The Business of Glam: The Pros Reveal What It’s Really Like Working With Celebrities–the Grit, the Glitz and, Yes, Some Amazing Perks

At this point we just take for granted that the celebrities we loyally follow on social media and can’t get enough photos of are going to look fabulous.

Not only are there more red carpets than ever upon which to gaze, with crafty Instagram filters—and now that dewy Snapchat overlay that erases imperfections in half a second—we’ve just gotten used to 24/7 glam.

But it takes a village.

For movies, for magazines, for awards shows, celebrities are pretty much required to look a certain way. It’s their job. If we all devoted as much time to looking photo-ready as the stars do…well, that would be our job.

But while discipline and attitude are up to the celeb, the rest is left up to the experts, the professionals who—with a wave of a brush, a blow-dryer, a stopwatch or an eye for what is currently everything—make the magic happen.

And we wanted to know more. Such as, who’s the most awesome celeb to work with? What’s the wildest request they’ve ever received? Is it even still possible to surprise a hairdresser/makeup artist/trainer/stylist-to-the-stars after everything they’ve seen? And…what don’t we know by now, in this age of TMI, about their jobs that might still surprise us?

What’s one of the most surprising things that’s ever happened on the job?

“When Khloe Kardashianwanted me to cut her hair short! I thought I was going there to give her a trim, but we ended up giving her such a chic, short fashion lob…I had been begging her to go short for ages, but I never thought she would go through with it.” —Hairstylist Jen Atkin, clients include Chrissy Teigen and the Kardashian-Jenner family

We remember Khloe’s lob well…and she just got a refresh!

“I was doing a music video. I saw [a wardrobe stylist] pinning our client’s skirt. When she went down to make the last adjustment, she didn’t realize a needle had fallen on the ground right in front of her. The floor was carpet. The pin was sticking straight up and went up into her knee cap. When she stood up after realizing it, she bent the needle into an L-shape. She passed out and had to be rushed to the hospital.” —Hairstylist Kristen Ess, clients include Lucy HaleLauren Conrad and Halle Berry

“I was with Susan Sarandon in Vegas sitting in the audience of an awards show, waiting for her to receive an icon award, when I got the call that my [now adopted] son was born and if I didn’t get to Florida, they will move on to another family. Susan was my rock and got me on the place in one piece!” —Makeup artist Amy Nadine, clients include Sarandon, Lauren Conrad and Krysten Ritter

“I had to color Britney Spears from brown to blond in the recording studio and we had to wash her hair in the bathroom sink with a sensor faucet. It was not easy but we got it done!” —Colorist Rita Hazan, clients include BeyoncéMadonna and Jessica Simpson

“We were shooting the ‘Follow the Leader’ music video in Mexico with Jennifer Lopez. As we were landing I was surprised to see military vehicles with giant machine guns attached along the runway…They were there for us as our protection!” —Tom Bachik, L’Oréal Paris Global Nail Artist, clients include J.Lo

“It was later in the day and I got a last-minute call to train a client who was prepping for a photo shoot. This client lived by the ocean. After training, my client and I walked to the ocean and she just ran into the water with all of her clothes on. It was hysterical. Then she asked me to join. So I did. With all of my workout gear on, I went in the water. It was so fun and perfect.” —Fitness trainer Kit Rich, clieints include Kesha and Jennifer Lawrence

“The power went out in Beverly Hills on a Saturday afternoon on one of my busiest work days. We had to use the sun for heat instead of the dryers to process the color.” —Michael Canale, colorist and owner, Canale Salon, clients include Jennifer AnistonHeidi Klum and Shakira

“‘Dilemma’ music video shoot with Kelly [Rowland] and Nelly, I had to work on my birthday. Later that evening Kelly asked me to go to the wardrobe to switch shoes, and next to the trailer was a small tree that everyone put money on—also, Patti LaBelle, who played Kelly’s mom, sang ‘Happy Birthday.'” —Stylist Ty Hunter, clients include Beyoncé

“One of the most surprising things that has ever happened to me was on the day that I arrived at Kim Kardashian‘s house to start the process of dying her hair blond. We entered the house and unexpectedly were greeted with her show’s camera crews. As hairstylists we’re used to being behind the scenes so I rolled out of bed not thinking that I had to be camera ready!” —Matrix Stylelink stylist/colorist George Papanikolas, clients include Kim, Naya Rivera and Hannah Jeter

