On Wednesday, E! News published an exclusive story exploring "How Social Media Has Changed the Celeb Glam Squad Game." And then the world of celebrity glam squads spontaneously combusted.
What began as a quest to understand the way technology has played a role in this corner of the beauty industry quickly morphed into a dramatic source of tension within the ranks of the celebrity glam squad community. In effect, the story pitted members of said squads against each other — and the results weren't pretty.
Cinya Burton, who penned the story, reports that she interviewed nearly 20 celebrity makeup artists and hairstylists for the story, both on and off the record. Hairstylists like Jen Atkin and Sarah Potempa, who have the training of old guard hairstylists and the social media mentality and prowess of the up-and-comers, discuss the importance of bridging the gap and adapting to change. But there's also clearly some resentment and frustration amongst the more seasoned beauty professionals, as is evident in the more inflammatory and exasperated sound bites, like this one from makeup artist Pati Dubroff (who has been a vocal critic of "Instagram makeup" in the past):
"I'm appalled when I hear about it because it's people like Patrick Ta that are sabotaging the entire industry by doing that. You know, lucky for him that he can afford to do that but the rest of us have to work for a living." (What Dubroff is referring to is the rumor that Ta will provide makeup services in exchange for social media coverage, rather than compensation.) "We've established our worth. We've had to cut our rates for so many reasons, and also because of people like him and others who will work for free, then it's bringing the whole standard down," Dubroff goes on to say.
Though according to Burton, Ta apparently declined to comment for the story, he did respond via — you guessed it! — social media, posting the following statement to Instagram:
And he wasn't the only one to feel the need to speak out after the the article's shock waves hit. Atkin penned a lengthy open letter, which she posted on her hair content site, Mane Addicts. An edited-down excerpt from the full letter is below:
"Change and technology can be scary. Technology has changed the way we work, dress, eat, travel, and communicate. Technology is changing ALL industries, not just BEAUTY. It can bring a great sense of togetherness, community, and awareness in many aspects in life.
I'm from the generation that paid my dues by working under many talented artists, learning my craft, building my book, and learning from Andy Lecompte how to take care of the client in my chair. I was also an early adapter of Instagram, and now Snapchat. I'm an over sharer. The reason I over share is because I think about who I was 16 years ago in a small town in Utah never imagining my life would become what is has. I feel blessed daily to be able to do what I love and I want to encourage others out there to go after their dreams. I’m proof they can come true. I wish I had someone there in the early days to help push me along and tell me not to give up.
I do not feel like there needs to be a divide in the sand between artists who have adapted to social media and those who have not. My reasoning for starting Mane Addicts was to bridge the gap between artists – older and younger. This used to be a very cutthroat competitive industry and I'm happy to see that changing. We are so much better off learning from one another, sharing our knowledge, and being inspired by each other.
What I think IS missing in this industry is CONVERSATIONS and EDUCATION by professionals. Everyone deserves to be educated and to learn the ART of hairstyling from someone, it’s how we all got to where we are today! It’s equally important in this day and age to learn about your business, social media, and marketing. It's not smart to be a hairstylist with a lot of clothes in the closet and no money in the bank! My hope is for all of us to be able to learn from one another and start connecting as artists and human beings.
Atkin also posted a photo montage to Instagram with strong "Can't we all just get along?" vibes:
Makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic, who has a huge social media following and often also works with the Kardashians, wrote a thoughtful response on Instagram as well:
To an outsider looking in, all of this drama may seem overblown. After all, there are real problems happening in the world today.