Are These The Next Big Names In Beauty?

The beauty industry is a crowded space full of incredibly talented, creative people. So, what does it take to stand out — to reach the kind of international recognition that just a handful of skilled individuals have achieved? For starters, it helps to get as close to those people as humanly possible.
So, we caught up with the hairstylists and makeup pros who work alongside the big names as their assistants, helping them while learning from them. Ahead, the artists who function as the right hand to beauty's most recognizable talent tell us everything, from what it's like to be an assistant to the products they rely on to get the job done right. It's career advice that's relevant for everyone — especially those looking to break into creative fields.
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Photo: Courtesy of Colleen Runne.
Colleen Runne
New York native Colleen Runne has been doing makeup for a decade. These days, she's Dick Page's first assistant, which means she's at the makeup artist's side for everything from editorials to advertisements to a flurry of shows during Fashion Week.

Why did you want to become a makeup artist?
"As a fine-arts major and a painter/illustrator, makeup is the ultimate [paint] for me. I love everything about makeup. There really aren't any boundaries, and as an artist, I feel that we should always push ourselves creatively."

What inspires you?
"Art, mainly. You can draw so much from different periods of time and incorporate it into makeup. I usually do the illustrations and face charts for shoots and shows. Dick's work inspires me, too. He is the ultimate master painter."

What's it like to assist him?
"Dick is the best mentor anyone could ask for. He has reshaped my thinking as a makeup artist, and I credit him for making me into the artist I am today. His work is also pure genius in my book; plus, he's a lot of fun on set."
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What's the most exciting look you've ever helped create?
"Honestly, he never ceases to amaze me on set with the new things he creates. I always love what he does for Zero + Maria Cornejo's shows because the look is more art-driven and has more painterly elements to it. There was also a time when he had to do makeup for a personal friend, a photographer's wife, where he had to make her look 'alien-esque' for one of her performances."

What are some things you've learned as an assistant?
"Assisting has taught me discipline and has opened doors for me. You meet other assistants on set, and that is how you start a new generation of creatives. It's part of the chain."

What advice would you give someone trying to break into the industry?
"Go the extra mile, always be on time, be courteous, be grateful, be appreciative for every experience even if it is just cleaning brushes all day. Be sure to watch and observe; that is how you learn. The greatest opportunity a person can have is to become a lead assistant to the masters of the industry — don't ever take it for granted."
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Photo: Via Shiseido.
What are some products you can't live without?
"I love to blend Shiseido's Luminizing Satin Face Colour in Soft Beam Gold and High Beam White together — it creates the best luminizer ever. It creates a halo of lightness around the eye area."
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Photo: Via NARS.
"I love NARS' Sheer Glow foundation for the range of shades and beautiful sheer finish it gives the skin."
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Photo: Courtesy of Charlie Riddle.
Charlie Riddle
This Australian-born, Oregon-raised New York transplant has 10 years of experience in makeup. He now works as the first assistant to Stila pro makeup artist Sarah Lucero, helping her on photo shoots, global press tours, and Fashion Week — not to mention getting together with her for days-long brainstorming sessions.

What do you like about doing makeup?
"I love the feeling of making someone feel beautiful. I love seeing the transformation that can change the way you view yourself."

What inspires you?
"Nature. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest there were always such amazing surroundings, from seeing a color of a flower and imagining it on lips to the texture of a fish scale and imagining it as a mermaid eye."

What are some things you've learned as an assistant?
"Always anticipate. When I work with Sarah I have to know what products she is going to pull before we even start. It's a very creative form of communication. Also, have options for everything. Be prepared to work at a fast pace, but also be prepared to use idle time wisely."
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Photo: Courtesy of Charlie Riddle.
What's the most exciting look you've helped create?
"Last season I got to lead my first show at Fashion Week with Skingraft. The look was all about creating this deep, rich, velvet matte burgundy lip with definition and then adding a softness to the face by adding freckles on all the models and just keeping the brows full and glossy."

What advice would you give someone trying to break into the industry?
"Respect everyone, and make connections. Offer yourself up for free projects to gain experience and build your body of work. Use social media as a platform. Practice on friends, and treat everyone you work on as if they were your celebrity client."
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Photo: Via Stila.
What are some of your favorite products to work with?
"Right now I am obsessed with Stila's new Mile High Mascara. It gives such a luxe lash and makes anyone's lashes instantly longer and defined without getting clumpy."
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Photo: Via La Prairie.
"I cannot be without any La Prairie skin-care products. I take the Anti-Aging Eye and Lip Perfector with me everywhere I go. I use it to prep all my clients. It's a lip balm and eye cream in one compact. The lip balm is so hydrating, and the eye cream is illuminating and brightening and gives an instant awake look."
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Photo: Courtesy of Halli Bivona.
Halli Bivona
Halli Bivona, originally from South Salem, New York, has spent seven of her 10 years as a hairdresser working for John Barrett, the legendary hairstylist and owner of the eponymous salon at Bergdorf Goodman.

