you whether you like it or now. You know?

Jodi Katz

Right.

Tim Quinn

It’s got to be somewhat a partnership because you’re dealing with somebody who’s been living with that face for 30, 40, 50 years. They don’t necessarily want to reinvent it for the one moment.

Jodi Katz

It’s such an intimate experience. Right?

Tim Quinn

Oh, 100%.

Jodi Katz

Between makeup artists and client.

Tim Quinn

They’re letting you see them without all that … Especially, with celebrities. They’re so controlling of their image. Sometimes I walk in … I’ve walked past somebody who opened the door and didn’t realize it was actually the person I was there working on.

Jodi Katz

Right. What is the experience when it’s just a regular person at a department store who sits down in your chair? Is it very different?

Tim Quinn

It’s different only in that we’re all human. Those women that you usually come to see me when I do these personal appearances come with more a specific thing in mind, whether it’s they want to improve their appearance. Maybe their going through … More times than not, there’s something happening in their life that they need to change, whether it’s divorce or they met a new guy or they’re going through a sickness or they’re recovering. There’s usually some underlying reason and to me that’s always the most interesting thing is to have those few moments to connect and figure out what that is. Then, of course, there’s always a million beauty questions.

Jodi Katz

Right. That’s so cool. Let’s talk about your story. How is it that you became a makeup artist?

Tim Quinn

100% not clear. I think even when we chatted, I don’t know that it was ever like a dream of mine, we’ll say. I went to school and I had a degree in economics and when I graduated … I do remember that I did go on an interview for one of the cosmetic companies. I thought, “Oh, that’d be kinda cool.” At the time, I had a fiance and she thought that would not be cool. I ended up working for Merrill Lynch. I went and did that for a couple of years. It wasn’t really for me. Then, as you know, just as I started to develop my personality I realized there was a whole world out there. I dove into … I actually bought an ice cream store in Florida, which was a stupid mistake.

Jodi Katz

You owned an ice cream store in Florida?

Tim Quinn

Isn’t that funny?

Jodi Katz

You were the operator? You were scooping ice cream?

Tim Quinn

Well, yes and no. It was one of those homemade with those churn things or whatever. One of my college roommates came down. He was kind of into it. In my head I was just like, “Oh, I’ll just have that happening during the day, hire kids, whatever, and go play tennis.” That was really not-

Jodi Katz

I actually think it’s a really good plan.

Tim Quinn

It sounds it, but from going … Working at Merrill Lynch where it was like you’re constantly stimulated and, of course, not that kind of stimulation now that I would be interested in, to then people on vacation coming in to get the perfect cone. I was like, “This could not be my life forever.” I kind of ran away from that. I ended up in Milan, I can’t even remember what year. That’s where this whole other world opened up to me.

Jodi Katz

Wait. Okay. Let’s go back. You ended up in Milan. What does that mean?

Tim Quinn

I had the ice cream store. I can’t remember exactly how all the timing worked. My fiance and I broke up. Of course, then within a year or two I soon discovered that was not the path I wanted. I had gone back to Connecticut. I was kind of bouncing around trying to figure out what I was going to do next. I was modeling. I thought, “You know, what’s the harm in going to Italy?” I’d never actually been there. I was there for quite some time and having fun and-

Jodi Katz

You were just going there for vacation-

Tim Quinn

I was going there to work. I thought, “I really wanna be a model.”

Jodi Katz

Oh, okay.

Tim Quinn

When I got there I didn’t … There was this whole world of photography and makeup artists and the hair stylists and I started to develop a little more diverse group of friends. I thought, “Well, this is really more my speed, you know, like I could be in this world.” I just started saying, “Yes,” if somebody asked me could I do something. I was a PA here. I went and worked on the Espy Awards … The first extreme games in Rhode Island as a PA. I came back. One time somebody asked me if I could do makeup for Lancome for this big event. They needed a guy because somebody was sick or whatever. I’m like, “Oh, yeah-

Jodi Katz

What do you mean do makeup? Like be the makeup artist?

