The Trump administration is notorious for its revolving door, but new reports have introduced us to one employee who’s managed to last: Katie Price, the White House‘s full-time hair and makeup artist.
According to Politico, Price’s official title is production assistant, although her duties include styling White House staffers like counselor Kellyanne Conway and press secretary Sarah Sanders before any on-camera interviews.
Price got the gig (and a desk in the press office) thanks in part to a shout-out from short-lived communications director Anthony Scaramucci. “The Mooch” spoke directly to Sanders on CNN to praise Price during his 11-day tenure in office. “Sarah, if you’re watching, I loved the hair and makeup person we had on Friday,” he said on air. “So I’d like to continue to use the hair and makeup person.” Scaramucci lost his job but got his wish, and the administration hired Price full-time.
Price’s salary won’t be revealed until the White House releases public payroll records in the summer, but Politico reports that her position is funded by taxpayer dollars: We’re paying for the pancake makeup on most communications team members who speak from the official White House press office. Price has reportedly styled Vice President Mike Pence and communications staffers Raj Shah, Mercedes Shlapp, and Hogan Gidley, in addition to Sanders and “The Mooch.” For what it’s worth, Melania Trump‘s spokespeople confirmed that she pays out of pocket for her stylist.
On her now-unavailable LinkedIn page, Price listed her previous job as a bridal makeup artist with a business called NOVAbelles. Politico reports that NOVAbelles’ full bridal makeup package, including hair, makeup, and eyelash extensions, was priced at $1,100. Price has even reportedly worked with Meredith Vieira in the past. But her stint in the White House isn’t Price’s first foray into gussying up politicians: She’s worked for CNN and Russia Today.
While the Obama administration asked officials to pay out of pocket for makeup services, this isn’t the first time a makeup artist has gotten a salary from the White House. Makeup artist Lois Cassano worked for the George W. Bush administration for all eight years of his time in office, doing up the president, the vice president, Laura Bush, and any other officials and visiting heads of state who appeared on television. To help justify Cassano’s salary, the Bush White House incorporated her into the communications team. She escorted guests into the office, helped with paperwork, and handled clearances for the press — makeup was just one line on her long list of duties. In Bill Clinton’s White House, there was no makeup artist, but as Politico notes, there were few 24/7 television news networks.
Back in 2005, Cassano’s title was media assistant and her salary was an annual $46,500. As Anita McBride, first lady Laura Bush’s former chief of staff and a former director of White House personnel during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush presidencies, told Politico, a makeup artist may very well be considered “essential personnel” during this reality TV-style presidency. But even if we do sympathize with administration officials’ desire to look good on TV — do we really want to be paying for it?
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