We are BACK with part two of our “Get to Know: Betsy Reyes” series. Check our part one here if you haven’t already! This time around, Betsy gets in-depth about her early MTV days and how she landed where she is today.
(Betsy, shot by Javier Oddo)
What would you define as a monumental moment for your life?
Getting an internship at MTV in 2000 was life changing! I worked at the TRL studios five days a week, watching icons walk in and out of the studio. Anyone, from N’SYNC to Michael Jackson. It was wild! Live TV taught me speed, and how to think fast, I once had to do a color, wash and blow out in a matter of a commercial break…with no rehearsal. During that time, Kristi Fuhrmann taught me everything I know about set etiquette, and production. I learned that in the entertainment world, it’s not just about hair styling. I saw that my job wasn’t over once we finished a hairstyle. From the time a style was done, it was my job to maintain it into a performance, or throughout them hosting. All of those moments mattered.
What was your first real Live TV experience?
After 1 year of interning, I finally was hired for my first MTV series called Becoming Presents: Wannabes. There were 30 episodes. And for the first time, not only was I heading the hair department, but I was also on camera doing makeovers! I was 23 yrs old, and already had my first paid job in the television industry! Not only was I trusted to make everyday people look like their favorite celebrity, but I had to explain what I was doing, while being recorded for TV! I was so scared once production told me that I needed to be on camera and speak, but what I learned quickly in this industry is that will always do things you never imagined doing. So you have to be a risk taker, you also have to be a hard worker.
We didn’t have a budget for wigs, so I spent so many hours coloring and cutting contestants hair to look like Pink, Christina Aguilera and J-Lo. Show schedules were 10-12 hours long, and then I had at least 5 hrs of hair prep for the upcoming episodes. I was running on pure adrenaline, and it was so exciting!
(Betsy doing hair on MTV’s Wannabe)
How did your role change after “Wannabes”?
After that I was in charge of the hair department at MTV. When TRL started, any VJ or news talent would get their hair cut and colored by me, and some still do! On top of that, everything else in my career began snowballing, in a good way! I remember moments like getting my first cover of a magazine. I was in Vegas with my girls on vacation and I got a call from Kari Bauce. She told me that Hairstyles Magazine used our hair and makeup look we did on Mandy Moore from the MTV New Years Eve show! I remember my sister in-law and I screaming and jumping! It was so surreal. There was no better payoff for all the hard work, and it gave me fuel to do so much more.
Like all things great, there was an ending to that season of my life. TRL lasted 10 years till we had the finale. That’s when I my career moved into the TV series side of things. I got hired to do hair during the second season of Gossip girl, which was 8 months of taping, 5 days a week with 12-17 hour days. It was a great learning experience. Alongside that, I was also hired at SNL to do Abby Elliot, which I worked on Saturdays after my full week of shooting with Gossip Girl. And then of course, Sundays were for my personal clients’ cuts and colors. So you can imagine that I was tired! But my passion overrides anything else my life, because I get to do something that I love and call it a “job”.
How do you feel about what you’ve accomplished, and where you are now?
After working on those series, I did some ultimate freelancing… I jumped from project to project, at MTV, VH1, Fox, ABC.. anything from Editorial, to Red Carpet, and Award Shows. I’d say it’s the highlight of my career… nothing gets old, since I move so much and have something new all the time…it is my absolute dream job!
Currently, I’m working on Season 4 of Inside Amy Schumer, and in between that I worked on my first legit movie, John Wick 2. Everything in my world is evolving. I’m growing and doing things I never dreamed of! I’ve learned there is no limit to success. As long as I put my blood, sweat and tears into my passion, it pays off everyday.
This concludes our two part blog series on Betsy Reyes! Feel free to comment and share with fellow freelancing artists! Follow Betsy’s work on our instagram @betsyelisabeauty!