What’s It Like to Work at the Oscars? We Found Out
For most of us, the 85th Academy Awards gets underway as the first actress’s Christian Louboutin steps onto the red carpet Sunday evening at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. But for the makeup artists, hairstylists, manicurists, fashion stylists and countless other experts, the Oscars is already in full swing. We caught up with one makeup artist who has created looks at high-profile events like the Golden Globes to get a glimpse into what it’s like behind-the-scenes. “Award show season is always exciting,” says Billy B. “But it’s also hectic and stressful.” Here the L’Oréal Paris consultant, celebrity pro and go-to expert for musicians like Lady Gaga and Beyoncé talks about what it’s like during the hours leading up to the live action, how he gets his inspiration for putting together show-stopping beauty and the five essentials he relies on to bring on the glamour.
Tell us about your weekend leading up to the 70th Golden Globe Awards. We’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to be a makeup artist working at such a major Hollywood event like this.
Award show season is always exciting, but it’s also hectic and stressful. In the past I have done as many as three celebrities for the red carpet for one event. Now I like to keep the focus on one.
Who was the lucky lady at the Golden Globes?
I worked with model and L’Oréal Paris spokesperson Barbara Palvin.
Many celebrities pick their gowns and accessories at the last minute. Is it the same when it comes to their beauty look?
Yes, most of the time it is discussed the day of.
How does the collaboration work with the other experts responsible for major elements of an actress’s beauty look?
In a perfect world, the hairstylist goes first and then makeup. But unfortunately there are often time constraints for whatever reason, and it forces me to do makeup while hair and nails are being done. People would never believe what we are expected to accomplish and create and in what ridiculous conditions!
How do you prepare makeup ideas for actresses?
I am lucky. Most of my clients trust me, but it’s always a collaboration.
I tend to use iconic looks and references, like Elizabeth Taylor or Sophia Loren, from red carpets from different eras.
How hard is it to get experimental at an event like the Golden Globes or Oscars, when there is so much pressure to have a universally adored look?
Critics have scared makeup artists and actresses or singers from taking chances. There are so many iconic retro looks that are safer to re-create or have makeup inspired by.
What are your top-five products that you couldn’t work without when it comes to glamourous makeup?
- L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Miracle Blur Instant Skin Smoother.
- L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Mascara in Blackest Black or Carbon Black.
- Both a pencil and liquid eyeliner (L’Oréal Paris Infallible The Super Slim by Infallible Black).
- Beige eyeliner.
- An eyelash curler.
If you could give one tip to a woman for creating a red carpet-worthy look, what would it be?
[A live event] is in high-definition with no retouching, so be precise and light-handed and smile!
Photo: Courtesy of L’Oréal Paris