Q&A With One Of The Most Diverse Makeup Artists In The Beauty & Fashion Industry//Rudy Miles.

Rudy Miles is one of the most diverse makeup artists in the beauty and fashion industries; combining his experience with business and retail and his technical artistry and skin care knowledge.As makeup team leader at New York’s fashion week, Rudy has created looks for designers Zang Toi, Malan Breton, Sherri Hill, Meghan Walsh, Oscar de la Renta, Katie Ermilio, Reem Acra, Perry Ellis, and EDUN. Rudy and his team have also created looks for the Valentino and Dolce & Gabbana boutiques.

Rudy has beautified Mara Brock Akil, Kirstie Alley, Kendall Jenner, Camila Alves, Nana Meriwether, Sela Ward, Paris Hilton, Nicole Hilton, Victoria Gotti and Jill Zarin.  Male grooming includes Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels, Matthew McConaughey, Josh Lucas and Cory Stearns.

I met this man years and years ago when he worked for Aveda and I worked for Neill Corporation and I still to this day practice many of his makeup tips and tricks. I love keeping up with him and am so honored to feature him here on Go French Yourself. His smile is contagious!

(all photography was provided by Rudy. Enjoy his magical work throughout the post)


-What is a day in the life of Rudy Miles like?

In general, every day starts with a mental and spiritual check in as soon as I arise around 6am-7am.  This is my grounding for the day ahead of me. As far as the physical activities of the day, NO two days are alike.  Because I am a licensed esthetician and a makeup artist, my day could include either or both as a focus; sometimes it’s spa treatments and brows, sometimes its makeup for a bride, shoot, show.  You name it!

-Who or what inspired you to want to become a makeup-artist? 

Originally, I had to learn makeup artistry skills so that I could meet my makeup sales goals at the Aveda store I started working in NY Flatiron District in 1995.  Literally we would have an hour long makeup class every Monday and for the rest of the week I would practice that technique on as many customers as I could.  As my sales began to grow, so did my confidence and technical abilities.

Then a makeup artist/hair stylist named Dana Walker took me under her wings and trained me very intensely and intently for a career as a makeup artist; not just how to do makeup.    

-How did your career begin in the world of beauty?

My early years in the world of beauty began when I was a model in Chicago, my hometown.  I was exposed to the world of fashion throughout high school and my degree is in Fashion Merchandising.  It was through modeling that I taught very simple makeup at John Casablancas in Chicago and became immersed in fashion and beauty.  

-Best advice you got  from another make-up artist when you started?

Hands down the best advice I got from Dana Walker was NEVER COPY.  To this day, it’s the reason my work has an emotion and style of its own.  This also helps me receive creativity from such an organically raw space and trust what comes through that creative voice as a makeup application.  

-As a highly demanded celebrity makeup artist, are there any celebrities whom you would still like to work with that you haven’t as of yet?

Honestly, I have definitely done celebrity work and some were more enjoyable than others.  I don’t respond/request of the Universe celebrity work as much as I open my heart up to available work,  But, I would love to work with Sela Ward again or Padma Lakshmi from Top Chef. 

-What element of your job do you most enjoy?!

I LOVE skincare preparation and facial massage.  As a makeup artist, I was never one to just slap on moisturizer and move on.  I always made skincare an application in and of itself.  Now as an esthetician, I can really use my technical skills to enhance the skin through massage, jade rollers, Gua Sha or whatever the skin needs.  

I also love the creative space of designing makeup each time. The process excites and intrigues me.  

-Do you like creating out-there looks, or do you prefer something classically beautiful?!

In my out-there looks I try to incorporate the classic beauty within it, almost as its origin.  But for sure I am most requested for classic, timeless beauty and super clean makeup looks.    

-Does everyone look better with make-up?

I had to laugh as I read that.  Most of the world would day YES.  I think health skin makes everyone look better, brighter and aglow.  So sometimes it's a matter of a little concealer and go; it doesn’t have to always be full on war paint to make an impact.  

-If you turn up to a shoot and the model has terrible skin, what do you do?

Believe it or not this happens more often than you think.  As one model reminded me, she is a woman/human first and being a model is what she does.  Meaning she’s susceptible to all the flaws and emotions/insecurities about her beauty as any other woman.  

