How Hair & Makeup Helped Abby Phillip Feel Powerful On Election Night

Photo: Courtesy of CNN.
There's been much to appreciate about news reporters during the 2020 presidential election cycle. Newscasters have worked tirelessly, clocking in long hours to report on this tumultuous moment in time — and they're not even done. We like to think that some of them have even become our friends in our heads (yes, we're looking at you, Steve Kornacki and Don Lemon). After all, we've spent the past week anxiously glued to the news for more hours than we care to admit.
While curled up on our couches with uncombed hair and coffee-stained sweatpants, we couldn't help but also admire how many of them have managed to report on tense events while looking practically nonplussed. Abby Phillip, a political correspondent for CNN, was praised at length on social media for her thoughtful, intelligent commentary.
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"I celebrate @abbydphillip," wrote Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. "I too applaud @abbydphillip — she is the queen of insight and calm in this storm," one Twitter user replied. "She has been so concise, articulate, and an incredible contributor. I love seeing her and listening to her at the table," said another.
Viewers also weren't shy to call out their love of Phillip's hair and makeup and expressed great interest in her on-camera beauty routine. "Thank you for representing with class and professionalism; makeup on point and hair sleeked to the heavens," one fan said — and she's right. It was hard to ignore Phillip's election night glam, courtesy of Tiffany Bullock, CNN Senior Hair & Makeup Artist.
Bullock has worked with CNN since 2015, and has been doing hair and makeup for Phillip on camera for years. "My job as an artist is to enhance the beauty of my clients without any distractions," Bullock tells Refinery29. "They are here to deliver important news to the world, and we don't want to take away from their message." Bullock explains that a huge part of her job is creating consistent looks for her clients like Phillip, which stick with them over time. "You may see a correspondent with the same eyeshadow and the same lip color for weeks," she says. "This is an important part of maintaining their brand and credibility."
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The White House Correspondents Dinner and flashier political moments leave room for some creativity with glam, Bullock says, but she and Phillip set out to strike a more professional tone during election coverage. "Usually [Tiffany] adjusts the colors and boldness of my makeup based on what I am wearing," Phillip tells us. "For election night, we went with soft curls and adjusted small things like my lashes to match the bigger set and brighter lights, compared to what I might do on a typical day."
Bullock says that the trick to Phillip's election-night look was using setting spray over a liquid foundation and a soft shimmery blush so that it would stay put for hours. "It's like the magical fairy dust that brings everything together," she says. Bullock also mixed multiple flesh-toned lip pencils to give her client's lips more dimension. "Then, I blot lipstick to the center of her lips and top it off with a gloss," she explains. She also says her client is blessed with a natural glow that required little touchups throughout the night. "I made sure to stipple in her foundation and layer on the right amount of powders during her initial application," Bullock says. "To touch up, I press in her natural oils as they peek through her skin with a fluffy brush and apply a little more lip gloss, and she's good to go."
While some would consider beauty frivolous in a political climate like today's, Phillip says that her on-set routine contributes significantly to her work confidence. "I trust that our hair and makeup artists are always looking out for me and ensuring that I look my best," she says. "During big moments like the election, the last thing you want to think about is how you look. Still, while I never want my on-camera glam to take away from what's important, I want to look and feel beautiful and strong behind that desk." Phillip has more than managed to do the hard work — and looked damn good doing it.
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