Tim Quinn

A person, at that time, is like the national mega person something for Lancome.

Jodi Katz

But you weren’t a makeup artist at that point?

Tim Quinn

Not really. I was kind of learning behind the scenes, but more like, when you’re assisting it’s different. Also, doing editorial and runway is totally different than makeup at a department store because the real aim is you’re obviously trying to sell.

Jodi Katz

Right.

Tim Quinn

I’m definitely not a salesperson, so I thought, “Well, this is never gonna work,” but they just wanted an image so they could present that. I would actually be with the client and the make up artist was standing behind them and would kind of guide me. Painting is painting, you’re going to make somebody look good. Once I kind of got the hang of it, but it was hard because I didn’t know the product. I’d pick something up and put the wrong mask on somebody or whatever.

Jodi Katz

Right. You were in Milan. You were there modeling, but then you picked up random jobs and you were basically like an apprenticing makeup artist because you were on sets so much?

Tim Quinn

Yeah and I like to learn. I’ve always been intrigued by movies. I never forget for the first thing [inaudible 00:10:20] “How do you like Marilyn’s eye?” Because she had the iconic eye look or whatever. Those little things were so much fun and I thought, “Well, I could see myself doing this.” Then, of course, I had to come back home because you can’t stay away forever. Things just started happening. People would ask me would … I did this one thing for Lancome. Then that kind of turned into I actually ended up being pretty good at it.

Jodi Katz

That was a paid job.

Tim Quinn

That was a paid job. Yeah.

Jodi Katz

You never went to school for being a makeup artist.

Tim Quinn

No. I apprenticed in Super Studios in Milan. I kind of just picked it up and I thought, “I could make this happen.” Then there was the Borghese, which is an Italian brand. My friend was the Head of Sales for it. He’s like, “Can’t you come do … ” They knew I was doing this thing for Lancome and I’m like, “Oh, yeah. I could totally do Borghese. It’s like really … I like the whole spa quality of it.” I started doing that. I really had fun with that. Then, one of my other friends is the Marketing Director of Jose Cuervo and she called me and said, “Could you come to L.A. and spend six months traveling in a hot air balloon and we’re doing like these amazing bar parties.” That was a time when the Macarena, that dance-

Jodi Katz

Wait a minute. Wait a minute. The call was come spend six months in a hot air balloon?

Tim Quinn

I mean not fully-

Jodi Katz

With a hot air balloon.

Tim Quinn

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Jodi Katz

Because this is a marketing initiative and they needed a makeup artist.

Tim Quinn

Right. Because what they were doing … All these things ended up coming full circle in my life, but at the time, 1800 the Cuervo was doing a promotion for Mexican art. The were promoting Mexican art in various … Actually, it wasn’t all just California, but that was [inaudible 00:11:54] What we’d do is we’d land in a hot air ballon and then we’d go to this amazing bar, restaurant, whatever and the artist would be and he’d have this big canvas and he’d started painting. If you wanted to join in on the canvas, you paid a donation which went to support the Mexican arts. At the end of the night, they’d auction off these marvelous canvases. It became like this cooperative thing. I think I thought it’d be fun because it’s kind of painting-

Jodi Katz

Why did they need a makeup artist?

Tim Quinn

They didn’t really. My friend who was the head of marketing for them thought I needed to get out of my life again. I could see where she thought I was going to get stuck. Not that there’s anything wrong with Connecticut, but she wanted me to keep exploring. Ooh, I just turned something on. I don’t know where that happened, but I did that for like … I don’t know how long it was. Then I ended up booking a movie off of it.

Jodi Katz

Okay, so you were a makeup artist in this hot air balloon in a marketing initiative-

Tim Quinn

Right.

Jodi Katz

This was actually happening.

Tim Quinn

I was doing this thing. Then I would some makeup on the side. My friend, Maura, who’s now produces the Espy Awards every year, her brother was producing a movie in L.A. She’s like, “Oh my god, you can stay and be the makeup artist [on it 00:12:59].” I was like, “All right,” which I did for about two minutes and realized that’s entirely not my world.

