Priscilla Ono became Rihanna’s go-to make up artist and Fenty Beauty’s global makeup artist by following her passion and using the lessons that her Mexican grandparents gave her.
Like most well meaning immigrant guardians, Ono’s grandparents wanted her to ensure a secure financial future as a doctor or a lawyer; so when she dropped out of school at age 20 to pursue makeup full time there was, of course, some tension in the family. Her grandmother fell into a deep depression and did not speak to Priscilla for two years. However, when her grandmother saw Priscilla appear on a local Los Angeles television channel doing makeovers, offering make up tips, and giving makeup trend updates she was convinced that Priscilla had made the right decision.
As a plus sized Latina makeup artist in Hollywood, Priscilla has definitely experienced different treatment on set but she says she doesn’t pay the negativity much mind. She allows her work and presence to speak for itself.
That is exactly what she did in 2011 when she was an assisting makeup artist on Rhianna’s S&M music video shoot. Priscilla told Popsugar that when Rihanna saw her on that first day of shooting, she went up to [her] right away and said, “Wow, I love your hair. I love your style. I love your skin.” Then later that day, the director came up to [her] and said, “Hey, Rihanna really loves you and wants you to be in the music video. Are you interested?” I was like, “Um, yeah.” From there a friendship slowly started to form.
Perhaps it was the same voice that told Priscilla to drop out of college or the determination instilled in her by her grandparents, but when she heard Rihanna was launching a makeup line, she contacted the icon’s team and told them she was available to help in any way. She was one of thousands that were flown out to audition to be Fenty Beauty’s global makeup artist. The audition required everyone to do Rihanna’s makeup. After she completed the task, Priscilla cried on the way home. “To think I was doing $25 makeovers at Plaza Mexico and now I’m here doing Rihanna’s makeup. And then I made the cut. It was just a cherry on top — I couldn’t believe it.”
Not only does she do Rihanna’s make-up and help the global Fenty beauty brand, but she is also pursuing her other passion: fashion. Priscilla teamed up with plus size fashion brand, Eloquii, and launched a Spring line, Priscilla Ono X Eloquii, earlier this year. This line comes with unique pockets and accessories that perfectly and fashionably hold your makeup.
Ono’s story is a testament to listening to your passions, remembering the lessons your guardians taught you, and to always radiate that message outward.