Friday, August 31, 2001

In Memoriam: Gillian Davis

Sometimes it's just a fleeting encounter. Sometimes you develop a bond over a few short weeks. Sometimes it's sporadic over the course of the year. And then, business-life-changes occur and you don't see the person you were once developing a rapport with. That was my experience with the warm, caring and giving person of Gillian Davis. Ms. Davis was the makeup artist at the Metro Learning Channels and she made me beautiful for all my guest appearances on the computer shows "Metro Bytes" and "Plugged In."

She created a soothing, calming, relaxing and fun environment in her makeup room. Scented aromatherapy candles flickered and wafted light perfume into the air. A candle statue of Michelangelo's David was still untouched and unburned. Gorgeous, glittered, jewel-like glass jars held the magic wands of which she artfully applied either neutral or exotic colors to the complexions of guests and hosts. Pots and jars of varying sizes were stacked or scattered (depending on the crush of people coming in and out of her room) across a clean white towel on the vanity.

She'd blow my hair straight, tease it, deepen my eyebrows to a Joan Crawford-like look, rouge my cheeks, accentuate my eyes and lips and make me feel like a movie star.

She always had some Pepperidge Farm cookies or a treat or two to give her a little chocolate or sugar boost if she didn't get out for a snack or meal. And she would often pad around the makeup and green rooms wearing furry leopard slippers (my favorite accessory).

Not only did Gillian make everyone look great, she made everyone feel great with her warm, caring, inquisitive and ambitious personality. Her tenure at Metro was after a whirlwind life of touring the world as the makeup artist for Janet Jackson. Tired of life on the road, she settled back down in New York City.

Just in her early 30s she wasn't done yet just doing makeup for TV shows. She had set up her own makeup line-Gillian Davis-and was in the process of marketing and selling her products to beauty salons around the city and to grateful guests like me.

And then she died. Last week the slightly elusive but widespread chronic inflammatory disease called Lupus took her short-but-full and yet so-far-from-complete life. There was a memorial service for family, friends and coworkers this week. She will be fondly remembered for her bubbly, giving, warm, intelligent life-spirit.

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