How to make it as a celebrity spray tanner
Spray tan artist and Sienna X brand ambassador Carly Hobbs talks us through how to build up a base of, and work with, high-profile clients, and why the job is not what you might first expect.
1. Have a good knowledge of the tanning industry
“I started out as a journalist, and when I began writing about beauty I absolutely fell in love with it. I initially trained in make-up to improve my writing, which led to me helping on shoots, and eventually I was asked to assist with spray tanning.
"From there, I began building my own portfolio, which eventually led me to Sienna X. I’m not saying everyone should be a journalist or a make-up artist beforehand, I just think it’s really important that you know what makes the industry tick.”
2. Put yourself out there to attract celebrity clients
“Assisting is so important. I once worked four days at London Fashion Week; it was exhausting but I learnt so much. Offer to help out with tanning at local fashion events – perhaps a celebrity host might notice you. Don’t accost people though; it’s all about getting noticed in the right way, so quality always comes first.
“Social media is great for showing off your work. If you’re using all the right hashtags and people leave nice comments, then someone important might take notice.”
Check out these hot tanning trends for 2019 to help get your name out there.
3. Treat all customers equally – whether they're famous or not
“How you make a client look is obviously important, but what matters even more is how you make them feel. It’s a bizarre experience, taking your clothes off and getting sprayed with something very cold, so you have to make them feel special.
"The best way to approach the job is to treat every client like a VIP. I’ve found that the more famous someone is, the less trouble they are. Be polite to everyone, and never forget anyone because they might become the big boss one day."
4. Prepare for challenging spray tan situations
“You have to be able to read the room, which comes with practice. Some clients might not be into the experience at all, whereas others will be so excited that they can’t stay still.
“Sienna X worked on ITV’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2016 and, after a few weeks of refusing, Ed Balls finally agreed to have a spray tan. I’d never worked with so many people in the room; he was in the tanning tent, out the tent, making jokes, being filmed for [spin-off show] It Takes Two, but it was so much fun.
“Once, I was working on a film in the middle of a field with no power so I couldn’t run the machine, but of course the set team wouldn’t know that. You’ve got to be prepared for every eventuality.”
Why customising the experience will help avoid any tanning blunders.
5. Don’t expect to work only with celebrities
“I don’t think anyone can say that they tan only celebrities, it’s just not real life. If I was looking for someone to assist me, I’d want them to be genuinely into tanning and wanting to further their career rather than just in it to meet stars.
“To build your skill set and reputation, the wider variety of people you work with the better. Look for celebrities by all means, but don’t make it your end goal.”
What you need to know about tanning clients with different needs – pregnant, elderly and those with mobility issues.