It's very fitting that Lani resides in old garment factory turned loft in Brooklyn. A true gem and last of kind- this studio space is where artists, working with all different mediums, live and create. She has carved out a corner and built an inspiring home by collecting and filling every nook and cranny with carefully curated decor, especially from her travels back home to Italy. Make-up artist and master of the New York hustle, Lani is an all around true vision.
Where did you grow up? Did it have any impact on what you have chosen to do with your life?
From Sicily we moved to Virginia Beach, VA which is where I spent the majority of my youth. Not at all. VB at the time was more of a trade job town (construction, mechanic, military, dental assistant, etc.) Any dreams of an artistic career was considered futile and so rarely executed. So I guess it inspired me to kick rocks, which lead me to where I'm at now.
How did you feel when you first moved to NY?
Pure Joy. Like a toddler that wiggled out of it's diaper, and happily streaked through the house.
How long have you been in NY? Does this city still inspire you?
A little over 10 years. In the beginning I was in awe of all the creative diversity everywhere, there was so much to take in. Nowadays, I find inspiration in smaller pockets. It comes and goes I guess.
What lead you to become a make up artist and at what point did you stop compromising?
Fell into it by accident. An old friend came by my place to get ready before she had to sing with her band at a packed venue. She was very eccentric and had her look down pat between her costume, accessories, and wig. Except for her makeup, I had to break it to her gently as a true friend would. "You look amazing, but you're makeup looks like shit." She agreed and I made her over in a panic. Everyone loved the way she looked.
Longer story short, I did her makeup a few more times and then I started getting phone calls....the rest is history.
Before then I couldn't figure out what to focus my artistic energy on or a career to pursue. It was fate.
I'll always compromise in some way since I'm performing a service. However, I draw the line with being underpaid or being talked down to.
Tells us about your favorite movie and why?
The Fifth Element.
"She is... perfect."
What are your favorite places to hang out in NYC? What about favorite places in other cities you hold dear to your heart?
I was obsessed with being in the lower east side/east village. It had so much life and energy... freaks everywhere and the party never stopped. Those days and are long gone for me now. I'm all about being in my studio focusing on the next project. If I HAVE to go out, it needs be a special occasion or have a practical purpose. I've reclused! Anywhere in Sicily. Spend some time there and you'll see why.
Tell us some good advice?
Stop being a pussy.