Cool Jobs
The most awesome way to spend a day at work
By Mary Lou Sheffield

Ana Marie Rizzieri has done makeup for numerous photo shoots, including Tina Fey’s Harper’s Bazaar cover shoot.

Ana Marie Rizzieri

Celebrity Makeup Artist

On some days, Ana Marie Rizzieri’s office is a tropical island, and her co-workers are Victoria’s Secret models. On another day, she could have movie star Amanda Seyfried sitting across from her. It’s all in a day’s work for this celebrity makeup artist – make that, it’s all in a fabulous day’s work.

“It doesn’t even feel like a real job,” says Rizzieri, 50. “Every shoot is so much fun. You’re always creating, getting to see amazing clothes and working with incredible photographers and famous people.”

One of Rizzieri’s assignments was to travel to billionaire Richard Branson’s private Caribbean island, Necker Island, alongside several Victoria’s Secret Angels, including Rosie Huntington and Alessandra Ambrosio. Rizzieri was doing the angels’ makeup for a catalog shoot, where the band Linkin Park was performing, of course.

“We got to hear all of Richard Branson’s stories, which was crazy,” Rizzieri says. “And just being on Necker Island…no one can go there unless you’re invited or super famous like Beyoncé. Getting to be in these exclusive places with amazing people is incredible.”

Though the days sometime get long – like when Rizzieri leaves her Moorestown house at 3 am to get six models ready in New York before sunrise (that first light at dawn is perfect for photography) – she says she can’t see herself doing anything else.

“Even when I was a kid, I always loved makeup,” Rizzieri says. “Growing up at the Jersey Shore, I remember spending all summer with my girlfriends, trading Bonne Bell and MAC lip glosses. Today, they say they can’t believe I’m actually a celebrity makeup artist. They think it’s hysterical because it’s so perfect for me.”

The daily schedule is pretty crazy, but Rizzieri says she loves it. “My bag is pretty much always packed,” she says. “I’ll get a call, like, ‘Tomorrow, you need to do Amanda Seyfried. You need to be there by 4:30 am to get her ready for this talk show,’ and then the next day I’m in Philadelphia for a Lilly Pulitzer shoot. Then the next day I’m on location for a music video or I’m in the studio doing a Vanity Fair shoot.”

Rizzieri is married to Frank Rizzieri of the famed Rizzieri salons, and while it’s often hard to be away from Frank and her two sons, Rizzieri says she loves the versatility – and even the mayhem – of her career.

“It’s always so different, and things are always changing, which keeps it interesting,” she says. “I love seeing the fashion and clothes before they come out – I already know what’s happening for winter, because I’ve done the makeup for so many fashion shoots. But no matter who I do makeup for, the most rewarding thing is having someone tell me they like their makeup so much they don’t want to wash it off that night.”



Jennifer Kay teaches students of all ages how to make robots dance.

Jennifer Kay

Robotics Expert

When you walk into a classroom with an arm full of robots, Jennifer Kay says, you can be sure you now have a room full of engaged students – no matter their age.

“There’s just something exciting about robots. You get instant attention,” says Kay, professor of computer science at Rowan University. Kay is considered an expert in the field, chairing robotics conventions and seminars nationwide, and working through Google grants to teach other educators how to incorporate robotics into the classroom.

“When I’m working with teachers,” says Kay, 52, “I can take them from ‘Computers don’t like me’ to ‘Oh, now I understand computers.’ I usually start by explaining that coding is just a recipe. I can have a recipe for brownies, but that doesn’t mean I have brownies. I just have the steps to make brownies. That’s what coding is.”

To help her students realize they really can code a robot, Kay relies on something simple and fun: dancing.

“Despite my work in advanced-level robotics, my favorite thing to do with them is low-tech,” she says. “I love getting my students to choreograph a robot dance. It’s an activity that appeals to all ages, all genders, all races – everyone can find a 15-second clip of music they like. Then you just learn a couple of commands, which requires learning some coding, and you can program it to dance. The fun part is, you just made a robot dance, I taught you a little about coding, and we all had a good time.”

She helped organize the national Robot Rodeo in Texas, attracting nearly 1,500 researchers and educators to learn more about how to incorporate robotics into classrooms – and have fun doing it. It’s Kay’s dream job, she says; she still can’t believe she gets to play with cool tech and help others learn about it, too.

“I understand that most people don’t want to be computer scientists, but at this point, it’s essential you understand computers,” she says. “Everyone has a phone in their pocket.”

Through innovative ideas, Kay hopes she’s helping teachers make students more comfortable with understanding how computers work.

“I love knowing that teachers who may have little confidence in working with robotics walk away from my workshops or online classes with the ability to bring it back to their students,” Kay says. “What I want is more people to have confidence with the technology we use every day. People can understand way more about computers than they think.”



Faith McClellan

Art Exhibit director

It was the giant rolls of paper that had Faith McClellan perplexed. She was working on a new art installation at the Hamilton art park Grounds For Sculpture (GFS), and the artist had planned to fill a gallery wall – all 80 feet of it – with oversized rolls of paper, shaped and positioned in various ways.

“That was a challenge,” says McClellan, 42, whose official title at GFS is director of collections and exhibitions. “We had to bring in a revolving work force to help build the wall of paper. You really had to pay attention or the rolls would unravel. After awhile, everyone would get burned out. The installation ended up taking nine weeks.” (You can see the final exhibit in the photo on the opposite page.)

McClellan is in charge of all exhibits coming into the park, as well as all those going out. What you see outdoors are typically permanent exhibits, but those found in the park’s indoor galleries are on display anywhere from 5 to 18 months. Some change seasonally.


Faith McClellan stands in front of Force of Nature “Shiro,” 2015, by Jae Ko. She is talking with artist Elyn Zimmerman about the new exhibit being installed in that space.


“Our spring/summer exhibits open May 7, so we’ve been packing up some exhibits to send back to the artists,” McClellan explains, “and then installing the new pieces. One new exhibit is by artist Daniel Clayman and will be housed in our Museum Building. He built three large curtains out of glass tiles. He had the glass fabricated, and then he cut them to the desired sizes. There are hundreds of glass tiles. But the room has lots of light, so it’s really beautiful.”

“There’s a lot that goes into it before folks stop by and see an exhibition,” McClellan says. “I normally start a new exhibition by drafting contracts between Grounds For Sculpture and the artist, then we have to figure out all the logistics. That can be anything from deciding the best way to ship artwork that’s safe and cost-effective to hiring crane operators and physically preparing the gallery space. If I’m doing my job well, you actually won’t notice it at all.”

For the glass curtain installation, McClellan brought in engineers. “The tiles are wired together, using the building as the frame,” she says. “We needed the engineers to review the weight, even the torque, of the exhibit.”

For McClellan, working with talented artists and solving the challenges their art installations bring is the ultimate job. She’s been an art aficionado her whole life, choosing to visit art museums as a kid instead of roller skating or playing soccer.

“As a kid, I would not have believed you if you told me I would one day get to spend all day around art and artists. I would have been so excited that that was going to be my life,” she says. “Eight-year-old Faith would think this is so cool.”


Victoria Mier also contributed to this article.

May 2017
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