ACTIVE LIVING: Put Your Best Self Forward on Video Calls

by | Sep 30, 2020 | Active Living, Current Issue, Sep/Oct 2020 | 0 comments

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Experts offer tips on how to bring your A-game to the internet

Since the Coronavirus shut down most of the city back in March, many women are having to navigate online video chat programs in order to keep in touch with friends and loved ones, and also to keep their careers afloat.From Zoom meetings to Skype and Facetime calls, there’s a whole new world of technology to learn for many.

Figuring out how to turn on microphones, download apps, and connect is challenging enough, and making sure you look your best while on camera presents an entirely new set of skills to learn.

Don’t worry; we’re here to help with simple lighting, makeup, etiquette, and setting tips to keep you at your best while connecting.


Attorney Katy Padilla Stout, who specializes in foster care and family welfare, has to jump onto two to five Zoom calls a day for work. She says her best quarantine investment has been magnetic eyelashes paired with a pop of color like statement earrings.

“When you get on a zoom call, it tends to wash you out,” Stout said. “It seems over the top to wear lashes, but it doesn’t appear that way on camera.”

Make-up artist Alecia Hernandez agrees, and says a few small makeup steps can go a long way on camera.

“When we do wedding makeup, we go over the top because the camera is so bright it washes out the face,” she said. “The same can be said for being on video calls. The tiniest bit of blush and a pop of pink on the lip can really freshen up the face.”

Filling in your eyebrows can also make a huge difference.

“If you ever want to see the difference a filled-in eyebrow can make, color in one side, then look at yourself in the mirror, and you’ll instantly notice the difference,” Hernandez said. “It brings attention to the top of the eye versus the bottom, where most of us hold our tiredness.”

Several cosmetic companies, like Younique and MelaLeuca, are also beginning to sell finishing or “setting” powders that can completely diminish the sight of small lines and wrinkles while on video calls. Minerals in the powder deflect the light from problem areas, and Hernandez, who’s been professionally doing hair and make up for 15 years, said it’s an excellent investment for those wanting to look their best online.

“It literally blurs imperfections,” Hernandez said. “It’s amazing, and alittle goes a long way.”

Angles, Lighting and Background

Rhonda Short, 53, who runs a YouTube channel called Mature Diva, urges women to choose a spot in their home with plenty of light, and position their camera with a downward angle.

“For me, since I’m a mature diva, the camera angle is critical to me,” she said in her tip’s video. “The wrong angle can mean the difference of an extra chin. Set up your laptop or phone at a higher angle, and this will make things better. You may have to use a couple of books or a box or a tripod for your phone.” Short also believes having a tidy area of your home in the background is essential, as no one wants to see a mess.

“Trust me, people on Zoom or Skype will pay attention to your environment,” she said. “So don’t let their impression of your environment impact their impression of you or your work negatively.”

Stout has taken the clean background concept to a new level. She purchased a foldable partition that she can pull out and place behind herself during calls to keep things Professional.

“When you’re staring at yourself on camera all day, you start to think about the ways you can make things look better, especially with backgrounds,” Stout said. “Your bedroom and other places in your house are personal, and you don’t want a bunch of people having a look into your personal space. I chose a partition in a neutral color, and I make sure to wear a color that contrasts so I don’t blend into it.”

Just as important as angle and scenery is lighting. Bright light, like that provided by a Ring light or studio light, can brighten one’s face. Affordable and available on for purchase, there are multiple types of ring lights, including ones that slip right onto your phone. Hernandez says, if you can’t afford one, natural light is always a great option.

“Find a window that brings in a lot of light, and it will make you look great,” she said. “Face into the window so the light shines on you.”


Aside from looking great, having good video chat manners is crucial to a smooth experience. Ensuring your screen is muted when not speaking can eliminate any potential blunders, and refraining from eating during a call or touching your face is important.

Short recommends practicing with your spouse or a friend first to make sure you’re happy with your presence in a video call.

“Record your session so you can critique it and make adjustments,” she said.

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For more tips, you can check out the Mature Diva on YouTube, or follow @beautybyalecia_glamsquad on Instagram.



Headshot of Christie Cuthbert
Christie Cuthbert

An award-winning columnist, Christie Cuthbert has been a writer for 15 years and is busy raising four boys, including a set of triplets. She is currently working on her first book, "Mom I Farted in Church" A Type A Mama's Crazy Journey Learning to Laugh. Follow her journey on Instagram @christiecuthbert


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