John Blaine, an in-demand editorial, red carpet and celebrity stylist, creator of Vine de la Vie haircare, and the creative director of Obliphica Professional Hair Care, was one of the artists selected for the beauty challenge show on Lifetime, American Beauty Star. Twelve hair or makeup artists were paired up to compete in a series of beauty challenges each week, from creating high-end editorial looks to the most current glam creations for red carpets and runway shows. Blaine saw the reality show as something new to explore, after decades in the industry and being fully-fluent in how-to style these looks, and a way to challenge himself. While sworn to secrecy about the results of the competition, Blaine shared a bit of the behind-the-scenes story with MODERN.
MS: You are a very well-established artist in Los Angeles. What was your thought process around participating in the show?
JB: One of my ex-agents contacted me with an email and asked, have you thought about going on TV? I had never done a competition show before so I just thought, ‘let me find out what they are all about.’ I met with the producer, the concept was explained to me, and while I was told that everyone would be familiar to me, we wouldn’t learn the names of any of the other participants until the show started.
MS: What was the process?
JB: They kept us separated until filming so that the real connections and reactions would happen on camera. We didn’t talk to each other unless it was on camera. Some of the participants only did hair, others were strictly makeup artists, and we worked together on our looks.
It was set up like red carpet challenge but everything was very controlled. We didn’t pick our own models, for instance, and they didn’t tell us the theme of the challenge until we were in the moment. We truly didn’t know what we would be doing until they were ready to tell us.
MS: How did you feel about the challenges?
JB: I felt very well-versed in them. We were acting as creative directors but things were assigned to us—models, partners, even wardrobe—and we were told, here is what you have to work with, so in a sense, that was really fun for me because I could just step back and play. We did direct the makeup, the nails and also, on set, we worked with the models. There were some really fun moments.
MS: Who should consider auditioning for these types of challenge shows?
JB: The people who should try out—and who will have the most fun—are kids who don’t have much experience in the professional beauty industry and who are from parts of the country far away from LA or NYC, who don’t get much exposure to it, either. Many of the challenges were not, well, challenging for me because I’ve been at this for 30 years, at a very high-level, working with the best photographers, best directors and best artists, but for someone just starting out, or for someone who has built a social media following but doesn’t have experience in the real world, this would be a great opportunity.
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