What made you want to become a hairstylist?
"I have always been drawn to anything creative. Hair is wearable art."

What inspires your work?
"I have always loved hairstyles inspired by the actresses of the '60s and '70s. Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin, and Raquel Welch all had the tousled, sexy, done-yet-undone look that inspires most of my work."

What's it like to work with John?
"John is an amazing mentor and boss. He is creative, fun, and he is always pushing his team to achieve a higher standard of beauty."
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Photo: Courtesy of Halli Bivona.
What's the most exciting look you've ever helped create?
"For the Zac Posen pre-fall '12 lookbook we did a gorgeous, sleek low bun. John left me in charge of the look for the shoot. I got to see all this gorgeous formalwear work in sync with the hairstyle we created. Plus, it was one of the first times John left me in charge of a shoot. It was a pivotal time in my career."

What advice would you give someone trying to break into the industry?
"Make sure hair is your driving passion. You will work long hours and sometimes have to travel to several locations in one day. Some days I get run down, but then I think of all the people who leave my chair feeling happy and beautiful and I can't wait to get back to work."
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Photo: Via Shu Uemura.
What products do you like to work with?
"I love Shu Uemura's shampoos and conditioners. They are so nourishing and yet they don't weigh the hair down."
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Photo: Via Show Beauty.
"I have also recently fallen in love with Show's beauty line. They have amazing volumizing products. I use their Thickening Lotion on all my clients. Its formula plumps up each individual strand for the best bouncy blowout."
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Photo: Courtesy of Jessica Ortiz.
Jessica Ortiz
Jessica Ortiz is the first assistant to makeup artist Daniel Martin — and living proof that being an assistant leads to bigger things. Martin recently brought on a second assistant, and now he and Ortiz collaborate on larger projects and co-manage the backstage team during Fashion Week. Meanwhile, Ortiz has begun taking on her own clients.

What made you want to do makeup?
"I started doing makeup because I wasn’t allowed to wear it as a teenager. I quickly mastered the winged cat-eye practically in the dark and wore it behind my parents' backs. It’s my way of rebelling. "

What inspires you?
"Nostalgia. "

What's it like to work with Daniel?
"Daniel is not only my mentor — he’s my friend, so we spend a lot of time talking shop but also telling dirty stories and inside jokes. We love to fill each other in on everything from new beauty products/lines to what’s going on in our personal lives. It’s nice to work with someone who takes what he does seriously but also knows how to have fun with it."

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Photo: Courtesy of Jessica Ortiz.
What's your favorite part of working together?
"Working with Daniel backstage during Fashion Week has always been inspiring and exciting. Any seasons we’ve worked on together with a designer to create a special beauty look based on a collection have been memorable. Fashion Week has been the most hands-on way for me to see a look develop from birth to execution. It’s rewarding to be trusted to perform as an artist backstage in making a vision come to life."

What are some things you've learned as an assistant?
"I’ve learned to not be easily offended by most things. It’s business, not personal."

What advice would you give someone trying to break into the industry?
"Be patient."
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Photo: Via Clarins.
What products do you love to work with?
"Clarins' Beauty Flash Balm is the perfect primer under foundation for a boost of hydration and glow."
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Photo: Via Tatcha.
"Also, Tatcha makes the best oil-absorbing sheets that don’t pick up product once I’ve laid it down."
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Photo: Courtesy of Julian Holland.
Julian Holland
Julian Holland is the assistant to British celebrity hairdresser Mark Hill — but he's also the creative director of Hill's salon and brand ambassador for the Mark Hill hair-care line. This Yorkshire resident, despite his success, still takes the time to be an assistant, working alongside Hill on shoots, media appearances, and celebrity clients.

What do you love about your job?
"Styling hair gives me the freedom to express myself creatively. I draw inspiration from everywhere and everything, and I find sometimes to see the future you need to take a look at the past."

What's it like to assist Mark?
"Mark is the ultimate perfectionist, so working alongside him requires discipline, enthusiasm, and stamina. His energy and passion for the industry is contagious and extremely inspirational."
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Photo: Courtesy of Julian Holland.
What are some things you've learned as an assistant?
"Always think outside the box, never give up, believe in what you do, and have confidence in your professional convictions. Keep an open mind — listen to others, and never stop learning."

What advice would you give to someone trying to make it in the industry?
"Have the courage to grab every opportunity that comes your way while always keeping your standards high."
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Photo: Via Mark Hill.
What are your favorite products to work with?
"I love Mark Hill's MiracOILicious line because it keeps the hair in immaculate condition. It utilizes 14 different essential oils, which makes the hair much easier to style."
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Photo: Via Mark Hill.
"My favorite styling product is this three-in-one styling spray, which really does it all. It also leaves no residue, brushes out easily, and gives amazing hold."
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