E! Scouted – The joys and perils of a reality show…
The show “Scouted” premieres on E! Monday 11/28 at 10pm. That’s tomorrow! And guess what? I signed on to be the lead makeup artist for all eight episodes. I’ll only be on camera now and then, as part of the studio makeover team. Still, I left my comfort zone of the fashion and celebrity universe I’m so familiar with to venture into the public eye of E! viewers in 120 countries. Express makeovers on popular TV? What have I done?
I am currently a mess of conflicting emotions: Excited? Absolutely! Insecure? More than ever! Hopeful that it’s a great show? Duuuuhhh. Having passing thoughts that this could be the end of my career? Oh, yeah. Experiencing panic attacks at the idea that I’ve been edited out entirely because I’m not eccentric enough? Totally. So this is where I’m at, with thoughts of grandeur and utter failure in an orbital collision course in my head. But I keep it cool and don’t let on.
The premise of the show is great: a model-search based concept but much more realistic than what’s been done on television before. No silly fake situations, over-the-top makeup, bitchy contestants who compete and winners we never see in the business. In fact, it highlights how hard it actually is to even be considered model material not to mention TOP model material.
The industry experts are absolutely for real. I’ve known Michael Flutie for close to 18 years as a model agent, a neighbor and a marketing-branding guru. He has a razor-sharp eye and one of the most perceptive and astute brains in the business. The beautiful Beri Smithers and I also go way back. We started our friendship by traveling across the world to Kenya and the Seychelles on a couple of epic trips when she was just a newbie. When her career took off like wildfire, I was always proud and absolutely delighted to find myself on shoots with her. We lived in the same apartment building for a while and never entirely lost touch over the years.
Even though I only met Julia Samersova on the set of the show, I knew of her because we were in the same agency for a while. Her reputation is the stuff of legend: old-school, well connected, knows her s–t, super-pro. What I didn’t know was how approachable, passionate and lovely she is.
And then there’s my new twitter friend, the girl-about-town, the chic and fabulous editor and stylist Dani Stahl. Perched on her killer high heels, decked out in some fabulous sexy outfit, she comes out with the most perfect sound bites while she infects you with her “passion for fashion”.
Then there are my partners in crime: talented photographer Danny Christensen and superbly accomplished hair stylist Charles Baker Strahan (with whom I have shared many a challenging assignment). The “Scouted” girls came to us for their first real studio “test”. The stakes were high: each makeover was key for the aspiring models. Under constant, unrelenting time pressure and crazy stress, we managed to produce some quality work we can all be proud of.
Now that the dust has settled, I realize that I am lucky to be part of a great project. Reality TV is a runaway train that you can’t control (and nobody wants to!), which for a control-freak like myself is terrifying. But you know what? I understood it was not about me, it was about the girls who were scouted, some for whom everything was new: New York, the industry, the studio, the fashion, hair and makeup, the shoot. I wanted them to experience how beautiful they were and how incredible they could look. Even when there was only five minutes and absolute mayhem going on (which was every time, it seemed), I dug deep to make sure I did my absolute best. After all, giving the gift of beauty is the job of a makeup artist, and that’s what I love about it. I guess the best response to a challenge is to set your ego aside, forget your fears and insecurities, and focus all your energy on being better than you thought you could be.
So, whatever you are, “Scouted”, bring it on: I’m ready!