Jodi Katz

It sounds like your friends are really taking care of you and guiding you along through these opportunities.

Tim Quinn

Yeah. It was a Dream Ball fro cancer a few years back. I was a Dream Boy and I remember they asked me like, “What was your like your motto, you know, whatever?” I remember very clearly when I was a kid, my aunt from Florida gave me a t-shirt, bright yellow and it had a little ladybug walking across it and it said like, “I get by from a little help from my friends.” I kind of took that to heart because I feel like I developed these friendships all over. You like to be with people you like to be with.

Jodi Katz

Right.

Tim Quinn

Even with work now, I like to surround myself with people I can have fun with because it makes the job all that much more fun.

Jodi Katz

Of course. Sure.

Tim Quinn

That’s kind of what happened.

Jodi Katz

You worked on the film. Well, hot air balloon, film.

Tim Quinn

Did the film.

Jodi Katz

You are for sure legit working makeup artist.

Tim Quinn

Yeah. By taking those two jobs out of here, I kind of took myself out of Borghese awhile, so they were a little annoyed, but I thought maybe the movie thing will be really fun. I ended up being the production coordinator on the film-

Jodi Katz

Oh.

Tim Quinn

… because being a makeup artist on that film is so boring. Not to downplay it for somebody else, but for me I need to be stimulated all the time.

Jodi Katz

Because there’s so much downtime.

Tim Quinn

Oh my god, like 12 hours on a set out in the middle of a field. I’m like, “This is not gonna work.”

Jodi Katz

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim Quinn

But it was good because I kind of was able to find more of the niches I liked. The people I met, I met some actresses then. The star was Henry Thomas from E.T. These people started helping me find things that I might like to do and that’s kind of where it all came from.

Jodi Katz

You told me that you are a cancer survivor of 10 years.

Tim Quinn

Right.

Jodi Katz

I imagine your friends played in a role in your treatment and regimen while you were going through that. Can you give us a little background into what happened? I think this is going to resonate with a lot of our listeners.

Tim Quinn

Well, I find that, first of all, we have to listen to our bodies, which I didn’t do. I was traveling then just as much if not more. I kept having these sciatic pains. I’ll never forget. One of my friends in L.A., who produced a lot of TV shows, his father’s a doctor. Why would I go to a doctor? I’ll just talk to a friend whose father is one.

Jodi Katz

Right.

Tim Quinn

He said, “Oh, you probably have coach class syndrome.” I’m like, “What?” Because of sitting on planes so … I’m tall and I’m thin. I’m like, “Oh, all right.” I went to a doctor in Florida who gave me muscle relaxers, but in a month it went from, I was having shooting pains when I’d go running to I couldn’t sit still until I was in Milan … Now I was in Paris in Fashion Week and my leg collapsed. It was a very quick-

Jodi Katz

Oh my gosh.

Tim Quinn

… time frame.

Jodi Katz

You were at work or in a hotel room?

Tim Quinn

I was in the hotel getting ready for the show. I pulled the towel bar right out of the wall because the pain … Sciatic pain, I never had it before, but when it come on it’s so excruciating that it kind of catches you off guard. I literally just pulled the thing out. Then I had to call my friends back here in the US and say, “I think there’s a problem.” I have some amazing friends. Andrea Mitchell from NBC was incredible, she got me into UPenn, to see a neurologist, literally in a minute. I met with them. We got through the whole thing and they said, “Oh, you have a tumor,” but it was in my sacrum, “but it doesn’t seem pressing, it’s like not an emergency. Come back in a month,” so I went back to Florida, but in that month and this is what I’ve learned since. If your body’s tell you something, you have to tell the doctors. It’s to the point where I couldn’t even get off the floor. I was in so much pain. I couldn’t sit up. I couldn’t stand. I should’ve in retrospect called the doctor, “Oh, I think something’s wrong,” but instead I just waited for the date.

Jodi Katz

How old were you at this point?

