A makeup artist's first (bridal) wedding gig would probably be one of the most memorable things in her career as a milestone. But for me and my first clients, Archie and Aimee de Chavez, they left nothing but beautiful and fun memories. They were the couple that inspired me to jump back to wedding makeup from fashion.
Archie and Aimee in their wedding last December 2008.
When I received the news that Archie passed away last week due to kidney failure, I was deeply saddened with the news. Not only were these two close to my heart being the first wedding I ever did, but they were probably one of the easiest clients I ever worked with, being such a fun and kulit couple. I called Aimee the morning after I got the news. I texted her as well if I could make a tribute to Archie here in my blog, as a way of immortalizing him.
Their prenup photo taken by Aimee's sister, Cheryl, was one of Archie's favorite prenup pictures.
Two years ago, I was still a newbie with makeup. It was hard to try to establish myself as a freelance artist. I was struggling too on how I could prove myself among the dozens of makeup artists out there. One day, malas came when my computer broke down. I went to a nearby internet cafe and blogged in my portfolio that my computer broke down and it's in the process of repair. I posted my cellphone number so I could still be reached by potential clients. That day, I received a text message from Aimee. Apparently, she read that post. As we were talking, I found out that her older sister was my former Comm I teacher (hence, I shall be conscious enough to be OC with technicals as she would be reading this post). While discussing makeup pegs and concepts, she told me that she prefers the natural no-makeup look and so does her fiance, Archie. She booked me for trial makeup on a Saturday afternoon. That Saturday was a full one because I had a shoot for a magazine in the morning pero go lang ako with the trial makeup. It was convenient too that both bookings were in my house. Career di ba?
The three arrived in my house as soon as the shoot was wrapping up. I apologized for the overlap and seated them at my makeshift makeup station, our terrace, while I proceeded to refresh my setup. While I was doing makeup, I admit being very nervous. My system has not shifted to "bridal" mode and I was also trying to make an impression. This also is one of my first trial makeup sessions too. It was a good thing that I knew Cheryl, Aimee's older sister so we had stuff to talk about so it was a bit of catching up. Archie wasn't the usual tahimik na groom. He was also kidding around with us. Minutes into the trial makeup session, I was already very relaxed and I felt that I was talking to friends already.
Aimee's trial makeup circa July 2008 was a mixture of fresh, fun, and her favorite color, purple. :) She mentioned it was a morning wedding so no need for much dramatic makeup. My technique has somehow relaxed already. During the trial makeup, Archie was giving a lot of positive comments, which really helped me. Naispire tuloy ako umariba sa trabaho. I love positive reinforcements! While Cheryl took "after" pictures, Archie borrowed some of my equipment and pretended that he was a hairstylist as well. He wanted it to be shown as part of their prenuptial pictures instead of the usual sweetie-sweetie stuff. I was really laughing and laughing while he was doing that and laughing all the more while we were reviewing the pictures. Up to this day, I still share with my clients the picture of Archie pretending to style Aimee's hair. As he joked, "HR by day, hairstylist by night." Aimee put a disclaimer that he doesn't come with my team even when she shared her trial makeup with me in W@W. The upper right hand corner of the collage shows my favorite picture among the four, with Archie spraying hair spray on Aimee with matching graceful hand action. Our joke would be that Archie would be my future hairstylist for gigs and events.
I was so relieved and happy that they booked me for their wedding. I immediately thought that it's gonna be a fun, fun, fun wedding, with these two.
Archie and Aimee had two prenup shoots. I did just one setup. I arrived at Archie's house one Saturday morning for that and Aimee was there to welcome me. For their prenup, they had a cooking-themed shoot.
Aimee being dolled up by me. Yes, rollers galore.
Archie was game when I asked him if he wanted to wear an afro wig. Sa tagal raw ng pagluto, tinubuan na raw sya ng buhok. :P That's one of the hundreds of funny pictures they had. Archie also had an apron matching with Aimee but it wouldn't fit him so he skipped it.
Without the wig, the second layout showed them as a very elegant couple. Would you believe that during their supposedly elegant shots nakikipagkulitan pa si Archie? He always has that trademark ngisi whenever he smiles.
