When approximately 160,000 Hollywood SAG-AFTRA members went on strike in mid-July, thousands of stylists, manicurists and makeup artists also found themselves out of work.
The union chapter representing Hollywood makeup artists and hair stylists is IATSE Local 706, which is nestled within the broader International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and counts 2,300 members. Countless freelance beauty industry workers also comprise celebrity glam squad teams. The current conditions of the SAG-AFTRA strike, alongside the Writers Guild of America strike, are a reminder of how sprawling Hollywood is.
The call to action within the beauty industry has been more muted than when Covid-19 hit, forcing salons to close and other industry professionals, including makeup artists and aestheticians, to be out of work. At that time, companies like John Paul Mitchell Systems, hair-dye brand DpHue, makeup brand Il Makiage and skin-care brand Dermalogica quickly found multiple ways to offer support.
This time around, the biggest awareness campaign is Beauty4Beauty. Through its Instagram account, @Beauty4BeautyProject (825 followers), it encourages brands and affiliated companies to provide unemployed and underemployed beauty professionals with meaningful work opportunities through ongoing advocacy. The initiative launched on August 11 as a venture between celebrity makeup artist Matin Maulawizada, Lashify founder Sahara Lotti and the founder of Coterie Global, Ellen Maguire.
“Beauty4Beauty is a way to galvanize the industry to hire artists who are not working or working less. We give them guidelines and suggestions, but the brand handles all the contracts, fees and who they work with,” said Maguire. “A lot is going on, but there needs to be a lot more. … There’s a lack of awareness of the impact [of the strikes].”
Brands that have decided to support Beauty4Beauty’s mission include Lashify, which committed an initial $20,000 to beauty professionals to develop video content for the brand. And Bioeffect committed $15,000 to hire makeup artists who have supported the brand in an unpaid capacity to create social media content for the brand. Then, skin-care brand Retrouvé made an undisclosed financial commitment to support professional makeup artists during strikes, as did skin-care brand Epicuren Discovery. Most recently, on September 4, beauty brand Saint Jane joined Beauty4Beauty, working with impacted makeup artist Fiona Stiles on social content. Bigger brands are making commitments, too. MAC Cosmetics has committed $40,000 to work with beauty professionals, while a large legacy hair-care brand will soon be announced. According to Maguire, artists booked through Beauty4Beauty receive between $1,500-$2,500 for their work projects. So far, 12 brands have made commitments to Beauty4Beauty. Beauty4Beauty does not earn any commission or otherwise receive money for its efforts.
Other individual brands have stepped up to offer paid job opportunities and other support where they can. Hair-care brand Boldify hired “And Just Like That” hair department head Mandy Lyons for a media event to support someone affected by the strikes. Additionally, hair-care brands Andrew Fitzsimons and Reuzel are actively reaching out to stylists to send them products for whenever the strike ends and people need to refresh their kits.
Aleena Khan, co-founder and chief brand officer of CTZN Cosmetics, said the brand has a multi-pronged approach to supporting makeup artists. The first is refreshing makeup artist kits; CTZN frequently gifts gratis products to makeup artists, but rather than reach out to artists, CTZN posts an opt-in form on its social media pages. The opt-in form became available in early September and has had over 100 requests. The second prong is to offer free webinars on monetizing social media led by social media experts. The idea is to teach makeup artists to monetize their social media presence during this period of unemployment or freelance slowdown. The webinar program will begin in approximately two weeks.
“With many makeup artists’ busy schedules, they haven’t had to focus on [social media], necessarily. And social media is not for everyone. But at the same time, we felt this was a way to actually help, aside from [offering products, because it’s teaching a skill,” said Aleena Khan.
CTZN has some pre-existing relationship with the Hollywood film industry and the artistry community that works within it. For example, it has a friendly relationship with Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever” actress Poorna Jagannathan, actress-writer Mindy Kaling, singers Demi Lovato and Lizzo, and actress Hilary Duff. All of these relationships have been fostered by gifting free products to makeup artists, said Aleena Khan. Beyoncé’s makeup artist, Sir John, also serves as the brand’s chief creative officer.
“Celebrity makeup artists have a lot of power and pull because they’re influencing the celebrities what to wear,” said Naseeha Khan, co-founder and chief product innovation officer of CTZN Cosmetics.
Aleezeh Khan, co-founder and chief cultural officer of CTZN Cosmetics, added that there is an emotional element to helping artists, too, reaffirming the tight-knit community the beauty community is known for.
“Because we’ve developed personal relationships with makeup artists, it’s like we’re seeing our friends struggling. We want to find ways to help them in any small capacity,” she said.