Tim Quinn

Just about 40.

Jodi Katz

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim Quinn

Or 40. I think I was 40.

Jodi Katz

It was easy at that point just be like, “Well, whatever the doctor’s know what they’re doing and I’ll just wait.”

Tim Quinn

Yeah. I’d never been sick before. I never had any kind of issues. I don’t know, I guess in my head, it didn’t seem that odd. Plus, at this point they put my on Oxycontin, which kind of just makes your whole day go away. I don’t know how or why people would want to take it. Then finally the date arrive. I couldn’t get on a plane. I had to try and see … They were offering planes to get me there, but I was in so much pain. Plus, at this point, now I’m scared. I didn’t really want to leave my house.

Jodi Katz

Right.

Tim Quinn

I convinced my little brother … I traded in my car. When I went back later and found out they said it was the most bizarre thing they’d ever seen. I had a Jaguar that I loved. Apparently, I traded it in moment lying in the floor in a dealership on Mercedes wagon because I figured at least I could lay down and Michael could drive me.

Jodi Katz

Oh my goodness.

Tim Quinn

That’s what he-

Jodi Katz

You were in such desperation that you sought out a car, so that you can get driven to the hospital.

Tim Quinn

Mm-hmm (affirmative), but in my head … I’ve always been this kind of person even though I don’t know where it comes from, but I wanted everything to be fancy. I figured if this is my last road trip. I had a whole plan. I had all these amazing Hermes blankets and Ralph Lauren picnic ba … My brother who is so not that person, who knows Jenny quite well, was like, “Okay. I’m just gonna drive this nut there.”

Jodi Katz

Did you really think it might be your last car ride? Is that how big it was?

Tim Quinn

I think in my head, I did think there was something … I didn’t want to admit it, but I thought there was something really bad. I went to UPenn. They scheduled me for surgery. I went right in and [inaudible 00:18:14] my friends come through. I never asked for help in that level. I didn’t have anything that wrong before. I woke up and I had literally a sea of flowers. I was in the VIP room or whatever. The doctor came in and they thought they were just going to remove this tumor and I was going back to work in a week. That’s when he said, “Well, actually, it’s malignant. We’ve never seen anything like it and we couldn’t remove it,” because it was al around my main artery, so I would never walk-

Jodi Katz

Oh my God.

Tim Quinn

That’s when it really hit me.

Jodi Katz

You had surgery, but they didn’t actually remove anything.

Tim Quinn

They just ended up taking a small dissection. Mainly to biopsy and find out what it was. Just the little that they did remove helped it, so I actually could walk at least. Then they said, “We’ll figure it out.” I went back to Florida and all this time my partner in Boston kept saying, “Please just come to Boston, you know, we have the best hospitals. Come to the Cancer Center here, blah, blah, blah,” Because once we knew it was cancer…

I really didn’t want to because now I really thought like, “No. I’ve gotta get my affairs in order, like this is not a good sign.” Finally, I don’t remember how he finally convinced me to go. I did get on a plane and I ended up at Mass General and I walked in there, well, with crutches. Literally, in 20 minutes the doctor, Dr. Lee, who has become a very dear friend, said, “There’s something not right about what they’re telling you. Let me do another biopsy.” I was like, “Oh my god. I’m not going through surgery again.” But they did a needle-driven biopsy, so now I know so much about this I didn’t know, I never forget I went in with the little mask, they have a little mask for you when you get on the plane because I didn’t want to see the needle. Had a little stuffed animal.

In a day they had the diagnosis and it ended up being testicular cancer in my pelvis, which they weren’t looking for because I was not in the age range, kind of outside the age. I’ve learned now, I didn’t know that you could have breast cancer in your bones. I didn’t know it doesn’t all have to necessarily manifest where the name comes from.

Jodi Katz

Right.

Tim Quinn

Once they had the diagnosis and then I kind of knew what I was dealing with, just like anything, you can have a better plan. That’s how it all ended up.

Jodi Katz

What was the plan? What happened next.

