Brooklyn native and L.A. transplant John Stapleton is a former model cum  Senior Makeup Artist at MAC.  Emily Sandberg and I spoke with John about MAC’s holiday 2011 collection, the MAC AIDS fund  in addition to talking about MAC’s collaboration with ice skating star Johnny Weir.  Here John shares his top beauty tips for creating a glamorous look this holiday season

Tell us about the Kids Helping Kids Tree Teddy Holiday Ornament.

This has to be the coolest tree ornament I’ve ever come across. It’s a silver teddy bear holding a VIVA GLAM I limited edition gloss.  One hundred percent of the proceeds benefit the MAC AIDS Fund which benefits people affected by HIV/AIDS.

What was the inspiration behind the palate in the Holiday 2011 collection?

The inspiration was definitely influenced by the winter whites we have recently seen in fashion, but putting a twist on it by glamming it up with glimmer and shimmer.

How can I incorporate sparkle into my everyday look?

There are a few simple ways to incorporate sparkle into your usual makeup. Don’t over sparkle! Choose one or two features to add some shine to. Try one of the MAC Cosmetics Glitter and Ice Beauty Powders swept across the cheekbones to bring some glimmer to the face. If it’s the eyes you are looking to showcase, try one of the metallic Technakohl Liners in Silver Skates. Apply inside the eye to add some alluring light or bump up your lipstick with an application of Dazzleglass in She-Zam to make lips pop.

The eyes are the window to the soul.  For anyone who wants to really glam it up this season what’s an easy to apply holiday eye?

Start with a Technakohl Liner in Fancy Moves and line inside the eyes. Line the top of the eyes thickly with the pencil and blend it up onto the lid. Choose a smoked purple shadow like Hold That Pose on the lid and blend it into the crease. Coat the lashes with black mascara.

How much of this collection was inspired by Johnny Weir and how did your partnership materialize?

Johnny has been a fan of the brand for some time. Johnny’s sense of style and outrageous interest in fashion is just the right amount of glitter we needed to add to MAC’s snowglobe-inspired collection.

What are the essential MAC grooming items every man needs in his attaché case?

Oil Control Lotion is a wonderful moisturizer and is masculine packaging. Take it one step further with some Studio Moisture Tint SPF 15. This will even out skin tone and take away the winter blues by instantly refreshing your face with a more bronzed look. Last but not least, lip conditioner is a must-have.

Can you tell us about your path to becoming a Senior Artist with MAC?  What do you love about the company?

After a stint as a model I switched careers and applied for a job at MAC. A friend of mine was leaving MAC and suggested I put my painting skills to good use.  That friend was Tarina Tarantino; she was leaving to create her own jewellery line and I went on to replace her at the Beverly Center store. I worked as an artist there for a year and moved into the training department. After four years in training I got the job of Senior Artist. Now I get to do the collections every season and feel shorter and shorter as the girls get taller and younger every year!

The Dazzlespheres! are a great holiday gift.  What’s the difference between the crushed pigments and the pressed pigments people typically use in an eye shadow? How does the application differ?

The crushed metal pigments are a unique blend of loose pigments and glitter. These are pure color. They definitely pack more punch than your standard eyeshadow. I find the best way to apply these products is with a firm brush. Try using a MAC Cosmetics Paint Pot as a base so the crushed pigment has something to stick to.

What products are essential to protect your skin from the harsh winter air?

Scrub!  Slough off dead skin cells softly with a loofah then moisturize.  MAC Complete Comfort Cream has tons of nourishing botanicals; the marine based formula imparts a soft glow while providing hydration.  Don’t forget SPF! Skin can still burn in the winter so it’s best to wear at least an SPF 15.

What’s the best way to apply the Technakohl liner to make my eyes appear larger? Can it be applied on the lash line, on top of it or directly on the water line of the eye itself?

It can be applied all ways. It’s great for inside the eye or to line the top. I love using a kohl liner to create a base for a smoky eye. Just line the eye thickly and buff it up toward the crease.

Every cent of your Viva Glam lipstick goes toward the MAC AIDS fund benefiting women, men and children affected by HIV/AIDS everywhere.  Why is philanthropy a core value of MAC?

The MAC AIDS Fund is the heart and soul of the brand.  There are so many of us in this industry that have been affected by this devastating disease and why not make an impact by selling something as simple and beautiful as a lipstick.   Buying a Viva Glam lipstick (indicated by its unique red packaging) is a conversation starter. Putting it on your lips and spreading the word can help crush this disease.

Follow him at @MAC_John_S