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Celebrity Glam Squads Share Their Best Tips For Making It In The Business

BOSS UP

When we see every celebrity grace red carpets and attend highly publicized events and parties, we sometimes forget that their whole look from head to toe is often handcrafted by artisans and professionals who work behind the scenes.


From Beyonce's famed makeup artist Sir John to Cardi B's publicist Patience Foster, the team behind the talent are key players in how we experience celebrities. There is a whole team of people that exist beyond the celebrity, and without them, the stars that we know and love would not be quite the same.

I sat down with celebrity wardrobe stylist Jayne Do, celebrity publicist Kiki Ayers, and celebrity makeup artist Camara Aunique to get the scoop on what these behind the scenes queens contribute to celeb style, appearance, and reputation.

The Stylist: Jayne Do

Jayne Do Celebrity StylistPhoto by D. Hinez

How She Got Her Start:

I was a baby when I started, literally. At the age of three was when I created my first design. I have ALWAYS wanted to be a fashion designer. Throughout grade school, I designed clothing and accessories for many competitions, showcases, and fashion shows. You could say I was the "go-to girl" in Houston for a very long time. I was 14 when I began fashion styling, completely by accident. A Missouri musician loved the way I dressed and paid me to dress him and his then girlfriend for an event. I've been a stylist ever since that day."

How She Honed Her Brand:

"Instagram has been very instrumental in that regard. Over the years, I've experimented with many aesthetics. It wasn't until this year that I found one worth sticking with. When styling my celebrity clients, I incorporate my artistry by simply enhancing what they already have to offer. I am very minimal in my approach, many of my clients come to me to aid in cleaning up their image or to take them out of their comfort zones and into the next level of their careers."

Draya Michele for PLEEZER MAGPhoto by Jarrelle Lee

How She Overcomes Job-Related Obstacles:

"Getting consistent clientele as an unsigned artist and figuring out my value were the biggest struggles for me. In addition to that, I am not the most social, hence the alias Jayne Do, and you have to be sort of 'in your face' in this industry. Each of my clients/gigs add a new lesson for me to learn. Some valuable and some completely unnecessary but the industry is too flawed to ever be perfect so I just roll with the punches."

"Each of my clients/gigs add a new lesson for me to learn."

Her Career High Point:

"My greatest accomplishment today is my debut fashion guide, DEAR STYLISTS: A Guide to Upgrading Your Fashion Styling Experience Vol 1., it was the second book I've written, but my first to be published. DEAR STYLISTS is a seven-book series that features Draya Michele on the cover and literally tells you everything you need to know as a beginner stylist. I genuinely believe that this series will change the course of fashion styling forever. I am super proud because for many years, all I've ever wanted to do was create jobs and expand the fashion styling industry and I truly believe that it's a step in the right direction.

Jayne DoPhoto by D. Hinez

Her Advice To Up & Comers:

"Do not let celebrity styling be your initial focus because it is not as glamorous as it seems. Style your everyday people first, learn the industry, and master your craft because once you're in the industry, your reputation is all you have and you will ruin it fast by not knowing what you're doing."

Click here to follow Jayne Do on Instagram.

The Makeup Artist: Camara Aunique

Camara Aunique, Celebrity Makeup Artist

How She Got Her Start:

"I got started working at Macy's. I used to ask other artists to show me how to do makeup. No one wanted to so I taught myself. As I've grown, I've had some amazing artists take me under their wings and [continue to] show me the way."

How She Honed Her Brand:

"The celebs I work with, we always seem to mesh well together. I ask a lot of questions and always make sure I'm giving them the look they want and if it doesn't go well the first time, I keep trying until I find something that makes them happy. It's not about me when I'm working with anyone. It's about how I make them feel."

How She Overcomes Job-Related Obstacles:

"I think a lot of people look at us artists that work with celebrities and think they've made it. That's the end result so they look like, 'Okay, move over my turn.' (Laughs) It doesn't work like that. We're all out here with families to feed. Some days, we're not working. Some days, we're crazy busy. Everything takes time. And know that it could take 10 years for that one year of success!"

Her Career High Point:

"My most recent accomplishments is partying at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture with Lisa Price, founder of Carol's Daughter. Having dinner on the patio to celebrate 25 years of Carol's Daughter and having a private tour of the museum while it was closed meant the world to me."

Her Advice To Up & Comers:

"Take your time, relax, don't overthink it. Ask questions, but be the expert."

Click here to follow Camara on Instagram.

The Publicist: Kiki Ayers

Kiki Ayers, CEO of Ayers PublicityPhoto by Sana Nodelman

How She Got Her Start:

"I am a self-taught publicist, so I got my start by watching what I would see publicists do as a journalist. I had no experience prior to starting my own company, so everything is trial and era. I learned how to write press releases and pitches by reading so many. I learned how to obtain clients by just reaching out to people I wanted to work with. I feel like in 2018, there's nothing you can't learn how to do. Everything you need to know is just a Google search away."

"In 2018, there's nothing you can't learn how to do."

Why Publicists Are So Needed:

"Publicists are vital for celebrities because when you're in the public eye, it's absolutely important to portray to the public the best image for your career. That's what PR is. Publicists make sure everyone knows all the latest projects you're working on and make sure that you're seen. We do damage control, set up interviews, press runs, secure interviews for TV shows, radio stations, magazine covers, and anything where you can promote yourself or product. It's vital to a person's success."

How She's Overcome Job-Related Obstacles:

"The unseen obstacles you face as a publicists is that nothing is routine. One day, you might be pitching for hours and the next, you might be flying out of the country for a major movie premiere red carpet your client is in. You could be on vacation and then it's cut short because your client is caught in a media scandal and then you have to do damage control. It's a very hard job but very hard and rewarding too."

Her Career High Point:

"One of my greatest accomplishments and celebrity collaborations is doing the gift branding for Jamie Foxx's 50th birthday party, as well as being hired as head of PR for Floyd Mayweather's 41st birthday party. I had one day to get media to come out and it was a huge success."

Photo by Sana Nodelman

Her Advice For Up & Comers:

"The best advice I would give is to not be afraid to put yourself out there. I think people often wait for opportunities to come to them, but in this industry you will have to make a lot of things happen. It won't happen right away so you shouldn't get discouraged. Just be persistent and continue to put yourself out there. Instead of looking for recognition, you should try to create opportunities and the rewards will come to you."

Click here to follow Kiki on Instagram.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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