Celebrity makeup artist Tim Quinn received the chance of a lifetime yesterday, when his client and longtime friend, NBC News commentator Andrea Mitchell, invited him to attend the final debate between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. As a self-proclaimed "political junkie," he jumped at the chance. What he didn't realize was that he would also get the opportunity to be an official NBC press member, if only for the day. Here Quinn shares his behind-the-scenes experience and, of course, his take on the beauty looks of First Lady Michelle Obama and Ann Romney at this historical event.
6:30 a.m.
Andrea and I started the day early with coffee at Racks Downtown Eatery + Tavern Restaurant in Mizner Park in Boca Raton, Florida. Andrea was a guest on Morning Joe. The show went live at 7 a.m., and Andrea went on shortly thereafter. I've trained her over the years, so she was camera-ready. I just did a quick touch-up. I redid her look later in the day, however.
The show's audience was quite diverse; the main players inside were city officials and business owners, while the outside crowd were more fans. From the somewhat watered down smoky eyes I saw on many of the women, I suspect many of them hadn't gone home from the night before; the bars close around 2 a.m. and people began lining up for first-come, first-served seating around 4 a.m.
Color was the story in clothes. Andrea, Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski and Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter were all in pops of color! Andrea was wearing a gorgeous cerulean blue dress with a fitted Oscar de la Renta cardigan. Mika was also wearing blue, although a blue with a more purple tone. And Stephanie had on a lovely soft pumpkin spiced shade of orange.
Andrea and Mika both wore clean, classic makeup and nude lips. I know for sure Giorgio Armani Rouge D'Armani Lipstick in 109 was making an appearance.
Noon
I next headed to Lynn University for the recording of Andrea Mitchell Reports. The weather—breezy and humid—was a definite factor for Andrea for hair and makeup. L'Oréal Paris Ellnet hair spray was used, as was an abundance of pressed powder. I spotted MAC and NARS several times in the kits of the makeup artists on set. The nude lip carried on, and color in fashion was still the call of the day.
Sunblock was also a big player, as most of the political shows that were recording at the debates were filming outside. The men were slathering on the SPF everywhere I turned. Thankfully I had Garnier the Refreshing Remover Cleansing Towelette wipes and Burt's Bees Aloe + Witch Hazel Hand Sanitizer aplenty, as well as my go-to Hampton Sun sunscreen.
5 p.m.
After spending some time in the NBC trailer, Andrea and I went to the debate hall so she could do some segments for nighttime TV, mainly with Brian Williams. The evening brought out the color. Ladies punched up their lips. Chic berry tones seemed to be making the rounds. Not surprising due to the balmy climate, fall makeup trends were not in evidence in Boca!
As for the leading ladies.... They had nearly matching hairstyles, but very different approaches to fashion: color for Mrs. Romney, and understated elegance for the First Lady! Mrs. Obama wore simple, chic, barely there makeup, and Mrs. Romney added a bit more of a Real Housewives approach with bold color, fashion jewels and clearly more of a made-up look.
I even ran into my friend Katherine Schwarzenegger, who was looking polished and as chic as ever in her Armani gloss!
Makeup was, as always, a topic in the media tents. I should have opened a pop-up shop as Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation was a super-hot topic. Apparently it's a big hit with the producers at 30 Rock!
Now tomorrow I can watch the debates again and pay attention—this time to what they are saying : )

Photo: Getty Images