“We are shifting gears — out of masks and sweats and back to the office,” says Emily Katz, an image consultant whose work and insights have been featured in a host of publications including the Wall Street Journal and InStyle magazine.
Katz is lending her incisive expertise, expertise that garnered one of Elle magazine’s elite “Beauty Genius Awards,” to men and women emerging into the new hybrid work environment. While many are CEOs, she helps others dress for the job they want rather than the job they have.
A veteran of the film industry as a makeup department head for over 25 years, Katz was also a haute couture fashion model. These days she is a fine-art watercolorist who says her background informs her work as an image consultant.
[Editor’s Note: The lead photo of the article is Opera Singer Isabel Leonard.]
California Business Journal asked Katz a range of questions about her work.
CBJ: Everyone is asking how to look their best online in teleconferences — what do you advise?
EK: When working in film, we take photographs to ensure the image team is satisfied with hair, makeup, and wardrobe. Anyone can do this for him or herself. It’s easy! Stand in front of the background you will use on video, and take selfies to see how you will present yourself on camera. Pay special attention to your background to ensure your audience will be looking at you and not your busy wallpaper or artwork. If you are lit from the back, your face will be in shadow and if you don’t have enough light from the front, you will see unappealing facial shadows. Being aware of the best location of your lighting can make a significant difference in how you appear on camera.
Pay attention to your wardrobe. Do you blend into the background? Are you wearing colors that look good on you? Some colors can make you look washed out, or blend into your skin tone. Did you shave, is your hair in place? A simple selfie will reveal the truth. I just had a client say, “I need to learn to do makeup for Zoom! She called it “Zoom Face.” I recommend lipstick, mascara, and eyeliner to create emphasis. To diminish reflective shine both men and women both should keep blotting papers, which are available at drug stores. Tissue paper is not a substitute. If you need more coverage, use powder — it’s fine for both men and women.
CBJ: Some people think you need to be a celebrity to have a personal stylist or make-up artist, so who are your clients?
EK: My clients are men and women who want to learn how to use their image to enhance their success. They are military officers who have transitioned to the private sector after wearing uniforms for 20 years; mothers returning to work, or new executives or artists getting ready for their big opening or media blitz. When a client says, “This is exactly what I hoped for,” that makes my day. Celebrities recognize the value of an image consultant; I make it accessible. And I go one step further with my clients, I teach them to develop awareness of what works for them.
I work with people to create a system of pieces that work well together and align with their preference, so they dress in a way that feels genuine to them. I want to help people shine because when they feel good, they are more confident. I love the quote by Regina Brett, the columnist and inspirational speaker: “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up.”