Tim Quinn

I had to stay in Boston, which I really didn’t want to do because I like to be at the beach and whatever. I ended up taking a nine-week course of chemo. I’d be in the hospital for a week and then go home for two weeks, so your body basically kind of bounced back from the chemicals. Then I did that for nine weeks. Then I did a month of radiation. He was very clear. Dr. Lee was very clear that it was very treatable. They don’t use the word “cure” so much but he said, “I think you’re gonna be fine if we just … You’ll have to really battle through this.” I’m pretty strong about things. I didn’t like it. Having no hair and not being tan and being 30 pounds lighter, but I had this whole army of friends, who were so amazing.

This is 10 years ago, so we didn’t have Facebook, Instagram, all that. It was mainly like e-mail or phone. I was at L’Oreal. The HIPAA laws, they don’t allow you to … They can’t tell your coworkers what’s going on. All of a sudden I disappear for a year, but my sister was in charge of managing people. I gave her a notebook of e-mails of people. I’m like, “Just kind of keep them all kind of like loop because I don’t want to be answering questions all day because I was really pretty sick. What was funny was she did [inaudible 00:21:27] send a mass e-mail in the beginning to all these people who don’t know each other from really different worlds. From celebrity to high school friend to my housekeeper in Florida and aunt who I’ve now [inaudible 00:21:39] I didn’t know was my aunt. It was fun this dynamic happening of people who just want to help. All I really wanted to do was get out of there, so I just set up my little makeup shop in my room and had people come in for touch ups.

Jodi Katz

Other patients would come into your hospital room for makeup touch ups?

Tim Quinn

Or I’d go to them because I didn’t like … There was a very specific spot. Now we have a whole new cancer center that has your own room, but there was a sunny spot I would set up in and it was like the doctor’s in kind of thing.

Jodi Katz

Right.

Tim Quinn

And the nurses … It was kind of fun in that way. I had to make it fun. They like the whole Hollywood talk. It was like Gossip Central. It was fun.

Jodi Katz

Wait. Let’s talk about this just for a second. While you’re going through this, somehow you managed to bring your kit with you to Boston?

Tim Quinn

Poor Isaac. He had to bring me … Because I had gift bags, too, it was kind of like I had various drawers that had depending on like A, B, C list, depending on who did what. I contacted all my friends and all the various divisions of L’Oreal. I had the best stuff. It was like whoever … Like the woman who took your blood, the phlebotomist, that lady was like A because if she got the needle right, whatever.

Jodi Katz

She’d get the most prestige fragrance or something.

Tim Quinn

Yeah and I had stuff for men, too, because I was obviously in the men division or whatever you want to call it. The guys are like, “Well, how come your skin still looks good after …” Because after a while it starts to take effect on you. Your skin looks sallow, you lose your hair, your eyebrows, whatever. I had like a little bag of tricks so I could figure it out.

Jodi Katz

Tell me about the experience of working on women and men in a cancer ward as a makeup artist. Because you’re trying to make this fun and you’re trying to bring a little bit of your sense of self into this experience. What was it like seeing that reaction to having the … you touch their faces and …

Tim Quinn

It took something that I had taken for granted like my job and made it much more real … It validated more of what I did because I was beginning to feel like, “When I get out of this, I’m going to have to do something that’s more life-changing or whatever, like an Oprah moment.”

Jodi Katz

Right.

Tim Quinn

While it was happening, I was realizing … Especially, the families. It’s always … For me I always say, “It was tougher on my family than it was on me,” because you’re so drugged and medicated and whatever. The physical ravages are fine, but mentally I could see it in the other people. By kind of helping you get back to who you were for a little bit, it made the other people in the room feel more comfortable.

Jodi Katz

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim Quinn

You know? I see that still to this day it’s like … I was lucky. I didn’t have to work during that time, but some of those people I was being treated with had to go to work every day.

Jodi Katz

Right.

Tim Quinn

That’s really difficult. You already, when you feel like you don’t look your best you kind of don’t act your best.

