Valerie Darden-Hunt (Val) is not only a hugely successful Celebrity Makeup Artist who has worked with Oprah Winfrey (yes, you read that right) and for shows like Access Hollywood, she's also a friend of Lindsay's as they logged lots of on-set time together working at NBC back in the day. Let's take a peek into what it's like to live that makeup artist life...
LA: As a Celebrity Makeup Artist, what is one bit of advice you can share with our readers if they want to pursue this particular career?
VALERIE: My advice to individuals who are interested in becoming a Celebrity Makeup Artist is to make sure your people skills are developed. Working for MAC Cosmetics for nearly 12 years (1991-2002) really helped me not only develop my skills as a makeup artist but it allowed me to build professionalism on how to conduct myself with clients. We worked a lot of out of store freelance jobs during that time with celebrities, models and television shows. We kept our makeup kits pristine, our image immaculate and a professional behavior.
You are not to become too personal with your clients, divulging too much of your personal information nor are you there inquire their personal information. Keep your banter light and pleasant, work swiftly and listen to their makeup needs and concerns and do what they ask of you. We not only represented MAC, we were building our reputations. These are the keys that get you hired in the entertainment arena.
LA: What is one mistake you made in your career that you learned the most from?
VALERIE: One mistake I made in my career is working in entertainment news longer than I should have out of fear of losing my security. Sometimes in life you have to take a leap of faith in order to see how brave you are and it builds inner strength. I must say I had a good time working in entertainment news, with all the glitz and glamour of red carpet events and limousines, meeting tons of movie stars and celebrities, however, I should have made myself available to work in the scripted television sooner. I eventually left the show in 2015 and immediately began working on television sitcoms and episodics, which has been wonderful. I will always be grateful for my journey in entertainment news where I also met lifetime friends.
LA: What are you most proud of at this moment?
VALERIE: I’m most proud of is that I followed my dreams. I studied Psychology but always loved fashion and beauty. I could never land a job in the cosmetics department in retail stores while in college but I always knew that was where I wanted to be. Studying Psychology really helped me develop my own personality and brought out the best of who I am today.
I’m also proud of all the shows I’ve been invited to work on over the years, even while working in entertainment news. Working for Oprah Winfrey as her makeup artist was definitely a proud moment and I will always be grateful to Shaun Robinson for making the introduction. I’m proud to be a wife, stepmom and glammommy. I’m also proud I look damn good for 54 years old. LOL!!
LA: What is one interesting thing that people may not know about your profession?
VALERIE: One thing people may not know about my profession is how lucrative it can be. Depending on who your client is or what production you work for you can command a very high day rate. Having an agent always helps for negotiation purposes and finding work for you. I went the union route and put in many years in television which allows you to join the union after working 3 consecutive years and a minimum of 60 days in each of those years. Being in the union allows you to work on television episodics, sitcoms and films. In television, you have a standard pay scale which is great but the real pay off comes from working overtime.
LA: Your go-to beverage after a long week (specifics please!)?
VALERIE: My favorite beverage(s) after a long week is a nice glass of chilled rosè, or pinot griś. My favorite low cal cocktail, is a shot of vodka with a splash of flavored flat water, a splash of flavored sparkling water with a twist of lime.
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