CELEBRITY MAKE-UP ARTIST
CELEBRITY MAKE-UP ARTIST
What happens when you mix Hollywood glamour, a distinctive eye and the most infectious laugh. We find out.
Who knew that working as a Dior counter girl in college, to working with South East Asian royalty could eventually land herself working with A-list celebrities in films and TV? Well, Make-up Artist Leah Rial knew and her clientele can attest to her success – as she’s recently worked with Teri Hatcher, Julie Bowen, Anna Gunn, Demi Lovato and Lucy Punch, to name a few. She has an infectious laugh and it’s no wonder that everyone loves working with her – she’s your best cheerleader. We caught up with Rial on a predictably sunny and warm day in LA as she divulges what her beauty inspirations are starting out in the business, why she’ll never forget her first job and what it’s like to work in Hollywood.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WANT TO BECOME A MAKE-UP ARTIST?
I was a counter girl for Christian Dior Cosmetics in college at FIDM. I fell in love with the historic looks from Mr. Dior’s fifties “New Look” period – the corseted hour-glass figure iconic. But to me, it was historic because of the make-up. The dramatic sweeping cat eye that later become a trademark for Audrey Hepburn along with the dark, lush lips. I think it was the first time that a signature make-up look was created to accompany a collection. It was timeless perfection.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB AS A MAKE-UP ARTIST?
Amazingly, my first paying job was for the Crown Prince of Brunei [of southeast asian royalty] and his family and entourage. It was as surreal an experience as you could possibly imagine. I was hired by my roommate and friend, photographer John Patrick Salisbury. He and I did a lot of test shoots together…which I still have some of those images on my website from those test shoots twenty years ago (but none of the Prince of Brunei).
BEST ADVICE YOU GOT FROM ANOTHER MAKE-UP ARTIST WHEN YOU STARTED?
Garen Tolkin told me to care. Take care, give care, work with care, but mostly care about my artistry
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It’s a fleeting luxury, a snapshot in time. When you wash your face, it’s gone. The TA-Da! when someone sees their make-up is fantastic. Knowing they look fantastic, watching it elevate their mood, that’s the best. When I send someone to set or to an event or in front of the camera, I like to say, “Go, Fight, Win!” because I know that looking great makes you fierce and fabulous!
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT WORKING ON FILM AND TV SETS AS OPPOSED TO PRINT OR FASHION/EDITORIAL WORK?
Getting to be one of the tools that help the actor and director create a character. Each member of the crew is a part of a giant flowing event on a big production. I get to be supportive in ways that fashion/editorial doesn’t [allow]. Film, you’re working for weeks or months but on editorial/fashion [shoots], it’s hours or days. I get to be more of a cheerleader for film and press junkets.
DO YOU HAVE A BEAUTY MUSE WHO INSPIRES YOU?
My dog MyrnaLoy with her sweet doe eyes. We named her after the great and beautiful film star of the fifties.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LOOK FOR FALL?
Ethereal, porcelain, sculpted skin. Natural skin is out for winter and perfection is in. Sculpting with contour and a smoky eye with a soft lip – divine!
HOW DO YOU COPE WITH WORKING IN HOLLYWOOD AND DEALING WITH BIG PERSONALITIES?
I’m there with my soft brushes and magic kit of colors. I find that no matter how big the personality or what’s happening around me, I’m usually the calm spot in the storm. I haven’t really had to “cope”, I know everyone wants to hear a story about a bratty Hollywood star. I’ve seen people misbehave but it’s never really been directed at me.
HOW DO YOU UNWIND AFTER A LONG DAY ON SET? DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE LA SPA, RESTAURANT OR BAR?
My husband and I have a sweet little home with two dogs (fur babies) and nothing is better than pulling into the drive, knowing I’m home with them. Also, I love the foot spa in Sherman Oaks at Ventura and Beverly Glen, and Don Cuco’s Mexican Restaurant in Burbank is always a happy place.
AND FOR THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION…WHAT IS THE ONE BEAUTY PRODUCT THAT EVERY WOMAN CAN NOT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT?
To find out more about Leah, you can check out her website at www.makeupgirl.com
—by Lorna Soonhee Umphrey
Photos: Courtesy of Leah Rial