Juanita Lyon, an Australian native, found her way to LA and into the fashion scene.
Tell us about yourself and how you got into the industry?
I was interested in art at an early age. I loved to draw, so with the little money my parents had they sent me to private art classes. I also used to buy every teen fashion magazine in Australia and I would constantly analyze the hair and makeup on the models. It made sense to become a hairdresser, I felt I could be creative, have artistic freedom and utilize my love for color. I served a four-year apprenticeship as a hairdresser in Australia then decided I wanted to be involved in fashion. I travelled around the world at twenty-one living in London and Spain. Then I moved to Los Angeles where I attended Otis Parsons School of Design where I studied bronze casting and sculpture, which lead me to work in a special effects lab for 2 years. There I worked on a few movies like Mars Attacks, and Face Off. After a while I decided I wanted to learn how to do beauty makeup so I attended Westmore makeup academy. After graduating I worked for free for 3 months to gain experience, then I was lucky enough to meet an artist who hired me regularly as his assistant working on set. It was quite a journey to end up where I did.
What are your favorite beauty and hair products?
My favorite beauty products are Orlane Paris and Klarif Skincare. My favorite hair products are Leonore Greyl, Oribe and Kevin Murphy. I carry them in my kit at all times. They’re definitely my go-to products at the moment.
What is your creative process, do you always know what you will do going into a shoot?
Most of the time I’m given specific directions prior to the shoot. Sometimes I’ll have to execute those ideas exactly, however these can also be what we call in the industry ‘mood boards’ which are created to provide a sense, and a jumping off point, for what the photographer wants to achieve. You have to be prepared for anything. I normally start analyzing as soon as I see my subject. I will constantly run ideas through my head until a final decision has been made by the client and I’ve executed what is required.
Do you have aspirations to create your own makeup line?
Right now I’m concentrating on work and enjoying my life. I love what I do.
Any hair and makeup tips you can share?
I believe less is more. It’s about celebrating your own style when it comes to hair and makeup. Let your freckles show! Don’t cover your whole face with foundation just conceal where you need to. Play with the natural texture of your hair and don’t use too much product.
What advice do you give to aspiring hair or makeup professionals to get where you are?
Acquiring the skills necessary is a given. You’ll be expected to know your craft. Where people get it wrong is set etiquette. This is probably the most important skill in the business. You need to be aware of what’s going on around you at all times. You will need to understand the wants and needs of the professionals, actors, models, talent etc. and most of all, the client and the photographer. Be willing. Be accommodating. It’s primarily common sense, and these skills are acquired through the experience of being on set.
Try to assist as many people as possible. There is something to be learnt from everyone. Test with photographers and build your book. This is a tough industry. You have to learn to take the good with the bad, and never give up.