Meet the Winners of Our First Annual Image Makers Awards

They're the stars (behind the stars) of the red carpet.

Here's a not-so-big show-business secret: It's the makeup artists, hairstylists, and background players who truly run Hollywood. To celebrate the men and women who create those iconic looks that blow us all away (think Kristen Stewart's edgy eye makeup and Lupita Nyong'o's spotlight-stealing outfits), Marie Claire is hosting the Image Maker Awards on January 12 in Los Angeles—right after these powerhouses have all flexed their muscles for the Golden Globes, naturally. Read on to meet the winners, and tune in to E! between now and January 12 to catch exclusive interviews with the masters themselves.

Jillian Dempsey: Makeup Artist

Dempsey is a go-to makeup artist for Hollywood It girls and Oscar-winning stars when they need to be camera-ready for the red carpet and magazine covers. As if working with A-listers and formulating her own cosmetics line wasn't enough, she's also a jewelry designer and a sculptor. "I love working with my hands, and creating beauty in everyday life," she says.

CELEBRITY CRED: "There are makeup
artists, and then there are true artists.
That's what it takes to create an image.
Jill falls under the latter. There are few
of those in this business," says Kristen

BIG BREAK: After assisting makeup
artists and hairstylists (yes, she can cut
hair, too), Dempsey got booked on a
magazine shoot with Brooke Shields in
the '90s. "It began a stream of
opportunities," she says.

SECRET WEAPON: Dempsey's must-
have is an adjustable light. "I need good
lighting to make someone look amazing."

WORDS OF WISDOM: "I once went
against my instincts and tried a
heavy-handed look I thought a new
client would like. She hated it. Lesson:
Be yourself and trust your artistry."

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Adir Abergel: Hair Stylist

The mane man for Jennifer Garner, Kristen Stewart, Rooney Mara, Maria Sharapova, Anne Hathaway, and countless others is a power player on the red carpet and in the pages of every magazine. "I love making the women I work with feel beautiful and powerful," he says. "Hopefully the looks we create inspire others to feel the same."

CELEBRITY CRED: "Adir is a real
artist—the ultimate collaborator," says
his longtime client Jennifer Garner. "He's also loyal to a fault, gives the best
hugs, and never tells your secrets."

HAIR PRODIGY: Abergel got the beauty
bug early. "When I was 10 years old, my
mom's friends would pay me $3 to color
and style their hair," he says.

MENTOR: "I did an apprenticeship
program with Arthur Johns, a famous
hairdresser in L.A.," he says. "I got to do Tina Turner's wigs and blowdry
Julie Christie's hair!"

SECRET WEAPON: Whether he's doing
a blowout, waves, or an updo, Abergel
starts with volumizer. "Hair is like
architecture; it's all about creating a
strong foundation at the roots," he says.

WORDS OF WISDOM: You're only as
good as the last hairdo you created, notes
Abergel. "I also learned early on that
trust is a big part of what we do in this
business. When someone tells you something in confidence, you respect that."

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Sir John: Social Media Star

With a combined following of almost 100k on Instagram and Twitter, this makeup artist has achieved his own star status with snaps of his globetrotting life and behind-the-scenes work on clients like Beyoncé, Karlie Kloss, Joan Smalls, Iman, and Chrissy Teigen. "Social media has become my portfolio, and it's a way for me to inspire others and get inspired," says Sir John.

BIG BREAK: Eight years ago, Sir John
was working as makeup artist Pat
McGrath's assistant when he met his
first celebrity client, Naomi Campbell.

MENTORS: "Charlotte Tilbury gave me
invaluable career advice," he says of the
makeup artist who introduced him to
Beyoncé. "But it's my mom who is my
biggest cheerleader and critic—and
she's my best friend!"

SECRET WEAPON: Matte taupe blush. "I blend it under cheekbones, on
temples and eyelids, and underneath
the jawline to create a sense of depth."

WORDS OF WISDOM: "A lot of young
makeup artists want instant visibility
and fame, but you have to put in years
of assisting and learning the craft.
Everything will come to you if you have
the work to back it up."

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Tracey Cunningham: Detail Maker

In a typical week, the hair colorist might fly to Europe to do Shakira's hair, jet to New York to touch up Jennifer Lopez, and then jump on a red-eye to her L.A. home base, Meche Salon, where she works with Jessica Biel, Charlize Theron, and Cameron Diaz while serving as a creative consultant for Redken. Such is the life of a truly A-list celebrity colorist.

CELEBRITY CRED: "Tracey is an artist
and magician," says client Jessica
Biel. "She makes my hair look like it's
never been colored, as if I spend my
days lounging in the sun by the pool—
which is definitely not the case."

BIG BREAK: "One of my first star clients
was Renée Zellweger, right around the
time she was in Bridget Jones's Diary.
That was a huge turning point."

MENTOR: "Before I started in the
beauty business, I was Bette Midler's
nanny. She believed in me and
ultimately invested in my future by
paying my tuition to beauty school."

WORDS OF WISDOM: "Learn from your
mistakes. I grow from every bad move
I've made—personal and professional."

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Jenn Streicher: New Guard

Makeup artist Jenn Streicher has made a name for herself working with Hollywood's cool crowd, from musicians to indie actresses on the rise. She paid her dues and learned her craft working at beauty counters, then started doing editorial shoots in NYC before heading to L.A. Last year, she opened Beverly Hills beauty hot spot Striiike with her sisters, eyebrow guru Kristie and hairstylist Ashley.

CLIENT LIST: Streicher has prepped
Carrie Brownstein, Emily Blunt,
Kiernan Shipka, and Alison Brie.

BIG BREAK: "I met John Krasinski on a
shoot, and he introduced me to Emily
Blunt," she says. "Everything in my life
and career has been so serendipitous."

SECRET WEAPON: The Beauty Blender. "I dampen it with water and a little
Caudalie Beauty Elixir, then use it to
blend foundation, concealer, and cream
blush for the perfect application."

WORDS OF WISDOM: "Don't take
things personally! In this job, you have
to have a thick skin. You may work with
someone you really like a few times,
and then they hire someone else. You
have to realize that this has to do with
scheduling and things that are totally
out of your control."

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Micaela Erlanger: Stylist

The fashion stylist helps clients like Lupita Nyong'o, Michelle Dockery, Meryl Streep, and Hilary Swank pull off daring looks and timeless classics during awards season. Erlanger, who bounces between NYC and L.A., also styles editorial shoots, runway shows, and advertising campaigns—you know, in her spare time.

CELEBRITY CRED: "Fashion can be
daunting, but Micaela makes selecting,
fitting, and wearing these looks
enjoyable," says client Lupita Nyong'o. "The Nairobi blue Prada dress I wore to
the 2014 Oscars was created with her
input, and it felt like having a piece of
home with me that night."

BIG BREAK: Michelle Dockery was the
stylist's first major client. "She introduced
me to Lupita, whose 2014 awards season
put me on the map," says Erlanger.

MENTOR: "Stylist Annabel Tollman
taught me everything I know, from the
correct pronunciation of designers' names to tying a bow the right way."

WORDS OF WISDOM: "Be authentic and true to your client; they have to feel
confident in what they have on."

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