(photo credit: Courtesy)
‘I want Jerusalem to be prettier. Most women want to look better, lovelier,” says
As the creator and proprietor of Jerusalem Bride, her
aim is to help women look their best by enhancing their inherent beauty. Be it a
hair and makeup appointment for a special occasion, private counseling or a
small group seminar on makeup application, Simantov is dedicated to teaching
women how to not only look their best but feel their best as well.
you take care of how you look, you get the job,” she says.
employer knows that if you take pride in your appearance, you will most likely
take pride in the work you do, she explains. She recalls a job interview she had
in her early days in her native New York, where the interviewer wrote “FDA” on
her application form. It stood for “front desk appearance.” She got the
Jerusalem Bride was originally devoted to weddings, where Simantov
would work her magic on young brides and members of the bridal party, making
sure their hair and makeup looked picture-perfect for that special
But she has since expanded her horizons, widening the circle to
include women of all ages and all occasions.
To that end, Simantov leads
Makeup Made Easy sessions in her home studio for women who want to learn how to
put their best face forward every day. In fact, she makes a point of
distinguishing between the word “face” in English and “panim” in Hebrew. While
“face” connotes an exterior look, as in the word “facade,” the word “panim”
refers to the “pnim” – the inside. And it is that inner beauty that Simantov is
eager to manifest, not mask. Hence, “Real looks for real women” is the slogan of
56-year-old Simantov, who is recently remarried, a mother of six and grandmother
to an ever-expanding family.
Particularly popular among women who are 40
and over, Makeup Made Easy is a one-time three-hour class for a group of about
five participants. Simantov works on each woman individually while the others
observe her techniques and listen to her comments and explanations, which are
injected with a great deal of warmth and humor.
Basing her use of
products on each woman’s skin tone, Simantov goes through the dozen or so
elements of makeup application, from toner and moisturizer, foundation and
concealer to eye pencil, mascara, blush and lipstick – and a whisk of
translucent powder for a lustrous finishing touch. (“Doris Day in a jar,” she
When Simantov is through, each woman looks beautifully put
together but not “made up.” That is, you don’t notice the makeup per se, but you
see how attractive each woman’s features have become. It is a subtle but truly
And Simantov is all for subtlety. She stresses,
“Eye shadow should complement, not match, your outfit.
Wear it to enhance
your skin tone.” And if you have blue eyes, she says, “never wear blue eye
shadow – it will make you look anemic.”
By the same token, she advises,
“Don’t ‘over mask’ a blemish. You might as well draw a bull’s-eye on
As for lipstick, she says, “I love it when eyes are the focus and
the mouth remains neutral, perhaps with a kiss of berries.”
guarantees that once the women have practiced at home and internalized the
process, they can work their own magic on a daily basis.
While she does
not provide the products, she does make recommendations and is available to her
clients by phone or email to answer questions and give advice.
recommends buying reasonably priced items from reputable companies.
prices do not necessarily mean better quality,” she says. She advises clients to
go into a pharmacy and look at the labels of upscale, internationally known
products. “Then check out the same item produced by Maybelline, Dr. Fischer,
Careline, Soft Touch or Pnina Rosenblum. If the first five ingredients listed on
the highpriced item are the same as the others mentioned, you should protect
your pocketbook. Why should you pay for expensive advertising and PR campaigns?”
In that vein, her sessions are filled with helpful tips, such as how to
replicate expensive face washes with ingredients that most women have in their
medicine cabinets. “My aim is to instill confidence and allow women to look
their best and save a lot of money,” she says. “It is important to note,” she
adds, “that I am not a cosmetologist” (a beautician who gives hair and skin
Simantov has several other projects planned as
Events for the coming year include broad-based seminars (larger
groups of up to 25 women) that will feature topics such as nutrition, mind/body
health, fashion and lifestyle.
In terms of her training, Simantov studied
dramatic arts at Emerson College in Boston, where she learned to apply makeup
for the theater. She then worked as a wig stylist in New York for two years
before making aliya in 1995.
She has certification from the Miriam Magen
Cosmetic Institute, Yaffa Wig & Hair Design Academy and the Ravit Asaf
Professional Hair & Make Up School. Her specialty areas include color theory
and morphology, day and evening makeup, brides and photography makeup. In
addition, she works with several matchmakers to help their clients with image
improvement and is invited to address various women’s groups.
Back in her
studio, at the end of the Makeup Made Easy session, each client takes home a
number of gifts: a Jerusalem Bride mug, makeup remover wipes, makeup sponges and
an eyeliner pencil sharpener, as well as an information sheet detailing
Simantov’s skincare and makeup regimen.
As the women walk out the door
with a sparkle in their eyes and a newfound spring in their steps, Simantov
smiles and says, “I love what I do.” •