Astoria residents Margarita Dominguez and Fernando Nelson (aka Fernello) use brains, beauty and talent to promote brands and liven up parties.
The gig: body painting.
“We have fun. We’re artistic, creative and it’s our passion. That’s why it will be successful,” Dominguez said.
The twosome created their body art and marketing enterprise under Dominguez’s all encompassing company, World of Margarita, which promotes her as a model, marketing extraordinaire, professional pianist, fitness guru and actress.
Booked through worldofmargarita.com, Fernello paints Dominguez and sometimes other models for promotional events for companies such as Red Bull and Corona, for nonprofit fundraisers for the Wounded Warrior and breast cancer awareness and for private birthday parties.
Dominguez then works out the details. The multi-degree graduate from Fordham University has co-owned the event planning company Sky Blue Entertainment, with photographer Mason Hunt, since 2008. She determines the price of a few hundred dollars per model and which painted design the customer wants from Fernello, who has a thick resume ranging from tribal patterns to realistic basketball jerseys to pick from.
Fernello and Dominguez also decide with the client if they want to add rhinestones or other embellishments or serve beverages, which can add to the about one or two-hour prep time. The women always wear bottoms but sometimes wear either pasties or bikini tops.
“I feel like I have clothes on,” Dominguez said.
She also researches the brands so that the painted brand ambassadors can sell attendees the product not just with their looks, but also with their smarts.
But the business partners aren’t kidding themselves. They know it’s a sexy business strategy and work hard to keep it that way.
Fernello’s artistic style uses lines to accentuate a model’s curves. And Dominguez, although she has plenty of natural beauty, doesn’t pretend not to work at her figure.
“She’s a beast in the gym,” Fernello said.
The duo began their artistic pursuits at age 5. “I saw Bob Ross and just got sucked into that TV,” Fernello said, referring to the “Joy of Painting” host. He started with drawing Ninja Turtles and through the encouragement of family and teachers he continued growing as an artist.
For four years he worked as an EMT, but decided his talents were going to waste and would rather give his passions a shot.
Dominguez similarly fell in love with the piano as a young girl. Shortly after her family’s move from the Dominican Republic she saw a girl playing the piano. She told her dad she wanted one and by that winter she had one.
But her father wasn’t going to let the piano gather dust. She practiced two hours before school and two hours afterwards. From that dedication emerged her career and lifelong core value of determination.
Decades later the two met and combined their business sense and artistic flair.