Jodi Katz

Right.

Tim Quinn

That’s how I got more involved in Look Good, Feel Better and those kind of programs because I thought, this actually has a terrific value to people because it takes something that we take for granted like, “Oh, it’s a new lipstick,” but when your skin and you feel like, you kind of look like you’re not … For me, I think I told you, it was the first time I felt people looked at me kind of like, almost like a victim or something. I’d get in the hotel and go to the lobby on the elevator and people kind of do this thing where they pull away a little-

Jodi Katz

That’s right.

Tim Quinn

… or they don’t look at you in the eyes. I was so not used to that I was like, “Oh my god. This is so strange. I have to figure out a way to make this better.”

Jodi Katz

Right. Connecting your peer patients with beauty again, you think it helped them normalize their experience a little bit?

Tim Quinn

What it did … I was at this time, too, you’re too young to know, but Farrah Fawcett was one of the original Charlie’s Angels, she was going through her cancer treatment. We’re friends and she wanted me to come with here. We used to talk about that. Because here’s a woman who’s iconically beautiful and it was making people uncomfortable and it was making her feel uncomfortable to not look as like … expect.

I felt like even with the guys it was kind of like it helped them in a way that it took them out of their head for a minute. Because it’s playful and it’s fun. You can put a mask on. Of course, everything had to be based on what drugs they were on because you could have a reaction to things. Those moments, and I’ve always thought that with cancer treatments especially, is that the medicine’s going to do its thing, but it’s the other side of … Like they had acupuncture and they had amazing people who’d come in and massage your feet. The little bit what I would do with makeup or give them a gift that … It just kind of changed things for them, mentally.

Jodi Katz

You said you contribute today with cancer patients.

Tim Quinn

From that day, literally, one a year at Mass General, especially, I go back and I work with all the oncology nurses. I bring a whole team of makeup artists and we make it like a red carpet day-

Jodi Katz

Oh my goodness. Tell me about this.

Tim Quinn

… so, they sign up. It’s so much fun. I think this will be our seventh or eighth year. It kind of great exponentially, but basically they sign up. Now it’s like a lottery because there’s so many nurses. We can only see so many. They come in and I have a whole team. We all volunteer. We have gift bags for them. We have a photographer. There’s like a step and repeat, drinks and snacks and all that. It’s really fun for them because it takes them out of their day a little, too. To me, the nurses were the most incredible people because … The doctors are awesome, but they’re there to see you for five minutes. The nurses are there 12 to 14-hour shifts.

Jodi Katz

Right.

Tim Quinn

That’s a really tough job. They’re absorbing all this energy from people. This is like, it’s a great way for us to give it back. I actually have more makeup artists volunteer than I need sometimes because the space is limited. We do that. There’s another program I do in two weeks with that hospital as well, where they actually do a fashion show where they have cancer patients walk with their doctors.

Jodi Katz

Oh my goodness.

Tim Quinn

That event is heart-wrenching because they always have the one child there or something to me, like even when I was being treated, seeing children have cancer is just awful. You see the parents in the audience and they get so excited because they’re on the red carpet and whatever. They do all these other things depending on where I go. In L.A., I’m very involved with the Farrah Fawcett because she left her estate to cancer research.

Jodi Katz

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim Quinn

Fortunately, I get to work with Stand Up to Cancer, the American Cancer … I don’t know. People know they can call me and I’ll have an answer. I had this one amazing nurse friend in Boston who, I must get at least, unfortunately, 10 or 15 calls a month of somebody’s in desperate like, “Oh my father … ” “My brother … ” “My sister … ” “My mother … ” and I direct them all to Kathleen. I’m like, “All right Kathleen. You got to play triage. Is there a doctor they should be seeing? Are they getting the right … ” Because I don’t have those kind of answers. You know?

Jodi Katz

Right. How phenomenal that you’re able to move, not just forward for yourself, but that you are really contributing to other people’s well-being in this way.