The first thing I do is talk to the model as an esthetician and ask her about her skin as a woman, not as a model.  She is probably already sensitive about her skin and knows most makeup artists would expect her to have flawless skin.  I want to make her comfortable.  

Next, it’s time to talk to the photographer about his retouching preference.  Some photographers prefer you conceal as much of the imperfections as possible and they clean up the skin in post production while other photographers prefer very minimal cover up so that retouching is easier for them.   

-Favorite look for this summer with the face? And what can be see trend wise for fall/winter?

Clean fresh skin with a focus on eyes, brows, cheeks or lips is all the rage for the season.  Imagine glowing skin with a bit of bronzer and pop of color on the mouth; super minimalistic but majorly impactful.  The beauty of the season is there is something for every woman depending on her preference and favorite features of her face.  

For fall/winter we will see a continuation of lips as a focus. Though the concept of molten eyes had emerged for a few fall seasons, this fall we’ll see it embraced and applied more as the glow theme translates to the eyes.  

-One beauty product that every woman can leave home without?

I really have seen a pop of color on the lips transform a woman’s look and mood.  Assuming the skin is already pristine, otherwise I would day a really good concealer.  

-Your first celebrity client? What was that experience like?

Technically my first celebrity client was probably Susan Sarandon who would shop in the Aveda store when I worked retail.  She rocks; kind, funny, open, approachable.  

Next was Sela Ward wth whom I spent two days on a press junket for her book release.  Again, a stellar woman and person.  

-How do you handle a complete diva with a complete diva attitude?

When I am dealing with a difficult model who won’t sit still or diva attitude, I simply say, “I really want to create a beautiful look for you.  Do you think you can sit still for 20 minutes so I can get this right for you?”  This doesn’t happen often but I’ve learned this personality type tends to be egocentric so the more I fake-make it about them, the easier it goes and the sooner I can be done with them.  

-What do you still struggle with when it comes to your artistry?

I do struggle with having to still explain my independent voice as an artist.  After more than 23 years in the industry, every now and then you get that client that wants to copy something from a runway show or magazine spread; absolutely not!  So on these sets, I am always very vocal, sometimes unpopular but never copying.  

-Tell me about the brand you started and any advice for other artists looking to start a brand?

My brand is beautybyrudy: committed to advancing the professional careers of artists through education and hands on work experience. We design innovative products and tools that connect time and techniques for artists and consumers.

I recommend that any makeup artist looking to start a brand begin with a grasp on the business of makeup.  So little of what I do is about physically holding the brush and painting a face.  So much of what I do is about working with clients on strategy, team building, growing business and creating a presence.  Makeup artists must identity what is their point of difference offering as a brand both technically and artistically.    

-What advice would you offer to new makeup artists about thriving in today’s competitive market (both in the blogosphere and editorial world)?

What a different industry we have today versus when I began my career in the 90s.  It’s a new, ever evolving open opportunity space but once again artists must understand its evolution.  Social media is a great tool when used properly and can get an artist so much exposure and access.  It’s a space that has changed so much about how consumers receive makeup information to how brands are targeting and reaching consumers.  It can even get you editorial work whereas in the past you almost always needed to be represented any an agency to be considered for this level of work (by the way I am not represented by an agency at this time).  

-Tell me about a makeup job that stands out in particular, either because it was funny, informative, or highly unusual.

Working in Africa for EDUN clothing line was definitely a game changer for me.  I had been international many times before that but this trip was different because of EDUN’s mission and the scope of the project.  

Also visiting the Yawanawa Indians of Brazil while working with Aveda.  Imagine living amongst a tribe and learning their sacred face and body painting.  

-Big career dreams for the future?!!!

Right now I am anxiously awaiting final design on a cool new patented lash curler design I’ve been working on.  STAY TUNED!

And p.s... I asked Rudy about his music and here's what he had to say...(I love knowing what people are listening to)

"Literally, I have discovered Amazon Music and a new appreciation for Spotify so sometimes I trust it to give me a playlist otherwise DJ Khaled or Beyonce. "

Cannot wait for that lash curler Rudy! Keep up with him here so you do not miss out on that!



Love Q & A's....get to know more of my favorite people here