• Actress Hilary Duff in the Danskin campaign.
  • Ed Westwick from Gossip Girl.
  • British-Irish boy band (and teenage heartthrobs) One Direction.
  • A beautiful, natural look from Joson's portfolio.
  • Milo Ventimiglia from Heroes.
  • Teen idol Demi Lovato.
  • Lucy Hale from Pretty Little Liars.
Aug 8, 2012

Chechel Joson

While many successful hair and makeup artists say that they’ve known about their “calling” since they were young kids practicing on dolls and family members, for Chechel Joson, it was more of a sudden epiphany. “The desire and inspiration just really came to me out of nowhere one day,” she said. “I was on my way to lunch with a fashion designer friend of mine, and I remember turning to him and saying, ‘I want to be a makeup artist.’” Since that revelation, Philippines-born Joson has honed her craft on a long list of models, musicians and actors, including Blake Shelton, Hilary Duff, Chase Crawford, Chris Hemsworth and the members of One Direction. We talked to the multitalented artist about her journey, her inspirations and what it’s like being on tour.

Tell us about your career path so far.

The start of my training was in fashion shows, which then became my consistent work. From there, a fashion magazine approached me to do an editorial for one of its issues. I was so excited. This was also the time when I started working with photographers. After a few years of doing fashion shows and more editorial work, I went to MUD in Burbank, CA.

Who are your mentors/icons?

My mentors were the senior makeup artists I worked with back when I was doing modeling jobs. They would give me technical guidance and critique my work. Because of them, I learned so much. I also always look to books of artists who inspire me when I need to refresh my memory or prepare for a shoot. I love reading books by Kevin Aucoin, Sam Fine, Way Bandy and Bobbi Brown.

How did you get into celebrity work?

My close friend, photographer Darren Tieste, was doing a charity book for brain cancer, and a lot of celebrities contributed their time to support the cause. I had volunteered my services, and this was how I started working with celebrities.

How much do celebrities’ publicists have a say in the looks you create?

Sometimes the talent and publicist already have a set idea of what they are looking for, but there are also times when it’s a blank canvas and I get the chance to take the lead. It all varies depending on the client and what the job is for. At the end of the day, if the talent is happy with the look, then the shoot will be amazing. Their confidence will come out naturally and effortlessly in the photos.

What’s your favorite thing about working with musicians?

What I love most when working with musicians is that they often sing while I do their hair and makeup.

What is it like being on tour with a band? Do you create the same looks for every show or do you mix it up a bit?

It is so much fun being on tour with a band. We usually have to do the same type of overall look each night, but we also try to find ways to make subtle changes to keep things fresh and mix it up.

What inspires you when coming up with a hair concept for editorial work?

I love surrealism. Enigma. Romance. Art. These things inspire me.

Your campaign work has truly run the gamut. How does working with a client like Gucci compare to working with a client like McDonalds?

Gucci is high-end and sophisticated, more along the lines of a “going out to a special event” kind of look. McDonalds, on the other hand, is more of a fresh, everyday, going to a park or mall look. Just a simple, fresh, natural day look.

What has been your favorite shoot?

At the moment, my favorite shoot was with Hilary Duff for Danskin.

Have you ever done makeup on a shoot and wanted to “fix” the hair look created by someone else on set?

Yes, but this is always a touchy subject, as you don’t want to disrespect or offend anyone. If the hairstylist has stepped away and the talent is in need of a minor adjustment, I will usually step in to help out. But I always let the stylist know what I touched up when they are back on set. I would never completely change a look or do anything to overstep my bounds if I’m there as a makeup artist.

Tell us about your experience on Project Runway. Is it difficult to work with inexperienced designers?

It’s not really difficult, just challenging. I think it’s all about trust. Once I was able to get the designers’ trust, and they saw what I could help to create and contribute in making their look complete, they almost always left the makeup vision to me. I was the head creative of the show, and it was a perfect synergy. They were all so amazing.

Who is your dream client and why?

I have a number of dream clients but I will keep that list quiet for now!

What is your dream job and why?

I would really love to follow in the footsteps of Pat McGrath, James Kaliardos, Charlotte Tilbury, Ve Neil, Laura Mercier and Kevin Aucoin. I just love their creativity and how they can create and recreate breathtaking beauty looks and trends. Because of their amazing vision and talent, they are given artistic freedom and hired by the most prestigious brands. They also use their talents to create cosmetic lines.

What do you like to do when you’re not doing hair or makeup?

I love doing yoga.

Favorite Oribe product?

I love Maximista Thickening Spray. It just works like magic. It really transforms the hair into this thick, beautiful mane that I can style so easily. I love it.
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