Tim Quinn

Well, that’s what we’re supposed to do, right? I talked about that with the kids in the last beauty summit because they’re asking when you were saying before people want to be me or whatever. I’m like, “I actually don’t even know how I became me and that’s such a bizarre question,” I said, “But to me what was interesting was that I’ve learned over time that these core values play out and you’ll be successful if you have just live that way.” I think we get so caught up in finding the right job or it’s just going to be like the client for me or whatever. It’s not always about the other person. It’s kind of like who you are inside that eventually leads you on the right path.

Jodi Katz

I just find it so interesting that, at the moment that you’re dealing with cancer in the hospital you’re think that like, “I’m gonna have to have a new career after this, this doesn’t feel like right anymore.” Yet you were able to see how incredibly impactful giving someone a little bit of attention and letting them give themselves a little intention in terms of a beauty routing how impactful it is in their soul.

Tim Quinn

It’s actually … It reminds me all the time. I say that I love my job and I love working with Mr. Armani, with L’Oreal and Herm …, but what it does is it affords me the luxury to be able to do what my real passion is. That’s doing all these things … I was in San Francisco last week at Shriner’s Hospital, which is a hospital for children. I didn’t know much about it. They asked me to come and do this thing. That hospital, and there’s several of them, no child is turned away regardless if they can’t pay, whatever. They had two of the young ladies who had been treated there come and speak with me. One young lady had been horribly disfigured from scoliosis and was treated there over the years. Do you know she was on America’s Top Model last year, like the fourth runner up.

Jodi Katz

No way.

Tim Quinn

I’m watching this young women, who through the help of other people, became this beautiful and talented swan. There was another young girl there who was actually born with only one arm and the arm from the other had no arm from the elbow down. They worked with her over the years. Every time she wanted to do something, the engineers would develop some new arm for her that could actually do it. Throw a ball, whatever it was. She graduated from Harvard and now she’s back at Google as an engineer, but she does all this to give back to because she thought, “If it weren’t for these people doing this, I wouldn’t be the woman I am.” It kind of keeps bringing it back.

Jodi Katz

It’s incredible, Tim. You mentioned to me this idea of the ladybug, right-

Tim Quinn

Yeah. Yeah.

Jodi Katz

… climbing up your shirt and your friends are helping you, but look at what it’s become. Right? You’ve become-

Tim Quinn

Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Jodi Katz

… that person to so many.

Tim Quinn

It’s great. That’s what makes me come alive is all these interactions. The beauty part about doing my job and doing the personal appearance … Because sometimes people are like, “Well, why do you still do that,” is that I get to meet people every day who are going through something or what it is … That one connection I find so important. Some of my best friends I’ve met in a department store.

Jodi Katz

Really?

Tim Quinn

Yeah. It’s so crazy.

Jodi Katz

That’s incredible. Tim, this has been so fascinating and I’m sure our listeners are just eating up every word you have to say and, especially, this idea of kind of thinking about where you are from a new perspective. Right?

Tim Quinn

Right.

Jodi Katz

If you’re having a moment where something doesn’t feel right, just like you’re kind of regauging your perspective and rethinking things.

Tim Quinn

Because you get one shot and I said that in the beauty summit. I meant it to our young makeup artists. I’m like, “If you don’t want to be here, like if this is not the job in your heart, then do yourself a favor and get out of it because you get one shot. You know?

Jodi Katz

That’s right. We have one life to live. Right?

Tim Quinn

Yeah.

Jodi Katz

You want to make the most-

Tim Quinn

Unless you’re Shirley MacLaine.

Jodi Katz

… make the most of every single day. Well, Tim this is so fascinating. I really appreciate you sharing your wisdom with us today.

Tim Quinn

Oh, my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Jodi Katz

And for our listeners, I hope you enjoy this interview with Tim. Please subscribe to our series on iTunes and for updates about the show please follow us on Instagram at Base Beauty Creative Agency.

Announcer

Thanks for listening to Where Brains Meet Beauty with Jodi Katz. Tune in again for more authentic conversations with beauty leaders.

 

 

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