In the world of fashion there are many jobs that make the show go on. One of the most challenging is that of the hands behind the show. The hands that take the designer’s vision, dream and idea of what their grand display will be and make it a reality. The challenge here is the execution of that goal without overshadowing the designer or taking away from their designs.
It’s a slippery slope and many never make it to the top of that hill. It takes practice, dedication and precision. It takes natural talent and a strong honing of meticulously learned skills. It takes seeing the product in your hand for what it is, what it can be and in emergencies, what you need it to be.
I’ve been fortunate to work with one such inspiring powerhouse in the makeup world through the Aveda Artistry Team. Rudy Miles has a charisma that goes beyond words, knowledge deeper than any makeup guide and a hand that was made to decorate faces. Recently, he has transitioned from The Global Head of Makeup Artistry with Aveda to taking the fashion world by storm with his own brand, beautybyrudy. He is the hand behind many of Zang Toi’s shows and still contributes in various capacities to his roots in Aveda, including hosting 5-day intensive trainings in Tuscon, Provo, Dallas, Philadelphia and Denver.
When I contacted Rudy about talking to me for The Indianapolis Fashion Collective, he was quick to respond with a resounding “Absolutely!” It’s that humbleness and spirit that remains respectful of his roots and growth that makes me admire Rudy and solidify why he continues to his climb in such a competitive field.
It seems everyone dreams of moving to New York City at least once, how did you come to make that move?
I moved to New York City from Chicago in pursuit of a modeling career. I was modeling in Chicago and went to a model search. A New York agent told me if I was ever in New York City to stop by, so I just moved
Aveda has been a large part of your growth as a Makeup Artist, how did your relationship with Aveda start?
I moved to New York with $1000 in my pocket and quickly realized I needed money. I went to the Aveda Experience center to make money and fell in love with the company.
Did Aveda start your passion in makeup or has it always been a part of Rudy Miles?
I had absolutely no clue about makeup. When I was in Chicago I taught some minimal audition makeup to the students at John Casablancas, but never defined myself as an artist. Aveda provides intensive, extensive education which included makeup. That exposure gave me the makeup bug.
From walking through the doors looking to make money to rising to be Aveda’s Global Head of Makeup Artistry takes a lot of work, how did you do it?
In the Aveda Experience Center, I was very successful in selling. This got me noticed quickly and then I was asked to join the retail education team. At that point the Global Makeup Educator at the time, Dana Walker, hand picked me to keep training in makeup…against my wishes.
After working more closely with Dana, the Creative Director, Ray Civello, asked me to become a Global Educator for makeup as well. I will always remember him saying, “I will give you the opportunity but what you do with it is up to you.”
Dana Walker has been one of my beauty mentors, she taught so much and was so giving.
Do you have advice for makeup artists that are just beginning?
YES! Get the retail experience under your belt. Much of doing makeup is technical but at some point you will have to sell, even if you’re trying to sell yourself to a client. The top makeup artists in the industry are the ones pushing product, Trish McEvoy, Bobbi Brown, Pat McGrath.
You need to have your ear to the pulse of the business, not just the artistry. In classes I’m often asked by students, “How do I get a client to change her makeup?” I say, “You don’t. You show her how to do HER makeup better.” It’s about the client whether she’s in the chair or running the company you want work for.
I actually look for talent in every class that I teach that might be working side by side with me one day. It’s amazing to be working with the creative collective. Mentors also play a large role for you, like Gene Frisco of Concept Heaven. He has really helped me visualize the potential of my brand, beautybyrudy.
What’s your must have beauty item?
I designed a lash curler currently awaiting patent approval, I’m very excited about it but I can’t give details! Other than that, personally and professionally, MOISTURIZER!
Two Words: Beauty Icon
That’s hard to answer. I’ve always loved Diana Ross’ face photographed. Years ago there was a runway model named Dalma who did all the couture shows in Europe. She was so amazing that in the agency books her page simply listed her name and stats, no photograph needed.
You’ve created a string of well known editorials and looks, which one stands out to you as the most challenging?
It was a two-toned lip shot. It was difficult for me because at that time, I had never created an editorial makeup looks. I had to think on my feet and fall back on the basic concepts of color and texture. That shot is still quite popular.
You’ve been able to travel the world, rub elbows with celebrities, create faces for world famous designers and work with artists hungry to get started and mimic your career. In your career, what has been your most memorable moment to date?
In 2005, I went to Brazil to visit the Yawanawa Indians in the rainforest. I worked with Aveda to redesign the Uruku makeup collection packaging and we also did a stage presentation for Congress, Aveda’s network celebration. I was asked to be the team leader for the stage segment where I had to manage the team and the technical components of the show which included being on stage with Tashka, the Yawa Chief. The entire experience is special for me, it is one of the few times were my craft made an impact, the tribal connection, the new packaging and leading a team of very diverse personalities.
I am a self described makeup junky and my journey as a makeup artist has left a lasting impact on the creation of who I am. How has your journey as a makeup artist impacted your life?
I dream in color! Makeup is my passion. I work 25 hours a day because I am always thinking of techniques, products, programs, class formats and stage presentations. Makeup Artistry has given me a career I can take with me anywhere and I am whole heartedly pursuing that passion with beautybyrudy.
I know you can’t divulge all of your secrets but can you tell us how to achieve that long lasting, flawless complexion?
An integral part of creating a long lasting complexion has to do with preparing the skin through using the appropriate skincare. Many makeup artists miss this point and just commit to using primer on everyone. For example, some primers are to slippery to work on oily skin but work great on dry skin. This same concept works for moisturizer and skin care.
Can you give the every day Indiana girl a few pieces of advice with some makeup dos and dont’s?
I advise women everywhere to change their makeup seasonally. This can be as simple as using navy eyeliner instead of black, adding a pink lip gloss to your makeup bag and putting it over every lip color you own for a new twist, don’t apply bronzer to your entire face but focus it high on the cheekbones and above the brow or try adding blush into it for a bright burst of color and during the holiday season especially, FIND AN AMAZING RED LIP COLOR!
(Editors Note: I can’t agree more on the red lip!)