The world was simply not ready for the looks that Rihanna continues to serve throughout her pregnancy, and that includes her glam. From a sultry silver moment to a red eyeliner look that went unexpectedly viral, the singer and entrepreneur has seriously stepped up her game (which didn’t even feel possible) and at a time when women are often expected to tone things down. The mastermind behind her makeup looks, Priscilla Ono, is equally as impressed with the star’s unapologetic style.
“I think that this pregnancy has been my favorite makeup looks ever,” Ono tells TZR. “I feel like she really feels like herself, and she's always wanted to be a mother. She's just like living her best life and because she does have all these incredible fashion looks, the makeup has just been pushing boundaries. She just wants to do cool stuff, she doesn't want the norm, she just wants to look like herself and even more so.”
Since becoming Fenty Beauty’s global makeup artist in 2017, Ono has built up her roster of celebrity clients including Bella Hadid, Normani (whose makeup she recently did for the Met Gala), and of course, Rihanna. Her experimental style and love of color have made her a force to be reckoned with in the beauty industry, racking up over 871,000 followers on Instagram and even culminating in her very own makeup course, Ono Beauty.
Ahead, see more of TZR’s chat with Priscilla Ono where she talks her favorite makeup looks she’s created for Rihanna throughout the star’s pregnancy, her summer beauty trend predictions, and how her Mexican heritage inspires her artistry.
Who Is Priscilla Ono?
Before she was surrounded by celebrity clientele, Ono’s love of beauty began at home through her experiences growing up in a Mexican family.
“I think that it really influenced me as a makeup artist in a big way,” she says. “Beauty has always been such a huge part of my upbringing, especially, watching my tias, my abuelita [grandmother], and my mom do their makeup. Makeup was such a huge thing for them and for me, especially growing up in the ‘90s and seeing the brown lip liner trend and the thin, dark eyebrows and the huge false lashes with lots of mascara....to me, that was very empowering.”
Besides makeup, Ono’s other love is fragrance. “I'll be doing my client's makeup and they're like, ‘Hey, you smell really good. What are you wearing?' I'm like, 'It's my deodorant, it's actually not a perfume.’” Ono recently partnered with Secret on the brand’s new Weightless Dry Spray, which comes in a variety of summery scents. “[When] you smell your best, you feel your best. It's all kind of intertwined. And that's why I really love this collaboration that I have with them because I feel like it's very true to me, to what I use and what I need when I'm working with my clients.”
When she first began her career in makeup, Ono had no professional training, relying solely on what she’d learned from the women in her life growing up. While her skills have certainly expanded since then, her heritage continues to be a massive influence in her artistry, including her glam for Rihanna — you’ll often see the bold lip liner and thin brows Ono previously mentioned in some of Rihanna’s standout glam moments.
Ono landed her role as Fenty Beauty’s global makeup artist in 2017 after an audition process that involved doing Rihanna’s makeup with Fenty products. Eventually, she began working as Rihanna’s personal makeup artist and since then, she’s created countless looks for the star that are nothing short of memorable.
Rihanna’s Dramatic Red Eyeliner
One of Ono’s favorite pregnancy beauty moments was a dramatic red eyeliner look that Rihanna wore to her Savage x Fenty store opening in Los Angeles earlier this year. “So many people online recreated that look and they just thought it was so cool because they've never seen a red eyeliner in the waterline,” says the makeup artist. “You don't really ever see people using a red eyeliner in that way. But at the same time, it still looks chic and it still looks, in some way, effortless. That one really sticks in my mind because the amount of recreations was insane.”
Rihanna’s 3D Silver Eyeliner
The launch of Fenty Beauty at Ulta was also a notable beauty moment for Rihanna — and in turn, Ono. “It was like a very classic beautiful glam look but yet it got so much attention,” she says of the silver makeup she created for the star. “I posted a video on my Instagram that has over 58 million views. I was like, ‘Woah, that's crazy.' It just blows my mind how these looks are just really cutting edge and, you know, for most women, when you're pregnant, you're told to be more subdued, more covered up. Not Rihanna. She's living her best life.”
The Inspiration Behind Rihanna’s Looks
So, where does Ono get her inspiration for all these swoon-worthy celebrity looks? The fashion, she says, is a huge part of it. “Depending on what [the client is] wearing, I can get a sense of the vibe,” she says. “I start to pull ideas and I make these mood boards where I put together collages of inspo. I have pretty much collected these albums on my iPad and my cell phone of photos of references from different eras, from museums that I visited because I've traveled so much with Fenty Beauty. I've been so lucky to be able to go to all these museums and just kind of collect photos and ideas and references. I'll just make these mood boards depending on the look, and then I present them to my client and they can kind of tell me what they're feeling.”
Ono’s Summer Beauty Predictions
While Ono can’t tell us what makeup looks Rihanna will be serving this summer, she does predict that color will be on the menu — and not just for RiRi. “Color is making a comeback and I love to see it, whether it becomes eyeliners or a bright lip, or even colorful mascara,” she says. “I just feel like all these colorful elements brighten up any makeup application and they're easy to add to your makeup routine. You don't have to have much skill to apply a blue mascara; it's like putting on your normal black mascara, but it's blue. And it's just so cool.”