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A celebrity makeup artist who's helped stars such as singer Keyshia Cole, actress Rosario Dawson and diva Barbra Streisand radiate on the red carpet

A celebrity makeup artist who's helped stars such as singer Keyshia Cole, actress Rosario Dawson and diva Barbra Streisand radiate on the red carpet, Erwin Gomez paved his own road to recognition. After moving from the Phillipines to Orange County, California nine-year-old Gomez immersed himself in after-school activities to appease his conservative Catholic parents. In his room the aspiring artist sketched for hours. Gomez was certain that someday he'd make his beauty mark on the world.At 15, the young entrepreneur in the making approached fashion photographer Farzad Kasrabod, whose work he admired, about breaking into the business.

Taking note of his natural talent Kasrabod commissioned Gomez to assist him with makeup, styling and photography. Gomez took this same gusto to the Chanel counter at a department store in Costa Mesa, California a year later and climbed his way into a sales job. Only six months later, Erwin found himself promoted to a make-up artist position.

Despite his innate skills when he enrolled at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California, his old-fashioned parents demanded he study nursing in addition to fashion coordinating. While in school, Gomez paid his dues by working at various salons as a receptionist and makeup artist. At 22, a relationship with a partially deaf boyfriend enrolled at Galludet University brought him to Washington D.C. where the romance fizzled out but Gomez' flame burned on.

He attended beauty school and landed his first job in the D.C. area at Chanel Cosmetics at Bloomingdales in Tysons Corner. Gomez was then recruited by Prescriptives, a cosmetics and skincare line owned by Estee Lauder which has since closed, as the national makeup artist for the entire East Coast; by Yves Saint Laurent where he opened their first D.C. counter at the now-obsolete Woodward and Lothrop department store in Metro Center; and in 1994 by Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa where he remained for 12 years. At Red Door he was charged with freshening the brand's look as the company's first national makeup artist. Gomez established himself among A-list celebrities at Red Door as the makeup artist for MTV's inauguration party special for former President Bill Clinton as well as at Margaret Thatcher's birthday party.

Between jobs the energetic artist managed to gain more of an eye for the business as a fashion photographer and coordinator. Gomez also worked on the Kimora Lee Simmons’ Life and Style show and acted as fashion coordinator and style editor for Scene Magazine in 1995. Gomez split with Elizabeth Arden in 2005. In December 2006, he opened the Erwin Gomez Salon and Spa in Georgetown. Gomez had developed a signature eyebrow arching style he calls "precise like drawing" that caused celebrities to flock to the new space as they had to him at Arden. The salon expanded in 2007 and thrived until its closure in January 2011. Servicing Washingtonian influencers, politicos and celebrities alike for over 30 years, his celebrity roster includes Stevie Wonder, Maria Shriver, Eunice Shriver, Andrea Mitchell, the Bush Twins, Jacqueline Smith, Kate Walsh, Rosario Dawson, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Holiday, Ali Wentworth, Judy Reyes, Jennifer Garner and Jimena.

Erwin Gomez has undoubtedly made his mark. In August 2012, he's putting his name back on the map after a needed hiatus with new visions including his own make-up line Erwin Gomez Cosmetics following the opening of Karma Salon. The salon will offer clients a personalized menu of services dubbed "The Erwin Gomez Experience." And with the new 4,000 square foot space slated to open in D.C.'s swank West End, the experience is sure to be one only Gomez can imagine.