Aug. 21, 2014 at 10:47 AM ET
You may not know her name, but if you’ve ever admired the visages of men like George Clooney, Jon Hamm and Ryan Gosling, you have to give props to celebrity groomer Diana Schmidtke.
The hairdresser and stylist has worked with the full range of Hollywood's leading men, from A (Adrian Grenier, Ashton Kutcher) to Z (the Zac/Zachs Efron, Braff and Galifianakis). Chances are that if he’s an entertainer regarded as hot or cool in the past 15 years, she had something to do with how good he looked.
As we head into Sunday’s VMAs (at 9 p.m. ET on MTV), Schmidtke shared her thoughts on what to expect from the men at the event, as well as a few things that may surprise you about men and their grooming habits.
“[A stylist is] the personal artist to them any time they’re in front of the camera as themselves,” she said. “Red carpets, magazine cover shoots, talk shows — we travel around the world with them if they have a movie coming out and a world tour attached for promotions.”
Although she describes her career as making “hot guys hotter,” there are some main principles to male grooming that apply to anyone. “You want to go back to basics with hair, skin and body,” Schmidtke said.
“With skin care, you need to start with telling the guy to really wash his face twice a day. Not all men do. One of the other basics is SPF. Women are getting that protection where men are not.”
Schmidtke also never puts a full face of makeup on men. “I spot treat anything that’s a breakout, red, green, yellow, purple,” she said. “Everybody looks a little better with some concealer under the eyes and the nostril area, spot treating. I like to leave any of the beautiful, natural skin that I can. I like to leave it makeup-free. If you put too much makeup on a man it takes away their manly features.”
When it comes to body grooming, Schmidtke makes sure any errant hairs are taken care of. “If you’re wearing a no-tie look and your chest hairs are screaming, ‘Look at me!’ I’ll probably trim them down," she said. "Hair, makeup and fashion, all three of those need to be in sync in order to look your best. If one of those elements is off, people are going to notice.”
Though she’s had requests from some music artists, Schmidtke isn’t sure yet who she’s styling for the VMAs – musician-types tend to commit at the last minute. But she expects there to be many interesting looks and surprises.
“I look forward to Versace, a whole lot of leather … and really cool haircuts,” she said. “It’s the best sneaker collection you’re ever going to see; the best leather collection you’re going to see."
Rather than the classic looks that the film and TV industry tends to favor at awards shows, “the VMAs are no holds barred. You’ll see some very extreme looks. That’s what makes it fun — your blue hair, your purple hair.”
In the past, Schmidtke's favorites have included Justin Timberlake, Lenny Kravitz and Ludacris.
“It’s oftentimes that fashion that you see on the runway thinking to yourself, ‘Who in their right mind would ever wear that?’ Well, [the VMAs are] where it ends up because musicians can pull it off.”
Diana Schmidtke’s top five things you don’t know about male vanity: