When beauty lovers turn their passion into a career, great things happen. Case in point: Valerie Hernandez, one of our Paul Mitchell Insiders who works as a freelance makeup artist and hairstylist in Los Angeles. With experience working with celebrity clientele, well-known brands and salon clients, Valerie does it all. Here she shares a bit more detail about her life and career as a beauty pro.
How did you get your start as a hairstylist and makeup artist?
Valerie: I started my career as a hairstylist after college. I attended cosmetology school in El Paso, Texas in 1999 and worked as an apprentice and commission stylist for a number of years before I ventured on my own path to pursue a career as a makeup artist.
Photography: Colin Angus | Hair and makeup: Valerie Hernandez
What do you love most about working in the beauty industry?
VH: I have always loved transformations. I love being able to share collaborations with other creative people and bring them to life. I am constantly inspired by Mother Nature.
Who is your mentor?
VH: I’ve had several mentors in my careerâ•Œsome that I’ve admired and watched like a hawk from afar and others that have encouraged and supported me since day one. Ron Vine, Debbie Axen, Vicky Oglesby, Robert Cromeans and Kevyn Aucoin are a few.
Describe a day in the life of Val.
VH: It depends on the day. I always start my mornings off with meditation/prayer and/or a good 5 mile run/spin class. I feed all of my children (Ani - Chihuahua, Suni - Orange Tabby, Pearl - Bearded Dragon), then head off into the LA madness. My day to day schedule is so random depending on my jobs (life of a freelancer!). My office can be a day at the beach doing a summer beauty campaign or in a studio. I just finished a TV show and we drove all over LA on a daily basis"ouch!
Do you have any favorite moments or clients?
VH: I have been blessed with an amazing career. My favorite moments as a hairstylist and makeup artist are simply when my clients are grateful for their experience, whether they’re brides, models, celebrities or salon clients. Expect the unexpected. When I connect with my clients and leave a positive lasting impression, that’s when I know I’ve succeeded.
Photography: Ceaser Lima | Makeup: Valerie Hernandez | Hair: Daven Mayeda
What is the best job you ever booked as a makeup artist?
VH: My most memorable job was working on "The Contributor" campaign for BCBG. We work with real woman who have made powerful and positive impacts on society.
What is your go-to hair and makeup look?
VH: My personal hair and makeup style is very simple and low maintenance on a day-to-day basis. Braids, beach waves or a top knot with a true red lip is my current obsession.
What hair or makeup trends are you loving right now? Any tips for getting these styles?
VH: Pixie lashes and reverse braids are my favorite right now.
Photography: Lee Cherry | Hair and makeup: Valerie Hernandez
What are your favorite Paul Mitchell products? Must-have tools?
VH: As a hairstylist and color specialist, I am completely obsessed with PM SHINES®, both Liquid and CrÃÂ¨me. [This demi-permanent hair color is] super easy to use and the payoff is fantastic. In terms of styling products, the Awapuhi Wild Ginger® line is incredible. I can’t and will not ever live without the following:
What career goal do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?
VH: I have always wanted to pursue a career in Photography. I’m fascinated with capturing that "Kodak moment". Perhaps that is the next evolution of my career. We’ll see!
Thanks for sharing an inside look at your busy life and career, Val!
Angela Hauk is Paul Mitchell's Brand Advocate Manager. When she's not conversing with the Insiders or sending them swag, she enjoys painting, writing, and exploring new places. Someday she'll own a card shop where her obsession with quotes will be put to good use!