Share a favorite work memory:

“During filming of season five of The Rachel Zoe ProjectRachelRodgerSkyler and I went to Paris and it was the most epic trip ever! I literally pulled up to the hotel after an 11-hour flight in my sweats and Rachel said, ‘OMG, get in my car, we’re going to Dior.’ I thought she meant the store…No, it was sitting front row at the Dior fashion show…I mean…Thankfully Rachel had an extra pair of cat-eyed sunglasses in her bag so I could kind of pretend the sweats were on purpose. I learned that day to always look cute while flying.” —hair stylist & makeup artist Joey Maalouf, co-founder & creative director, The Glam App and ISH, clients include Catt SadlerMolly Sims and Rachel Zoe

“When Beyoncé announced her pregnancy at the VMAs. It was such a beautiful moment.” —Ty Hunter

“I have a lot of them, but having coffee and talking about the news with Sophia Loren is just still unbelievable to me.” —Ashlie Johnson, Chanel celebrity manicurist, clients include Kate HudsonKristen StewartCara Delevingne and Jessica Alba

“Doing Gwen Stefani’s hair for the cover of Vogue. She was one of my high school icons, so getting to do her hair was a dream, not to mention working for the cover of Vogue was a surreal and pinch-me moment!” —Jen Atkins

“All the times I got to work with David Bowie. He was the most gracious, kind man and I cherish the years I got to do his makeup. No one was more charming, or disarming. They don’t make them like that anymore, I’m afraid…” —Makeup artist Fiona Stiles, clients include Gabrielle UnionElizabeth BanksJennifer Garner

“I’d say it was doing Jessica Simpson’s hair for her wedding.” —Rita Hazan

“I was at a photo shoot for Christina Aguilera‘s album cover when I got a call that Cher wanted me to fly to Vegas that night and do a makeup trial with me after her show. I was a complete nervous wreck as I sat in her dressing room surrounded by her costumes and headdresses waiting for her. It was a dream come true.” —Makeup artist Kristofer Buckle, clients include Mariah CareyBlake LivelyKelly Ripa and Jessica Chastain

“My all-time favorite experience was being on a shoot with Etta James and Christina Aguilera. The shoot was happening in a teeny-tiny bar and the photographer wanted to capture a shot of them singing together. Basically the 10 of us that fit in the bar were treated to a private a cappella performance from two of the most epic voices of all time. I still get chills when I think about it.” —April Foreman, OPI Celebrity Nail Technician, clients include Kerry WashingtonCharlize Theron and Natalie Portman

“Way back in 2007 Victoria Beckham gave my whole family tickets to the December Los Angeles stop on the Return of the Spice Girls Tour. It was for my daughter’s 8th birthday and her first concert. As we walked in and were being seated, the usher said, ‘Wow, who do you know to get these seats?!’ To our surprise they took us to the very front-row center seats…Then to top if off, just as the show was starting David came in with the boys and sat next to my wife—she kept mouthing ‘Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!’ I was like, ‘what-evs.’ Haha!” —Tom Bachik

OK, that just gave us every feeling…

What’s the tightest deadline or wildest request you’ve been given?

“Beyoncé for the Grammys and her performance of ‘Proud Mary’ with Tina Turner—three looks in about 10 minutes. Luckily we had about an hour to prepare those looks. She walked the red carpet in No. 1. She came straight to glam to change into look No. 2–as she changed wardrobe we changed nails. She finished performing and directly changed into her look to sit for the show…I was literally finishing the final coat as she was walking into the hall to be seated! Whew!” –Tom Bachik

“I once had to style eight bridesmaids and a bride within four hairs. They all wanted updos.” —James Williams, head stylist at Canale Salon

“We’ve had models who want to keep the jewelry they’re modeling, which costs more than their contracts are. Celebrities we’ve put $100,000 worth of wardrobe on and they’ve asked to keep it. We’ve had celebrities we know who don’t even drink order cases of Cristal for their entourage in their green room, so we know it’s not for them. People have had their spiritual advisers on set, their parents on set, you never know what you’re going to get.” —Ryan Schinman, founder of Platinum Rye Entertainment, CEO of RBS Celebrity Booking

