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Priscilla Ono

Source: Dave Kotinsky / Getty

Celebrity makeup artist, Priscilla Ono, is behind some of our favorite beauty looks. From Rihanna, Megan Thee Stallion, Amber Rose to Normani and so many other celeb women, she is a makeup mastermind. The Fenty Beauty global makeup artist started on the floors at Sephora, where she honed her makeup skills. Ono always knew who she was was so much bigger than her.”. That feeling became reality when the stars aligned and she crossed paths with Rihanna on the set of the S&M music video. A serendipitous moment for the Mexican-born artist who spent countless hours studying 90s music videos for inspiration to step into her purpose on the set of Rihanna’s music video. One thing about your purpose: it’s going to find you and that couldn’t be more true for Priscilla Ono.

We spoke with the beauty guru about spring beauty trends, her new partnership with Secret, and some of her favorite beauty looks she’s done on Rihanna. 

HelloBeautiful: How do you define beauty?

Priscilla Ono: I see beauty in everything, and I think beauty comes from confidence. That’s why I love makeup so much. I have seen some of my clients not have the best of days and I give ’em a good glam and all of a sudden their confidence just goes through the roof. So I definitely think that beauty stems from confidence. And I think that’s why I really love this partnership that I have with Secret, because you know, just like looking your best, you always wanna smell your best. I feel like when you smell your best, you’re your most confident as well. Especially with the new weightless dry spray that I’m absolutely loving these days. It has 48-hour protection and the scent in it is phenomenal.

Sometimes my clients will even say, “What perfume are you wearing? I’m like, it’s actually my new weightless, dry spray in Wild Rose. It smells incredible. It doesn’t rub off on the clothing. My clients sometimes hit red carpets and there have been times when my clients need a fresh pick me up and they’ll use the deodorant on the red carpet. We never want any stains. So the fact that it’s invisible makes you feel very confident too. You don’t wanna walk out on a red carpet with deodorant stains on your beautiful Valentino gown, you know? So for me, confidence defines beauty in a nutshell.

HelloBeautiful: How do you think your Mexican heritage has inspired how you show up in the beauty industry?

Priscilla Ono: Ah, a lot. I think that growing up with my Mexican grandmother, she always instilled in me that because I’m a woman and because I am Mexican and a woman of color, I would have to work twice as hard as others. So for her, she taught me to work really hard. Anything that you do, put your heart wholeheartedly into it. Anything that you want, you can definitely reach, but you’re gonna have to work really hard. Because she drilled that into me for so many years, it just made me really passionate about anything that I do. I don’t know that if I were to be brought up in any other environment if I would be where I am now. I feel like because I have that instilled in me in my upbringing, I am where I am today.

HelloBeautiful: Tell us a little bit more about your partnership with Secret. You talked about it a little bit earlier, but how did that come about?

Priscilla Ono: Secret approached me and I was pleasantly surprised. Anything that I do, any partnership I have, I want it to be organic and I want it to be true and real. And I just felt like Secret was such a big part of my life. Speaking about my grandmother, raising me when I was 12, my grandma used to put a stick of Secret deodorant in my backpack for school just in case I needed to freshen up because she always instilled beauty secrets and hygiene secrets with me and wanted me to always feel my freshest and my best. That obviously is gonna give you confidence and help you tackle the day. Because I grew up with Secret always around me, even to this day, like as a makeup artist, I carry secret in my makeup kit in my set bag. I just thought it was the most perfect fit. So when they approached me again, I was pleasantly surprised and it was something that is just so real in my life that I wanted to definitely collab with them and share any tips that I have for staying fresh. Whether it be a seasonal tip for beauty, for makeup and also scents, that’s so important.

HelloBeautiful: Yeah, it seems like it’s a really dope collaboration with two dope brands. So I love that for you. Well, it’s no, no secret that you’re responsible for Rihanna’s stunning makeup looks. What are your top three looks you’ve done on the beauty mogul?

Priscilla Ono: Oooooh, I’ve done so many looks! Everyone’s always asking me that question. It’s so hard because there are just so many good ones. But if I have to choose a few, I definitely really love the look we did for the British Fashion Awards when she wore her own brand, Fenty Maison, and she was wearing cornrows and these braids and we just did this really cool eye that was extended. We did a lip liner moment and it was just so beautiful. It was classic yet modern. Anything that’s classic is obviously gonna live on for decades. People are gonna look back and be like, ‘Wow.’ We look at looks from Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Josephine Baker and those looks could even wear them today. 

