Rihanna’s Go-To Makeup Artist Priscilla Ono Talks Makeup, Fenty, And More

Rihanna is famous for many things – her music, her impeccable fashion sense, her business ventures, and so much more. One of those things is her makeup. Her makeup looks at award shows, fashion shows, product launches, and just about every public appearance are the subject of appreciation by fans and beauty experts alike. Even though Riri does her own makeup often, the person behind this makeup magic is go-to makeup artist – Priscilla Ono.

Priscilla is a pretty big name in the industry, and you would expect nothing less from Rihanna’s makeup artist. As you’d expect, Ono has a lot of knowledge to share.

So, Vogue spoke to Priscilla Ono about her journey with makeup, the way makeup makes her feel, and more.

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Priscilla Ono

WHAT DID PRISCILLA ONO SAY?

MAKEUP JOURNEY

“I always loved make-up growing up. I never thought of it as a career until I met my now-husband 13 years ago. He was directing a music video and he wanted me to do the make-up for it. When I was there on set and seeing how everything worked, I just fell in love with it. I assisted for a couple of years, worked at Sephora for about three years, really paid my dues and perfected my craft.”

MEETING RIHANNA

“I met Rihanna about seven years ago on the set of her music video for S&M. I was actually there doing make-up for the backing dancers. She saw me on set and asked if I wanted to be in her music video and I was like: yeah, of course! We have been friends ever since. I heard she was developing a make-up line, I hit her up and was like: if you ever need any help, let me know. And she said actually we are looking for a global make-up artist, I tried out and I got the job. It was a year ago and it’s been great!”

Priscilla Ono

WORKING WITH RIHANNA

“It is a dream come true, literally. I couldn’t sleep two nights in a row and I vividly remember telling my husband I that I didn’t want to fall asleep, because I didn’t want to stop daydreaming about that moment. It was an amazing feeling and something I always wanted to do.

Collaborating with her is the highlight of my career. We just did the white eyeliner look for the Louis Vuitton and Virgil fashion show. Coming up with the looks with her and watching them impact the world so hard, it is the most gratifying thing. We are really creating moves. We are making trends happen. Now I see everyone rocking white eyeliner. She always wants something new and different, she is always helping me and pushing me, always wanting me to bring something new and fresh.”

THE SPECIALITY OF THE MOROCCAN SPICE PALETTE

“I think the difference is that we never had an eyeshadow palette that you could use every day. We have never had a new liquid liner in our range and it is so amazing, it works so great. The tip is so fine, you can do a very thin line or thick liner. Our eyeshadow primer, brushes… everything is new. I can’t wait to see everybody use it, it was so hard to keep it a secret for such a long time!”

Priscilla Ono

MAKEUP AND ITS POWER

“Make-up makes me feel powerful. It makes me feel fearless and I think that’s what I pass on when I do make-up. When my clients have had a hard night before, and you know maybe had a hard week and not feeling their best, sitting in their robe and glasses. As soon as I start doing their make-up, lay the foundation, do some nice eyes, a good highlight, their whole demeanour just changes. They feel powerful, they feel fearless and I just get a gratification inside that makes me feel like: wow, I did my job.”

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MAKEUP TIPS FOR THE SUMMER

“It is hot, and you want your make-up to stay on. Rihanna wanted to create a foundation that was humidity-resistant. The Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation is certified in a lab, it is long-wear, so it will last you 14 hours plus. Now we have also come out with our Pro Filt’r Primer, to make it last even longer, and we just launched our Pro Filt’r primer for the eyes. This is for if you get greasy eyelids, and your eyeshadow tends to crease.”

WORD OF ADVICE

“Never give up, don’t think that things come easy. I think in this day and age you see a lot of artists on social media and you see a lot of their success and you wonder: “why I am not there yet?”. It takes time – I have been doing this for over 14 years and only now do I feel like I am finally breaking ground. Practice is the mother of mastery – you need to practice and work on as many people as possible. Even if it is on yourself, it is only going to make you a better artist.”

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