The TONI&GUY Keller Academy recently hosted renowned Hollywood make-up artist, James Ryder, who has worked with A-List actresses such as Katie Holmes and Reese Witherspoon, and on a wide range of films including Steel Magnolias, The Bruce Lee Story, Sum of All Fears, The Salton Sea, and The Cell -- for which he earned an Academy Award Nomination. For those who want to work in television or film, he advised that they start now. "One of the best things you can do right now as a student is start building a portfolio. Mix it up -- show lots of different looks, from classic to crazy avant garde. Volunteer to work on photo shoots doing hair and make-up. You can get paid with print images of the work you do, which look good in your book," he explained. "Whether you want go into fashion or film, you'll need a solid portfolio."
As he entertained students with stories from his beginnings in the world of high fashion, to his decades of experience in the motion picture industry, his message was clear. "Think big -- dream big! It doesn't have to take a long time to achieve your goals," Ryder said. "At 20, I was working on supermodels in New York, then started working on independent films," he added. "You guys have chosen a career where you get to play for the rest of your life. You can do whatever you want to do with the training you're getting here at TONI&GUY."
In addition to building a solid portfolio, Ryder told the students to think about an internship. "You can only get an internship while you're a student, so look into it now while you still have time. It's a great way to network and show people in the business that you're serious. It could be a TV station, theatre, ballet, or an independent film. It's a great way to learn different aspects of the business." he said. "Student films are another excellent way to break into the industry. The budget is usually low, so volunteers are always welcome," he added. "Those small student films are also great for networking."
Ryder shared some tricks of the trade, while discussing some make-up fundamentals such as the use of light and shadow, and tips like using matte finish hair pins that don't reflect light during photo shoots. "The people at the top of their game in hair and make-up are the ones who continually come up with new ideas and invent new ways to approach their craft," he said. Ryder then demonstrated a couple of quick techniques, including creating a swollen black eye on Junior A student, Scott Brown. "It's just interesting to see a guy like this come in and let us know that things can happen fast," Brown said. "What he's done is amazing." Junior C student, Kim Edwards, added, "I like how he showed us quick ways to work in a tight time crunch. I want to learn more, and can't wait to take the three workshops."
James Ryder is currently on a national tour lecturing at select hairdressing academies and conducting his trademarked RYDER make-up labs, which now claim 300,000 alumni in 100 cities.