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Porterville native readies guests for presidential inauguration
When President Barack Obama is publicly sworn in today at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., one Porterville native can say he shared in the preparation of guests attending the 57th Presidential Inauguration.
Adrian Avila, who attended Olive Street School, Bartlett Middle School, Porterville High School and Porterville College, is a makeup artist and eyebrow specialist at the Nectar Skin Bar in Washington, D.C., a salon known for its high-end clients, including celebrities, political officials and their family members.
Said to be one of the most sought-after specialists in D.C., Avila has personally worked with Rosario Dawson, Sex in the City’s Cynthia Nixon, Maria Shriver, Michelle Obama’s sister in law, Kelly Robinson, and Nancy Pelosi, a regular client of his.
“Usually anytime the White House has an event – the inauguration, White House correspondence dinners – I am busy,” Avila said. “When Congress goes on vacation in August, the city gets quiet and I’ll usually take time off.”
This week has been no exception, and Avila said he’s been working steadily, getting many people ready for the big day.
“Right now the city is alive with excitement. Restaurants are decorated with red, white and blue ribbons. People are feeling patriotic. I’ve never seen so many black cars, more than likely from celebrities and political officials,” Avila said Sunday afternoon.“Tonight,thecity will come aliveagain with balls and dinners.The streets around the convention center will be overflowing with glamour and glitterazi. It’s 3:44 p.m., and I have been doing makeup all afternoon for women going to one of the five events tonight. Tomorrow, I start my day early and will finish around eight.”
Avila was hired as a makeup artist to do a lot of the off-site work for Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration. He also worked on the 2009 Oprah Inauguration Special at the Art and Soul in Washington, D.C., and was invited again to work this year’s inauguration but declined.
“The main event takes a lot out of you. However, I will be attending a few ‘after parties,’” he said.
Avila also studied at Estes School of Cosmetology in Visalia. He lived in Germany from 1999 to 2006. While there,he became interested in makeup and often did makeup for friends.
“A really good friend, Michael McKinney, planted the eyebrow seed in my head when I was 14,” Avila said. “After that, it was all about the high brow. Years later, Erwin Gomez would help me perfect my technique.”
Avila moved to D.C. in 2007,living in the city not far from the White House.
“I came here because the city is recession proof. There is always a need for makeup with galas, charity events, state dinners and embassy dinners,” Avila said.
He attended the Aveda Institute of Esthetics and landed a job at the Erwin Gomez Salon and Spa.
“The owner took me in as an esthetician but also helped mold me as a makeup artist and eyebrow specialist,” Avila said. “Erwin Gomez Salon and Spa was the spa that Michelle Salahi got ready at before she crashed the White House Dinner.”
Salahi and her husband, Tareq, gained national attention after crashing a dinner in honor of India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2009.
Listed in “Allure’ magazine twice in 2012, Avila made the “Best of 2012” issue, as the go-to person for brows.
“I love my job. I have met a lot of great people, change is constant and my line of work allows me to constantly reinvent myself and others,” Avila said. “I’ve had some very great opportunities and I am very fortunate to have worked with some amazing talent who has also inspired me.”
His work has taken him across the United States, and in 2012 was fortunate to be chosen as an assistant for a big wedding in India.
Avila is the son of Carmen Medina and Joel Avila, and grandson of Maria Pilar Avila, all of Porterville.