“I’ve been asked so many weird things: to tweeze someone’s hairline, to shave someone’s back hair, to match someone’s hair to their dog’s, to ride a horse to a location, do hair on a moving boat in choppy water, do hair in the snow with no power—and if those aren’t weird enough…a client asked me to get in the shower with them to shampoo their hair. Like, no. Bye.” —Kristen Ess

“Beyoncé loved the camo pants I wore to set, so I took them off for her to wear for the alley scene for the ‘Crazy in Love’ video shoot.” —Ty Hunter

“For one celebrity (who shall remain nameless!), her assistant mentioned that she often liked her hair and makeup done while she slept in her La-Z-Boy chair—what an amazing way to wake up!” —George Papanikolas

“Once I got Mariah ready for a live televised show, Homecoming, in 15 minutes, in a trailer that had no power, with a flashlight! I’ve had to do makeup on people while they’re asleep, in airplane bathrooms, cars, in hospitals, you name it.” —Kristofer Buckle

“At a runway show last year I had to take over when another makeup artist left unexpectedly to go to another show, so I had to do the eyes, cheeks and lips of 26 models in less than an hour [faces prepped already]. We basically formed an assembly line and I did one after the other and I was on cloud nine.” —Amy Nadine

“Last year I did Chrissy Teigen’s hair for the Billboard Music Awards and wore 10 looks in one night! We had minutes between shots to completely change her look! It was wild, but so fun and she looked fab.” —Jen Atkin

“When I lived in New York, I had a client that had me take a cab to her cab and give her a full face in the back seat of a moving vehicle—all in less than 10 minutes! I gave myself a huge drag queen snap for getting through that without getting sick, because I get really carsick.” —Joey Maalouf

Which celebrity has surprised or inspired you the most?

Elizabeth Banks. When we first met in 2001 it was on the set of Swept Away; I was doing Madonna‘s makeup and she was one of the characters in the film. She was so funny and cool. A few years later we started working together and I have always admired her tenacity and incredible hard work. One summer she promoted four films—four!” —Fiona Stiles

Ellen Pompeo is one of the women that most inspires me because she is so smart. She’s a great actress, but also very knowledgeable about art, architecture and design…I learn so much from her every time I see her.” —George Papanikolas, who also notes that Ellen fears warmth and brassy tones, so he adds extra ash to her color with Matrix ColorInsider Blue Concentrates, plus Matrix Biolage Sugar Shine for mega-shine.

Demi Moore. I didn’t know it was possible for a person to be so ridiculously beautiful. In person, no makeup and wet hair, FLAWLESS! #Goals.” —Joey Maalouf

“Beyonce [inspires], being with her so long and seeing her progression and work ethic. I learned to be in full control of my brand because of her.” —Ty Hunter

“Beyoncé [surprised]. I walked into her house and she actually cut her hair into a pixie. It looked great, but I was shocked, even though she always changes her look.” —Rita Hazan

George Clooney and Hugh Jackman are great. They are so professional, sign every autograph, absolute pleasure to work with.” —Ryan Schinman

Faye Dunaway is one of my favorites, she has always been so kind and lovely. It is a pleasure to work on such an icon as her.” —James Williams

“I won’t name names, but every single one surprises me. I mean that in a good way. I’m always taken by the kindness of my clients and humility. In my case, the bigger the star, the kinder they are. One of my clients let me borrow her car for the day when mine broke down. Let’s just say, the car is waaay nicer than mine.” —Kit Rich

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with Selena Gomez quite a bit lately. Life of a celebrity can be quite overwhelming with the normal life pressures of family, friends, relationships and the added pressures of little things like writing, performing, appearances, fans and…oh, a little thing like being on tour! I can tell you it is a lot. As as nail artist we’re often in the room while the celeb is dealing with all of the above. I have to say, for such a young woman, she handles these situations with care, maturity and, most of all, love. Sure she’s young and may make mistakes as young people do, but I am deeply impressed at her maturity and will forever be a fan.”

