Penny Antuar

Have you ever had one of those “pinch-me moments”? A moment where you know, it isn’t a dream but is so surreal that you can barely believe it? Well for me as a makeup artist, where New York fashion week was always a dream of mine, actually being backstage at shows at New York Fashion week was one of those moments. Even now, just returning from my third year of working backstage at shows, I still can hardly believe that I’ve been lucky enough to experience it all first hand.

Backstage at NYFW

The rush of gathering with the rest of the makeup team to discuss what products we are loving in our kit at the moment, watching the awe-inspiring key makeup artists demonstrate with precision the vision that we must re-create, the other-worldly beauty of the models that waltz into the backstage area, seeing the new season of fashion that is about to be revealed to the world and meeting celebrities is just the beginning.

NYFW Makeup Demonstration

Being in New York City is such a spectacle to behold in itself, let alone being involved in an event such as fashion week. From visiting rooftop bars with friends to cycling through central park hand in hand with my husband, to Sunday brunch featuring drag queens to make up shopping for an entire day with stores still left un-visited, to comedy shows at Madison Square garden to eating burgers at secret restaurants behind red curtains, I certainly have enjoyed many exciting New York experiences but still am yet to even scratched the surface. New York is most certainly the city that doesn’t sleep! There is always something to do, somewhere to go or someone to see in New York, which makes for an exciting yet exhausting trip!

Central Park

I would work up to three shows per day and then almost always head out somewhere amazing to eat afterwards with fellow industry people, my husband and/or friends. One of my favourite places to visit is Tao – an amazing Asian fusion restaurant with amazing cocktails or Artichokes Basille Pizza, which will blow your mind with the most incredible artichoke pizza on the planet! Once finished it would be home to wash brushes, set an early alarm and back in that yellow taxi to the next day’s early morning show with my makeup kit in tow!

Backstage with NYFW Models

I often get asked if I take my entire kit when I travel and the answer is yes! I don’t necessarily need it for runway shows as all that is required is a basic kit, and generally, the key products for the show are provided but often I have photo shoots organised too while I am away in which I need most of my trusted things! For travelling the same rules generally apply to when I work at home, which is a basic tetris of palettes and products segregated into clear pouches and containers. I like to keep it as jam packed as possible to avoid too much movement within my suitcase, which is the main cause of eyeshadows smashing and liquid products spilling. I have managed to have it down to a fine art with some palettes fitted with a rubber mesh insert and that same rubber mesh wrapped around certain precious glass products. I manage to come away with very few casualties to much people’s surprise!

NYFW Nars Products

My biggest casualty on my most recent trip was my actual suitcase which decided it had had enough of me dragging it through the pot-holed streets of New York City and whilst legging it from a show through Times Square the entire wheel completely snapped off, leaving me with a three wheeled case to drag the remaining ten blocks whilst vowing the entire way to get myself a Burton bag with sturdy wheels designed to be rolled and rolled for years to come! I have since purchased one and will never look back... in fact, it has me feeling far more prepared to take on Paris fashion week for the first time next season which will be a whole new adventure in itself! Stay tuned makeup and travel lovers!

NYFW Model

Carry-on beauty essentials:

  • Mario Badescu Rosewater Spray to spritz your face as a freshen up
  • Embryolisse Lait Crème to add moisture to the skin
  • Cilk Rose Water to hydrate my skin from the inside out
  • Eyedrops are a lifesaver for tired eyes
  • Smith’s Rosebud Salve to save chapped lips

NYFW Model


Penny Antuar is an Australian-based makeup artist who travels around the world for her craft. You can often find her working backstage at New York and Paris Fashion Week, putting designers’ visions into action by creating beautiful makeup looks.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the PDS available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.