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Losing money from a job isn’t out of the ordinary for Hollywood stylist Jeanne Yang, who works with Alexander Skarsgard, Kumail Nanjiani and more.
“When we go in for the awards shows, we typically get paid [by studios] about $1,000 per look,” said Yang. “Then we deduct our expenses: shipping costs, paying assistants and tailoring, and it costs up to $1,500 to $2,000 per look.”
In THR’s first-ever Stylist Roundtable, Hollywood’s top stylists discussed the misconceptions about how much they earn and the difficulty of sacrificing pay for opportunities to work with stars on awards-season red carpets. Yang was joined by fellow guests Jason Bolden, 35, stylist to Wrinkle In Time director Ava DuVernay, Yara Shahidi, Storm Reid and others; Law Roach, 39, who works with Mudbound’s Mary J Blige and Zendaya, as well as being a judge on America’s Next Top Model; Tara Swennen, 38, the mastermind behind I, Tonya star Allison Janney’s signature looks; and Ilaria Urbinati, 38, who counts Call Me by Your Name’s Armie Hammer as a client.
Negotiating fees can be tricky, since there’s no union to protect stylists. “You can get into an uncomfortable position with your client, who will say, ‘I’m promoting this movie, why should I pay for my own alterations?'” said Swennen.
Stylists have to get creative to make it work. “It’s not like you’re striking a deal. The brands will pay your day rate,” explained Roach. “I went from making $10,000 a day working with girls in music who didn’t have the right look to making $750 a day for someone Hollywood thought had the look.”
Although working with top film talent doesn’t always pay as much, Roach said sacrificing pay to be able to see your work on awards-show red carpets is worth it for the exposure and the press: “We take these jobs, make less money, put ourselves in the hole, so we can make it to that magazine.”
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