Catching up with old friends and having the opportunity to make new ones is very much like being in a beauty salon. Here, Billy explains why.
Everyone knows Keshia Knight Pulliam from her years playing the adorable Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show. For me, having watched her evolve from a four-year-old to a beautiful woman was an interesting aspect of working with her as a first-time client. Keshia left TV when the series ended and basically remained out of the public eye until her recent role in Beauty Shop. At a press junket to promote this new movie, I had the amazing opportunity to meet her as Keshia the multifaceted actress, not as Rudy Huxtable the TV character we all loved. "I know I'll always be Rudy, and I'm proud of it," she told me, "but I'm excited about people enjoying me in other roles."
For the event, Keshia requested a natural look, but with a bit of a pop—her way of saying, "I've grown up!" I wanted to keep the focus on a sexy, mature eye, so I lined the inside rims in black and used nothing on the brow. I kept the mouth neutral and used a natural, dewy sheen on the cheek, again so the emphasis would stay on the eye.
Keshia's post-Cosby years have been all about her family and enjoying her life as a young adult—college, pledging a sorority, dating. She got a degree in sociology from Spelman College in Atlanta and studied film as well. "I always knew I would go back to acting, but I wanted to finish my education first," she told me. I'm impressed with the choices she's made, and I admire that hers is an atypical, positive child-star success story, because sadly, so many times it's not. She has grown into a beautiful, well-rounded young woman. And what a great choice to be part of such an accomplished cast as Queen Latifah, Kevin Bacon, Alicia Silverstone and Andie MacDowell!
In fact, since the movie has such a large ensemble cast, they all had their own hair and makeup people with them that week, and it was a terrific opportunity to meet and catch up with other makeup artists I know and admire, such as Fran Cooper and Collier Strong. I got to see my old friend Bille Woodruff, Beauty Shop's director. Bille and I worked together way back when on music videos (including Toni Braxton's), and now he's directing feature films. Another good friend, Kimberly Kimble, was there too; she did Keshia's hair. Kim and I have worked together many times in the past, and she always amazes me. She did Beyonce's hair for the Oscars this year. In addition to owning a salon and doing lots of other work—events, publicity tours, press junkets and more—Kim is also busy developing her own product line.
Press junkets like this one involve a lot of work, but in a way, they're a lot like beauty shops. People don't realize that makeup artists never have the opportunity to see, hang out and work with other makeup artists. Like any beauty shop, this junket turned out to be full of old friends and opportunities to make new ones. That's what made it so much fun for me. All of us should see this movie!