The Fashion Awards 2019 - Red Carpet Arrivals

Source: Samir Hussein / Getty

Second would probably be the launch of Fenty Beauty back in 2017 in New York. I did this look featuring Trophy Wife, which is one of the Fenty Beauty highlighters. She wore all yellow and we did a super gold makeup all over the sides of her temples and her cheekbones and brow bone. It was just so stunning. 

ENTERTAINMENT-FASHION-RIHANNA-BEAUTY BRAND

Source: AFP Contributor / Getty

She’s been killing it lately. Her maternity game is, you know, on point she is redefining maternity wear. My third, most favorite, is this past look that we did for the Ulta launch where we did the all silver and with the silver liner – it was a really gorgeous, gorgeous glam. I feel like those moments are gonna be going down in history and people are gonna look back and be so inspired by those looks. And for me that’s everything.

Rihanna Celebrates The Launch of Fenty Beauty at Ulta Beauty

Source: Kevin Mazur / Getty

HelloBeautiful: So speaking of tips and makeup looks, can you share some spring beauty tips that the girls should add to their routine this season?

Priscilla Ono: Yes, absolutely. I am so excited for this spring. I feel like this spring, it’s all gonna be about color and pops of color and color blocking kind of like what I have going on today, which makes me really happy. I feel like pops of color, make anyone’s mood boost, you know? I also think when it comes to scents because that’s a part of beauty as well. A fresh scent is always a mood booster as well. And something that we’re gonna see more of now that we’re leaving virtual settings and we’re going into more in-person settings, you wanna look your best, but you also wanna smell your best. That’s why I’m really obsessed with the Secret Weightless Dry Spray. My favorite is the Wild Rose. I’m telling you sometimes I do makeup and my clients ask what perfume I’m wearing and I tell them it’s my deodorant. I actually work sometimes on set for 20 hours, whether it’s a music video or commercial, and I still feel like I feel fresh because it has 48-hour protection. It doesn’t come off on your clothing. So if my client has to hit a red carpet, it’s not gonna get on their clothes. I think it’s just absolutely perfect. So I would have to say bright colors and fresh scents for this spring.

HelloBeautiful: When I think of spring, that is what I think about. I love that so much. So it seems that you have a passion and a drive to teach the next generation of makeup artists. Where does that come from?

Priscilla Ono: I think it’s just wanting to spread the knowledge. I’ve been doing makeup for 17 years and when I first started doing makeup, there wasn’t Instagram, there wasn’t the internet, the way it is now, and you didn’t really get any teachings other than your mom and your grandma. For us, it was like the thin Chola eyebrow, the Chola brow liner. It was beautiful, but it was definitely one type of look and it wasn’t many. You weren’t really taught so many looks as you are now growing up and, and working on music videos and commercials, even in the early 2000s there weren’t makeup artists like there are now. The makeup artists kind of struggled, especially when it came to women of color and finding the right skin tone or foundation. I noticed that even back then women of color, African American women, and Latinas would always come to me to do their makeup on set versus any other makeup artist because I could match them real good. It was just something that came naturally to me. I always thought to myself, if I ever make it as a big makeup artist, I wanna have an academy one day. I wanna teach people how to actually match skin tone, how to make it match their body and not have any lines. So for me, it was always that passion of spreading the knowledge. I want all makeup artists to be successful. I want anyone that’s on set to feel confident and make sure that they have their right shade. That was always a big thing for me and I think that it’s still in me now. I love teaching. I love to teach and pass on. I’ve had so many of my assistants, my proteges make it so far, and I’m so proud. And to me, it’s almost like being a mom. It’s like a mama moment, you know. I’m their makeup mom. And I raised them and now they’re just doing everything. At the end of the day, I don’t expect this, but for some reason, they’re always mentioning my name and people know that they’ve been taught by me. It just means a lot.

HelloBeautiful: That’s amazing. I have chills. That’s so beautiful. Thank you. So, one last question. What has the beauty realm taught you about yourself?

Priscilla Ono: The beauty world has taught me to be true to myself. And when you’re true to yourself and you’re truly not just following trends, you’re gonna be more successful. Sometimes we have something in the back of our mind that is telling us we need to do this or we need to do that, that person’s doing this so you should be doing that. But I think that when you start to do things, just because others are doing it, it shows and it just becomes robotic. If you truly are who you are, and you’re true to that, I think that that’s very attractive and that makes people almost curious and want to know more. I feel like my success has been in being true to myself and having my own style of beauty and my own style of glam. Anytime I overthink something or time I try to mimic something that I’ve seen, it just never comes outright. I think that anytime I’ve just done something because it feels right, it’s always been the best. I think that’s my biggest lesson.

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