Get to know Selena Gomez’s make-up artist Hung Vanngo
If you've ever wanted to get uncomfortably, soul-baringly close to Emily Ratajkowski or Selena Gomez; just ask Hung Vanngo. The man has probably seen the pores of both - and can even share their beauty routines with you. In the realm of celebrity make-up artists in 2018, Hung Vanngo is has a client list that calls to mind the ubiquity of Rachel Zoe's 'Zoe-bots' circa 2005. With clients like Em Rata, Selena, Gisele, Taylor Hill, Stella Maxwell and Kate Bosworth - it's fair to say you've seen his handiwork on the red carpet or VS catalogue many, many times.
And as the Global Artistry Ambassador for Marc Jacobs Beauty as well, you can imagine how frantic his life must be. But, perhaps it's a credit to humble beginnings (he was born in Vietnam and raised in Canada), he's not starry-eyed about his client, nor is he shy about telling me my my foundation shade is very yellow (it is) and which La Mer product works better on a long-haul flight (the mask, FYI).
Read on to find out his foundation tips and which of his It-girls possess secret make-up skillz.
Tell us about the new Marc Jacobs Shameless foundation.
So it is 24-hour long wear. We have 29 shades, which is huge. And the best part about it? It also has SPF25, which is a lot. Usually, anything that's over 15, it changes the formulation a little bit. But this one doesn't... The consistency is still the same. Especially in the dark shades - often when it's too heavy in sunscreen, [the shade] becomes chalky or muddy.
And it is flashback free - the SPF has been microencapsulated to stop that. You know, you have that white flashback when we take selfie, or photo. It's also self-setting, so you don't need to use powder at all. It's medium coverage to full coverage. If you want more natural coverage, you just apply less. And from my own experience, I find the foundation mimics your skin colour.
For example, I did a shoot with five models, for the Love calendar shoot - the videos. We did so many models in the day, and I told my assistant, "Pick the foundation for her," and they would grab it. Of course they're not gonna stand there and check the right foundation, they just grab the closest one and sometimes the shade's a little off. But you put it on, blend it, and it looks like your skin colour.
I like the way they've named them too.
Yeah, it's really easy for you to find, they have a Y, which is someone with yellow undertones. And R, for people who are red and pink undertones. So it's a lot easier.
What else is new for MJ?
This one came out three weeks ago, the Le Marc Liquid Lip Crayon ($38, sephora.com.au). You know, liquid lipstick, sometimes it's really matte, and it's really flat. But this is very hydrating and 16 hours long wear. But what makes it different is that they have this ghost pearl in there, so it doesn't look as flat, it has just a little sheen. It has more dimension than just the normal liquid lipstick and is so easy to apply.
What else do you love from the range?
The Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara ($39, sephora.com.au) is my favourite of the brand. You can quote me on that! It's a really fantastic mascara. Most black mascaras, you open them, after two weeks, it doesn't keep the black anymore. It looks like almost black. This stays black, and when you apply one layer, you get a lot of volume, and you can add on. You can do many layers, and it doesn't look crazy. I discovered the brand when they invited me to the launch of this, and I fell in love with the mascara. And I asked my agent to get more product, and that's how I got involved with the product, the brand. So it's always special.
You've just come from the Golden Globes, doing a few faces [Emily Ratajkowski, Sabrina Carpenter and Taylor Hill] right?
I was at the Golden Globes, and then we did the Critic's Choice Awards too, right after. And then, I went back to New York for 12 hours, and I flew to Singapore. I did three people for the Golden Globes.
How do you that? How does it all work during the day?
A well-organized machine! I have an assistant with me... But the good thing is the clients I work with, the ladies I work with now, they're very accommodating. But I mean, even now, the new clients know, for me, for a big awards [shows[, I cannot do just one. You know, I can't.
I got a request for Katy Perry for the Oscars Vanity Fair party, because she's performing, but we can't keep the time with Katy because she would want the full night just her. For me, I need to do three people a night. My clients, they accommodate the time. You know, sometimes ... Like Emily that day [at the Globes], she didn't have to leave until 7:30 at night, but she had her make up done by 5pm.
So she was happy to have it done early?