“Lauren Conrad has been such a light in my life. She has fought for me to work on magazine covers and campaigns, went off and picked wildflowers in Mexico for my wedding bouquet (while getting bitten by fire ants!), she put my whole (last-minute) nursery together while I flew back with my son…She’s incredibly thoughtful and does all of these surprising things for her friends.” —Amy Nadine

“Madonna. I was expecting her to be much more guarded and controlling, but she is an artist who is very open to the process and creates a very comfortable environment that isn’t intimidating. That was a good lesson for me in not assuming things about people!” —Kristofer Buckle

Adele! But she isn’t a client, she just happened to be in my client’s kitchen one day when I walked in. I don’t get starstruck too often anymore, but that was amazing, such a cool surprise.” —Ashlie Johnson

Tell us something about your job that would surprise people:

“It’s a lot of hard work! Most people think it looks so easy from the outside, from pics and Instagram, but we have a lot of crazy hours, rushing from location to location, being indoors in a studio all day, and traveling. You have to be physically and mentally prepared at all times for anything.” —Jen Atkin

“That I learned to brave about five years ago and that I was faking it the entire time before that. Ha! I laugh about that now, but it was frightening AF when someone asked for a braid before that…It feels good to get that off my chest.” —Kristen Ess

“It’s definitely not glamorous. I’m lucky to work with such amazing women but they don’t know their schedule until the day of or day before—you always have to be on call!…You have to love this job so much that it doesn’t feel like work and you enjoy every minute of every day.” —Rita Hazan

“There are glamorous aspects to it, but there’s a lot of prep work and schlepping, as well as politics with publicists and agents that result in hurt feelings. I’ve had to build up a thick skin and untether emotionally just to keep on doing what I love!” —Amy Nadine

“This job is amazing, but it’s also work, work, work, work, work and hustle. People always ask if there was a ‘big break,’ but I like to say it’s success by a thousand moments…I think there’s an elevated sense of glamour and order and ‘coolness’ these days due to things like Instagram, but just off in my corners, there’s total chaos, you know? I get flown first or business class one day and the next I have to fly myself somewhere for a job. Yeah, that happens. It’s a dirty little secret of the industry. There you go, I just peeled back a layer of the facade!” —Fiona Stiles

“I don’t get many days off and can never go on vacation. I travel constantly and always live out of a suitcase (even at home because I’m usually only there for a day or two before having to fly again). Another thing is that I’m working with people when life is going great for them, but also when it’s not. Part of this experience is finding myself being a confidant, a friend, a cheerleader, or a shoulder to cry on. It’s very easy for the general public to forget that celebrities are also human but, for me, they’re also my friends and family, so it’s much more than just a makeup job.” —Kristofer Buckle

“I don’t think people realize that I’m basically on call 24/7…The 10 p.m. call asking if I can come at midnight because they have a 4 a.m. flight to somewhere…ahhh, the life.” —Tom Bachik

“It’s a lot of sacrifice.” —Ty Hunter

“There are a lot of perks to my job. I love the people I get to work with and the locations I get to visit. It often feels like hanging out and having fun with family since you’re often working with a lot of the same people, from the talent to the grips. That being said……Shooting on location at the beach or the desert sounds glamorous–but it requires a lot of schlepping and sunscreen. Possibly bug spray. If you were to turn the camera around on one of those shoots and capture a photo of the crew, you’d see a lot of sweaty people!” —April Foreman

“I think most people are surprised by how often celebrities need their nails done…It’s just one of the many tiny details that completes the total look.” —Ashlie Johnson

“My mantra is to solve problems with enthusiasm. If it were so easy for a company or an agency to book a celebrity and get everything that they want for the price that they want, I wouldn’t have a job. We solve problems from the start of the deal, which is identifying who, to negotiating the deal, to servicing the deal…Before you engage with a celebrity, everybody has their own perception of what they’ll be like and I’m usually wrong about 75 percent of the time…B- and C-listers are the ones who act like prima donnas. The bigger the star doesn’t mean the bigger the aggravation.” —Ryan Schinman

“While having the opportunity to work with so many successful and powerful women in the world, I get to help contribute to some amazing charities,” including Stand Up to Cancer, I Am Water and The Girls Lounge, which promotes female empowerment in business. —Michael Canale

“We’re not only here to create a beautiful outward exterior, but we’re also there as a sounding board for our clients.” —James Williams

“It’s more creative than people think and it requires me to be present. I can never check out mentally with my job. My job is to serve someone who needs my help. That requires attention, focus and diligence.” —Kit Rich

“I still actually work in the salon behind the chair about four to five days a week…Those days are actually the most peaceful for me because I have the most control. When you are on set or working with a celeb, you are only a small piece of the puzzle with a lot of people involved and lots of opinions on the final outcome.” —George Papanikolas

It takes a village, indeed.




via E! News

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