Sharla Fraker-Zubulake, owner of Vanity & Glamour Cosmetics in Des Moines, has been invited three times to do makeup during New York Fashion Week. Fraker-Zubulake is a 1998 graduate of Montezuma High School. Her business offers all types of makeup services for everything from brides-to-be to theatrical and she has done makeup for many politicians and movie stars.
By J.O. Parker
Helping others find their deep-down beauty through skincare and makeup is something a Montezuma graduate takes pride in each day.
“People in general don't know how genuinely unique and beautiful they are,” said Sharla Fraker-Zubulake, owner of Vanity & Glamour Cosmetics in Des Moines, known by her customers as VG Cosmetics.
Fraker-Zubulake, the daughter of Donna Fraker of Montezuma and the late Gary Fraker, specializes in makeup for brides-to-be, prom attendees, homecoming, senior photos, party goers, special events such as Halloween and theatrical makeup, television news personalities, models, actors and even politicians who find their way to Des Moines.
Some of the politicians include former Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders several times, including when he and Hillary Clinton and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley were debating at Drake University.
She’s also traveled around and did make for appearances for senators Joni Ernst and Amy Klobuchar in different locations while they were running for offices.
“I even got to go to Joni’s home and Amy’s tour bus,” she said.
Others she has done makeup for include Marco Rubio, Tulsi Gabbard, Gabbi Gifford, former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Governor Kim Reynolds, David Young, Cindy Axne and several local news people when they had special photo shoots for televised debates.
“I’ve done news media’s John Dickerson’s make up a couple times. Once he even came to our shop to have it done,” said Fraker-Zubulake. “I worked on a movie produced locally by Brent Roske in 2016 called “Courting Des Moines. I got to do makeup for some well-known actors in the movie including Carolyn Hennesey, Brandon Jones (Pretty Little Liars), Brian Haley and Gina Belafonte.”
The highlight of her career has been doing makeup backstage three times during New York Fashion Week a few years ago.
“My talented team of artists from Vanity and Glamour worked with The Beauty Underground team for John Paul Ataker Shows,” said Fraker-Zubulake. “It was very surreal. At the last show we did, supermodels Taylor Hill and Karlie Kloss were getting makeup done by my co-artists on either side of me at one point.”
When asked about doing makeup for politicians and Hollywood stars, Fraker-Zubulake said she lands clients through local news stations, event coordinators and producers that she has made a connection with through her work.
“And some just find us via a quick online search,” she said.
None of this would have been possible without the influence her mother, Donna, had on her at a young age.
“My mom has sold Mary Kay products as long as I can remember,” said Fraker-Zubulake. “But even more than that, she was always well put together, especially her hair and makeup. It was very intriguing to me. I remember my friends growing up wondering if my mom was a hairstylist or something of the sort. They were always wanting my mom to do their hair and makeup for them.”
After graduating from Montezuma High School in 1998, Fraker-Zubulake took a different route. She started at the University of Iowa to study Psychology in 1998, leaving after a year.
“Later, in 2000, I started at William Penn for business,” she said. “I didn't end up graduating from either U of I or William Penn. My heart wasn't in it at either school. I knew hair and makeup was what I wanted to do, but I didn't know how to get there.”
After her stint at the University of Iowa, Fraker-Zubulake landed a job at Pella Windows and worked there for seven years.
“This was from 1999 - 2006,” she said. “Funny - while working at Pella, I randomly would get approached by co-workers to do makeup for their daughter’s proms, homecoming, weddings, etc.”
She went on to attend and graduate from La’James International College (in Johnston, Iowa) with a Cosmetology degree in 2007.
In 2006, Fraker-Zubulake started working at MAC Cosmetics in Younkers Valley West Mall, a job she held for seven years.
“I was shopping there while attending cosmetology school and was offered a job on the spot,” said Fraker-Zubulake. “That's how I got my start in the industry.”
During this time, Fraker-Zubulake started doing freelance makeup for several local companies such as Meredith, Mittera, Screenscapes, and others for commercial video and photo shoots.
“I still do makeup for all types of shoots, when I can get away from my shop,” she said.
In 2013, Fraker-Zubulake joined forces with her friend, former co-worker and makeup artist Patrick at Vanity & Glamour, a business he founded in 2009 after launching his own cosmetic, skincare and artistry brand.
The two had worked together for MAC Cosmetics prior to Patrick leaving.
In 2015, Fraker-Zubulake purchased the business outright after Patrick decided to move to Hawaii to start a farm with his significate other.
“He asked me if I wanted to buy VGC and that was it,” she said.
The business specializes in offering a whole line of cosmetics that are cruelty-free and highly pigmented, among many other important attributes.”
Customers can walk in and purchase cosmetics or order from the business website at vgcosmetics.com.
“We’ve been voted “Best Local Place to Buy Your Makeup” by Cityview readers most of the last 10 years,” said Fraker-Zubulake. “We have makeup for everyone “from drag queens to politicians” as is one of our mottos. Our other motto has always been “Makeup is Magic.”
Fraker-Zubulake and her team offers all types of makeup from wedding makeup, the businesses’ specialty, to headshots, senior photos, family and maternity photos.
“I offer makeup for any photo, print or video appearance,” she said. “I also offer Yumilash Keratin Lash Lifts and Eyebrow Lamination, as well as eyelash and eyebrow tints.”
VCG is located at 547 28th Street in Des Moines, just west of downtown off Ingersoll.
When asked what keeps her going, Fraker-Zubulake said her love of makeup comes from the simple joy it can bring someone.
“From looking flawless for an important photo, to minimizing their stress on their wedding day, or just teaching them how to enhance their natural beauty for every day,” she said.
Fraker-Zubulake said anyone can come in to have makeup done.
“We take walk-ins when possible, but it's preferable to book an appointment,” she said. “You can book via phone, email, or our Vanity & Glamour Facebook page.”
The business phone number is 515-778-9705 and the email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Check VGC out on social media on Facebook: Vanity & Glamour Cosmetics and on Instagram at vgcosmetics. Shop hours: Open 12-6 Tues, Weds, Thurs. 12-5 Friday. 10-3 Saturdays.
Sharla Fraker-Zubulake, right, owner of Vanity & Glamour Cosmetics (VGC) in Des Moines and a 1998 graduate of Montezuma High School, is shown with a co-worker at the Democratic Presidential Debate where she did makeup for the Presidential candidates.