Variety will toast five Hollywood makeup artists (Alex Babsky, Kathy Jeung, Kelsey Deenihan Fisher, Allan Avendaño and Cedric Jolivet) 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.
At the ripe age of 5, Filipino Allan Avendaño fell in love with classic Hollywood films and decided to pursue makeup artistry. His penchant for a graphic eye and preternaturally glowing skin has earned him a following that includes Isabela Merced, Joey King, Kerry Washington and Gigi Hadid.
What’s your signature look?
Allan Avendaño: I’ve always been in love with old Hollywood glamour. I was obsessed with movies and actresses like Marilyn Monroe and Maureen O’Hara as a kid. What I like to do is modernize the bold looks you saw on starlets back in the day.
Tell us about an unforgettable makeup moment.
I worked with Betty White one time for a TV interview. I was so nervous because she was such a legend. We were in this tiny hotel bathroom and I said, “I think you have to sit on the toilet for me to do your makeup.” And she was just like, “OK.”
What’s your favorite look you gave Gigi Hadid?
I’ve known her for a very long time, and it’s hard to pinpoint, but I remember when she first got into “Sports Illustrated,” we were doing an after party in Nashville, Tennessee, for the issue. I did this graphic eye on her, which a lot of people in the feature had asked for.
You really mix it up with actor Isabela Merced. Share a favorite look.
Isabela just lets me play! For the 2019 Latin Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, we did this bold cat eye that was just black angles all around. I don’t know how I got that line so sharp. Every time I see it, I just swoon.
You have worked with Joey King since she was 9. How has her attitude toward her image evolved?
I’ve also known Joey King for a very long time, I think since she was nine years old. We met on the “Ramona and Beezus” press tour… We have such a bond. At first, she would tell me, “Do whatever you want. I don’t have any references.” Now, she’s become much more particular, which I love. She will say, “I really want to do something graphic” or “Let’s go with grungy.”
“The Bullet Train premiere, for example, she had this reference. She kind of let me go, and that’s how we ended up with that. It was duplicated quite a bit. It was awesome.
When it comes to makeup artistry, what would you go back and tell your younger self?
If something doesn’t go right, you wipe it off. If something isn’t feeling right, you do it over. As I’ve gotten older, I understand it isn’t about me. This is a service industry and I’m here to make someone feel her best.
How about a makeup trend you’re loving right now?
I think the hottest trend right now, which I’m enjoying, is cream blushes. It just adds a beautiful glow to you. I think cream blushes are trendy, but they’re also a little bit underrated.
What makeup trend are you tired of?
Super heavy foundation.
What’s one mistake everyone makes with makeup?
People apply everything they buy all at once: the highlighter, the contour, etc. Less is more.