Variety will toast five Hollywood makeup artists known for setting red carpet beauty trends with staying power at the annual — and lively — Makeup Artistry Dinner on March 9 at Ardor Restaurant. But before the festivities, we sat down with each creator on Variety’s “Red Carpet Ready,” presented by Armani Beauty, to share behind-the-scenes moments, surprising inspirations and secret industry beauty tricks you won’t find on TikTok.
Though each of our honored artists approaches the craft differently, Alex Babsky, Kathy Jeung, Kelsey Deenihan Fisher, Allan Avendaño and Cedric Jolivet all agree that collaborating with their celebrity clients is key. These pros create elegance with a perfectly winged cat eye and add oomph with a bold lip that stops the paparazzi in their tracks.
First up, makeup artist Kelsey Deenihan Fisher.
Reese Witherspoon, Maude Apatow, Lucy Hale and Maya Rudolph all turn to Los Angeles-born makeup artist Deenihan Fisher for power looks that highlight inner confidence. She’s a lipstick fiend who’s weary of the trendy laminated brow.
When did you realize you wanted to be a makeup artist?
Deenihan Fisher: Early on. I had a girlfriend in high school whose father was in the industry and I did her makeup for dances. He told me that doing looks for films and actresses was a real career. I was like, “Sold.” There was never a plan B.
How would you describe your beauty style?
It really depends on what the client wants, from really clean, simple beauty to big and bright looks that make a statement. I feel confident translating what they want into a look that captures that feeling.
It’s obvious that you and Lucy Hale have a shorthand when it comes to beauty.
Lucy and I have done a million carpets and photo shoots together. We have to name each look because we have done so many. The “mint chocolate chip” is one of my favorite beauty moments with her. For the Critics Choice Awards in 2020, we did a mint green eyeshadow with a little bit of brown in there to warm it up. It looked cool and different, but not overwhelmingly absurd for a red carpet.
What’s the vibe like when you work with Reese Witherspoon?
Reese is so supportive and energetic. She’s the businesswoman I could only dream to be. She once said something that really resonated with me: I asked her what kind of look she wanted to do and she said, “Don’t ask me. I hire you because you are the best and I trust you.”
Let’s talk about Emma Chamberlain’s look at the 2021 Met Gala.
Oh my goodness. Emma Chamberlain is such a fun girl to get ready with. It is chaos in the best way. And the first Met that she did, she was hosting for the carpet for Vogue. We added, at the last minute, this neon green liner and the power this girl has over the internet is insane. I could not believe the amount of people that were recreating that look after the Met. I had all these tags on socials and I was blown away and it was probably one of the coolest things to see.
How do you make sure a client is really happy with her look?
I’ll usually have us look in the mirror together and ask, “Do you want me to add or remove anything?” I’m always open to their preferences. Thankfully, no one’s ever washed off her makeup — that I know of.
What is a timeless trend?
Lipstick: the shades, the texture and the opacity will change. It might be matte season or gloss season, but there will always be a need and a want for lipstick.
What’s one mistake everyone makes with makeup?
Following all the trends they see on the internet. Makeup should be an expression of yourself, not someone else.
Watch the full conversation above.