The food they cooked in the photoshoot was the same food they served. I super loved the food. The spicy shrimp and the pesto were divine! Archie's twin baby nephews were absolutely adorable. During shoot downtime, I was playing with them. I didn't have much sleep the night before and it was a lot of layouts but they made everything so easy and fun for me. They took care of me really well and made me feel right at home.
Their wedding happened to be the first Saturday of December. It had the earliest call time known to mankind: 2:00 a.m. since it was a morning wedding. That was also the time that it was traffic everywhere, and looking out their hotel window the night before, they could see how jampacked EDSA was. Wala akong tulog halos noon since I was scared I might not be able to wake up in time for their wedding. Being my first wedding gig ever, my stomach turned into a butterfly farm overnight. Not only was it my first wedding, there were a lot of heads to do as well. The night before, I was restless since I would have to keep recalling what Aimee's shade was while thinking of strategies to style her hair. Oh yes, I was doing hair and makeup at that time too. Good thing I had my friend Elaine to help me out with the entourage.
I was there during the pictures pre-ceremony. I helped Aimee with her veil and watched Archie's reaction as she walked down the aisle. Despite his trademark ngisi, I could see in Archie the look of pride and love as Aimee arrived at the altar. After a quick breakfast break at McDonald's, I went back to the church just in time for retouch and pictorial. It was so funny rin because a little boy teased Archie while I retouched his makeup. Archie said, "Ang lalaking nagmamakeup, macho!" One punchline of Archie I wouldn't forget was that he said that Aimee's lipstick tasted like biscuits (I used MAC lipglass in Viva Glam V to retouch Aimee's lipstick). I use that as a selling point whenever I try selling MAC lipglasses to the customers on counter.
Three years into makeup, it's quite normal to lose track of certain details and some of those I worked with. But with Archie and Aimee, I remember even the smallest details really well. These were my first wedding clients, but they're clients I'm very much proud of and happy to be part of their wedding. I wrote in my portfolio that Archie and Aimee's my good luck charm because after that, the blessings started pouring in. A few months after, I focused on fashion and editorials. I started going back to weddings when I posted Archie and Aimee's wedding pictures in my portfolio. I got so inspired kasi.
Archie was a hands-on groom. He was there to follow up on every detail of the wedding. He considered the wedding one of his biggest accomplishments. He was so proud of their wedding. While I was working with him, I could see he was so much involved with the preps. He's the type of person that you would love to befriend in minutes. Even during the time that he was sick, he told Aimee that he wouldn't want to go through dialysis. That wasn't the life he wanted to give both of them. Although he was the one that was sick, he still thought of Aimee. He may be funny and happy-go-lucky, but that side in him shows that he was a sensitive and caring husband to her.
My visit to Archie came unexpectedly. I was supposed to go to a client that time in Paranaque. Despite that I left early and took the Skyway, traffic was horrible and so was the rain. Sadly, I wasn't able to make it to my client. Suddenly, I thought of visiting Archie. Immediately, I called Sam and asked for the wake details. Sam gave me directions and we were able to make it on the wake. When I got there, I found it surreal seeing Archie's name and even more surreal when I saw his picture near the coffin. I immediately got sad and gave Aimee a hug when I saw her. When Aimee lead me to take a peek at Archie, I had to stifle a chuckle because even there, Archie still had his trademark kulit expression. Aimee told me that everyone who saw him had that same reaction upon seeing Archie, even her. Even at this last moment, he still wanted us to laugh. Archie was known as a joker and a source of laughter. I guess that was one thing Archie would always want to be remembered. While I was at the wake, I thought that maybe the delay in time and traffic was Archie's way of making sure that I would get to visit him so I could say goodbye.
I've worked with several male models after their wedding but there would be only one Archie de Chavez. I will always remember Archie made my work so much easier despite na I didn't have sleep or I was ngarag. Archie would surely be missed not just by his friends and loved ones but the people he worked with.
To Archie, my first and favorite groom, continue watching over us as you blowdry and curl the golden locks of the angels there in Heaven while making them laugh at the same time. You will always be remembered and your memory would live on.