Valery Gherman at work
Part two in the series where I talk to people whose lives I secretly covet... Meet Valery Gherman. Valery is a Ukrainian ex-pat Kiwi makeup artist living in New York. (Common misconception - not all male makeup artists wear foundation.) I've never actually met him in real life before, but we've recently become Facebook friends and now I spend far too much time stalking his profile photos to see all the awesome people he knows and amazing places he goes. He's worked with the best - Daria Werbowy, Sasha Pivovarova, Alexa Chung, Constance Jablonski, Siri Tollerod, Mark Ronson, Victor and Rolf, Mathias Lauridsen, Nick Cannon(!!!!); and for the best - Vogue, Pop, Dazed and Confused, Interview etc etc.
I managed to convince Valery to do a Q&A (and send through a whole bunch of his work, see below) over the weekend. Here's what he had to say for himself.
What do you do?
I am a makeup artist.
Where are you right now?
In my apartment in Manhattan, NYC.
What are you working on at the moment?
A beauty project for LVMH’s The Nowness, an exciting new webazine edited by Jefferson Hack from Dazed and Confused/Another Magazine.
Magdalena Frackowiak for Vogue Australia
What was the last job you completed?
A really cool video/interactive project shot by director/photographer Barnaby Roper of model Eniko Mihalik for SHOWstudio.
What's it like living in New York?
I love New York. I think the city can really do your head in if you don’t get away regularly. So I’m fortunate in that respect as I travel a lot with work. Just two hours away is Woodstock, so peace and nature is relatively close. Whenever I leave the city I truly appreciate how amazing it is though. Nothing quite like it.
Constance Jablonski for Black
What was your first job when you moved to New York?
My first job when I arrived to New York was assisting during September Fashion Week. I think I spent a lot of time on my knees on moisturiser patrol.
Who are your favourite people to work with on shoots?
Hmmm. That’s a hard one, as there are so many variables. I definitely have a bunch of teams I work with very regularly, whether it's just the hair stylists, stylists, photographers, or combinations of all. But what I enjoy is the very open dialogues we have with each other during the entire process of the job. Sometimes at the beginning of the job clients are a little taken back by our directness with each other, but appreciate our ability to collaborate and express our ideas together without the ceremony of being ‘polite’ all the time. Kinda like family. I have been working with Todd Selby for the past six years and have had some really fun trips with him. Since he has been doing The Selby, I have also been involved in many of those projects including the latest Cole Haan campaigns and Vogue Paris spreads.
What was the one thing that happened to get you where you are today? Was there one person who believed in you, one lucky break, one surprise phone call?
I’ve been blessed to have been surrounded by very supportive role models and to have had the opportunity to witness how the 'magic call' or that 'one person' really doesn’t exist. All the shout-outs help, but they have all really grown from building lasting working relationships with people, and earning trust over time. Funnily though, after I had made the decision to move to New York nine years ago, a ‘magic surprise call’ came with the promise of an amazing job which helped cement my travel plans to the Big Apple. On arrival, just as miraculously as the job had appeared, it miraculously dissapeared, so that experience was a complete disaster. What it did do though was confront me with the reality that I had to pound the pavement and be very clear on what I was there for, and thanks to a couple of people who let me crash on their couches, I was given the opportunity to work it out. I guess the best part of one surprise call not 'making' my career hopefully means that one surprise call won’t 'break' my careeer.
Valery's crew. From left: Valery Gherman, Kate Lanphear - Style Director Elle US, Camilla Staerk - fashion designer, Brian Coats - Fashion Director of GQ, Ryan Mckenna - gallerist, Victor Glemaud - menswear designer, and also PR director for Tommy Hillfiger.
"Part of the crew for our 'outer boroughs' food missions... We decided every few weekends we have to go to one the five outer boroughs of NYC until we have done them all. So far we have done Flushing Queens for Korean, and last weekend Staten Island for Sri Lankan. Zip Code was 10301, so I guess it's the new cast of 'Staten Island 10301' haha. Next Sunday I'm taking everyone down to Brighton Beach in Brooklyn aka Little Odessa. Odessa is where I was born in the Ukraine so this time I have to represent!"
I LIKE YOU!