Interview with Paul Podlucky

What would you say is your philosophy when it comes to hair and makeup?

My philosophy is play up your assets. I don’t believe in covering up. It always reveals itself and you end up drawing too much attention to the flaw. I always accentuate the positive.

What inspires you?

My beauty belief is that good is forever. I like edgy. I grew up in the 80s, so I love Blondie and rock n’ roll. To me Halston is the be-all end-all. My style icons are Tina Chow, Jackie O, Suzi Quatro, Bridget Bardot and Blondie.

You don’t work out of a salon but your apartment. Why do you prefer working that way?

When I moved to the Upper East Side years ago, my boyfriend lived up the street, so I just started using my apartment as a workspace. There is a level of intimacy that is experienced here and it is pretty contagious. When I go into a salon, I don’t feel comfortable it is not as inviting.

You have worked with some amazing women over the years, how do you find such great clients? 

I think we are all like magnets and we draw people to us. I’m committed. I’m not 100% I’m 200%. Also, it isn’t just about hair and makeup, we talk about books and photography and art. It is a conversation.

We’ve worked together for 14 years! It has been so long. Tell me what you remember about that first meeting.

We worked on the book Bright Young Things together. I initially met Brooke  de Ocampo who had brought me into some of the great homes of New York with the book, and I was getting introduced to a lot of people. What I remember is that I thought you were so friendly and approachable. I loved that you are totally down to earth and about your family.

We’ve done countless photoshoots together, what would you say was the most challenging? 

We had a nighttime cover shoot for Town & Country in the middle of the desert in Morocco. For two nights in a row, we drove for 2 hours through the bumpy desert roads to the shoot. You posed with sheep and camels in a formal dress!

February is a tough month for beauty, what tips do you have for your clients?

It is all about cleaning out and simplifying. I love the idea of editing everything—clothes, makeup. Try something newer and fresh.

What is the biggest mistake you see women making when it comes to their makeup? 

The biggest mistake is wearing too dark eye makeup, which closes up the eyes.  I always adhere to the advice of strong eye, soft mouth or, strong mouth, soft eyes. You have to know where to pull back and where to up the ante. You can wear chartreuse on the eye if it is done right. Everything is about application. Being heavy handed and not blending enough are common mistakes. I don’t like obvious. Obvious doesn’t work.

What is your advice when it comes to hair? It is about acceptance and loving what is. Make it work for you.

How does New York inspire your work?

I love the energy of the city.  I love the people and the unique qualities of such a special place.

Where are your favorite off-the-radar spots in NYC?

I’m not an off the radar person! I only wear Rick Owens clothes, so I go to the Rick Owens store on Hudson street on Sundays. I always call it going to church.

Where do you go to escape? 

In the summer, I go to Fire Island, and Minnesota where my sister lives. I also love to take photography classes. I’ve done several photography workshops in Tuscany.

What do you do when you’re not working?

 Photography is a big hobby. I take portraits and landscapes. I also love going to the movies. I adore Bar Pitti. I love the computer. I’m always on 1st Dibs and eBay.

What are you the most proud of in your life so far?

I am proud that I came to NYC and I did so well, and met so many extraordinary people from so many walks of life. I am so blessed that I love what I do.