Oh, they have to, otherwise I can't. From their house to another person's house, it takes an hour to get there. So I have to travel, another person do, and I have to leave my assistant behind to make sure she has changed and is touched up... And it's just that's how they have to accommodate. Realistically, in LA, most of the make-up artists who are more established, they do more than one. Usually they do two. I'm a little greedy, so I'm just like, three. And I'm usually trying to get Gisele, Emily, and Selena to stay in the same hotel [like for the Met Gala].
That's got to be really fun, trying to get those three together...
It's hard. It was very hard, yeah. Selena was booked a year ahead, right? So she stayed at the Mark Hotel, and Emily was staying at the Carlyle. And then The Mark was sold out, so it means I have to switch back and forth, so it's harder.
And then it turned out that Selena had an extra room, because the people that booked her booked her assistant and her manager, but her manager didn't come. So basically we gave it to Emily. And then Gisele's house in New York - you have to go to Chelsea, this means I'm going lose two hours back and forth that day, right? So I said, "Gisele, I can't. Can you get the room?" For her to book a hotel, to get the room, pay for the room, it costs nothing for her. I mean, like, it's Gisele, you know what I mean? She's so rich!
I'm sure they just give it to her anyway.
Yeah, but she's fine with that, and she said okay. They do understand. To be honest, if it's a girl I've stopped working with, it's just because they can't accommodate. You want to work with a girl who's wanting to go further and fly, you know what I mean? That's what you want. You know that at some point they have to be flexible with you.
I'm always intrigued: are most celebrities, or people you work with, are they good at doing their own make-up?
Emily [Ratajkowski] could do her own make- up if I don't do her. She'd be first, because she's very good. Kate Bosworth's incredible at her own make-up. Selena is really good at her own makeup. Gisele? No. Gisele never does her own make-up.
She never wears make-up. She doesn't have any make-up at home. She understands good or bad make-up on her. When you do her, she knows what would look best on her, 'cause knows her face. But for her to apply, because she never wears make up herself - she's just lip balm - she's just that type of girl, you know what I mean? Not a make-up person.
But then, I have girls like Kate Bosworth, who can do gorgeous make-up. Emily likes a smoky eye. Selena's years of training at Disney, or when she was younger doing tours, she had to do her own make up at the time. They don't have the money for her to hire an entourage, so they made her to do her own make-up herself. She can do curling iron and everything....
I like working with people who are really good with make-up. You know why? Because they appreciate when you do a good job on them. The ones that understand make up, you can play so much.
They let you experiment a bit more?
No, because you explain to them. You say, "I'm gonna try do this," and they understand exactly what you're saying. So that's why, with the girls I just mentioned, you see their make-up changing all the time for different events. The girls that don't know, you always end up doing the same look because that's all they know. But the ones that understand make-up well, they can visualise, So there's a difference.
Who would be some of your favourite people you've worked with?
I love all my clients right now. At this point in my career, I don't want to work with people that I don't enjoy. I'm so direct, I mean, I told you how you wore your foundation. I mean, that's the type of person I am, and it's very hard for me. Maybe earlier in my career, I held back, but you go home and you don't feel good, you know what I mean? And at the end of the day, do you really want to go through that? You don't enjoy it.
And it's very personal because you are working closely with people. You're working on people's faces, you want be able to like the people you're working with?
Of course, you have to. And the thing is that the smart girls are really good to their make-up artists. They are. They know that... they are their best friend. I work with them, you know? I don't want to work with a girl who is thinking, like, 'Without me, you are nothing'.
Do you have any favourite looks that you created for some of your clients? Even in the last six months?
I love the one I just did on Kate Bosworth for Critic's Choice (below). I mean, her look is like an ultimate woman, I think beautiful. It's not weird, or anything. You know, we text back and forth, and she says it's one of her favourite looks for sure. It looked very expensive.
You're known for really beautiful skin. Do you have any favourite products or tips that you could share?
Exfoliation is the key, okay. A new favourite mask is the Kiehl's ... They have this ginseng firming mask that just came out recently, and it's a sleep mask, so you sleep overnight. It's a firming mask, and if you have real problem skin, you should use it for five days straight. They recommend it on the bottle.
I also love Lancer. They have this face scrub. I don't know if they sell it here? I mean, it's a little more expensive, it's $90 for a scrub, but it's worth every penny. But even the St Ive's Apricot Scrub is good. And the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum with Vitamin C... I try so many products, so it's hard to say. I mean, La Mer is one of my favourites. It's good for a flight. But not for everyone, though!
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