Traditionally, the "B-side" refers to the flip-side of a record. The A-side contains the more front-facing hits—the singles—but on the B-side, you can get in a bit deeper with the artist. And quite honestly, there's no better metaphor I can think of for the creative team behind a beauty look. They pull the references, scour the archives, and paint the picture you see on the big screen. The celebrity, model, or actor is the single with the most air time. But the glam team? They're the producers, conductors, friends, and family. For lack of a less ubiquitous phrase, they make it work.
It has always been our mission to shine a light on the BTS of beauty, as the artistry of hair and makeup is an intricate, detailed exploration at the cross-section of aesthetics and culture. Why? Because the origin of a look is just as important as the look itself. The backstory deserves its own hard-earned glory.
This time around, we're introducing you to Allan Avendaño and Dimitris Giannetos—the masterminds behind the hair and makeup looks for Byrdie's fifth cover—The Fall Issue—featuring Joey King. Below, join us in taking a peek behind the curtain, as their inspirations are empowering and beautiful in equal measure.
Makeup: Allan Avendaño
Our focus for the shoot was hazy, '60s nostalgia—a play on that dreamy summertime feeling somewhere in the Mediterranean. The makeup? Bronze cut creases, sunset-flush skin, and a powder-lavender cat-eyes. I think we all wanted to feel a bit of fantasy. "All three looks were inspired by the glamour and playfulness of the '60s," Avendaño says, adding, "with a modern touch like glowing skin and bronze tones." And Joey was immediately ready to play the part.
"Joey is the best client," Avendaño says, sincerely, about his longtime client. "We've been working together for over 10 years and she’s grown into such a beautiful, kind, intelligent woman. She's so witty and has an incredible sense of humor." To him, their close-knit relationship makes the work fun. "I have [this memory] of her as a 10 year-old, she put me in the makeup chair and began doing my hair and makeup. As we continue to work together, it remains such a cute and heartwarming memory for me."
I ask him to take me back to the beginning, before the notoriety, celebrity clients, and Instagram followers. Turns out, Avendaño wasn't focused on makeup when he got into the beauty industry. "I really wanted to become a fashion stylist," he tells me. "I was working with a regional fashion and lifestyle magazine in my early 20s, and I ended up doing makeup for a shoot I was styling because the [person they booked] was unavailable. When it was done, the makeup was praised by all the editors. The rest is history."
Avendaño was born in Quezon City, Philippines and grew up in L.A. After that fateful day on set—the first time he realized he could pursue makeup as a career—he researched every product, studied every face, and was self-taught from there on out. Avendaño freelanced for MAC for three years before he made it big, garnering editorials from legacy magazines and Hollywood clientele. And I'm not embellishing when I tell you four of our editors practically swooned at the prospect of working with him on this shoot. His reputation precedes him, and his kindness speaks volumes.
"Beauty is found through a person's aura," Avendaño explains when I ask how he defines the word. "[A person's] kindness, confidence, and warmth radiates, and it can bring out the beauty in others." It's a poignant point, one I hadn't thought about for 18 months because I've mostly been sitting in the same spot on my couch. Someone warm, inviting, fun, or boisterous looks more beatiful, sure, but they're able to impart some of that light on everyone else in the room. There's so much value in that interaction; in that light; in that feeling. Avendaño agrees: "I’m so fortunate to be around many physically beautiful individuals. More importantly, [their] beautiful auras have radiated and allowed me to project that same beauty. It’s contagious."
In terms of career highlights, Avendaño doesn't have to think for too long: "The 2017 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue with Kate Upton was a huge deal for me," he says, smiling. "I grew up reading that magazine—and traveling to Fiji for shoot was a dream." On another iconic note, his beauty icons check every legendary box: "Jerry Hall, Cindy Crawford, Grace Jones, Audrey Hepburn, and Sophia Loren," he lists as I swoon. By the time he finishes the list I'm beaming. "Same," I answer.
Before we wrap up, I ask for a bit of advice he can give to any aspiring makeup artists looking to follow in his footsteps. "Make sure this is your passion and, if it is, do not give up," he says. Though, there's a bit of a caveat: "Do what you have to do to survive but know there will be a lot of sacrifices, grunt work, and disappointments." That said, he assures, "Once you find your people and your groove, everything will fall into place. Work hard and be nice to people."
Hair: Dimitris Giannetos
"I wanted her to look ethereal, like she’s in a fairytale," Giannetos says of the hair looks. The inspiration was windswept and bouncy, like it was salty from a day at the beach. "We wanted to create something with a vintage feel for Joey’s hair, but of course with more modern elements."
And, while we're on the topic of the beach, Giannetos likens his time with Joey to spring break: "We always have the best time," he says. "I've been working with her since I moved from Greece to L.A. almost eight years ago. I’ve known Joey since she was a little girl! She’s family to me."
Giannetos went to a beauty school in Greece when he was 16 years-old, marking this year as his 20th anniversary in the industry. He moved to the U.S. in 2013 and became an ambassador for L’Oreal. He worked fashion shows in NY, Paris, Milan, and London on the legendary Guido Palau's team backstage. "It was an education for me to be able to work next to him," Giannetos asserts.
Now, his notable celebrity clients include Joey King (of course, Camila Cabello, and Britney Spears to name a few. "It was a career highlight when I got the call to work with Britney Spears—it was five years ago to this day!" Giannetos exclaims, giddy. His prolific work has graced the pages in magazines like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and ELLE, among others. "When I decided to move to 'Hollywood' from Greece, it seemed so big and I was so excited." It feels more like home to him now, he tells me, and he's inspired by living in such a creative town. "I get to meet so many talented hair and makeup artists who empower me every day."
He continues: "Beauty for me is my whole life, it's not only hair and makeup. Beauty is the way you see your life. After so many years doing this job, it has completely changed the way I look at people, the way I dress, how I decorate my [home]. I’m so inspired by what I'm doing. I feel beyond grateful for this gift."
Gratitude was a theme that ran through our entire interview, as Giannetos emphasizes the importance of loyalty and graciousness to those who have helped him along the way. For that reason, his mentor isn't a famous hairstylist but rather, his close friend and client. "My mentor is Maria Menounos. She discovered me in Greece and practically moved me to Los Angeles. That's where my dreams came true." He adds, "I owe her my life, she’s my best friend and without her nothing would be the same."
When I ask about favorite on-set memories over the years, he answers quickly: "Every time I get to work with Joey and the whole team. We always have the best time." And, that's evident. Our cover shoot was all smiles, jokes, and beautiful work. It was clear the entire team had real friendships; the connection was palpable. There was an ease to the day; a playful air on set that made it all feel entirely joyful. That's thanks in part to that gratitude Giannetos was discussing before. Everyone was just happy to be there.
He recently had the opportunity to work on a music video with Camila Cabello for her latest song "Don't Go Yet." According to Giannetos, this was another career highlight. "We had an amazing creative director," he says. "We got to play with so many different '70s-inspired looks. It was so new for Camila, and for me, to try so many new hairstyles. It turned out so beautiful."
Giannetos beauty icons are—"of course," he says before naming them—old Hollywood stars. They're the people he used to dream about from his home in Greece before moving to L.A. "From Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe to Audrey Hepburn," he says. "And J.Lo has always been an inspiration for me."
On advice, Giannetos, has some great nuggets. "Listen to people with experience," he tells me. "If you disagree, keep listening." And, of course, the part that goes without saying: "Work hard. It always pays off." Ain't that the truth, right?