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Jul 23, 2007
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The good ole USA
Makeup artist Derrick Rutledge makes over Michelle Obama, Oprah — and himself
By Keith L. Alexander, Published: November 10
NEW ORLEANS — Chaka Khan is more than angry.

Instead of getting to rest before her show at the Louisiana Superdome, the R&B star has been booked for two speaking engagements. She's holed up in her hotel suite, fuming. Outside, her assistants are waiting for her to open the door.

Her makeup artist, Derrick Rutledge, is waiting, too. He just flew in to do her after working on Michelle Obama in the East Wing. After New Orleans, he's scheduled to fly out to do Oprah Winfrey before returning home to Washington.

But first Rutledge has to persuade Khan to open the door. Finally, after 15 minutes, she does, and Rutledge distracts her by talking about two of her favorite subjects: tennis and shopping.

Within 30 minutes, Khan emerges, reddish mane flowing, lips sensuous in burgundy, looking glorious in a lace dress and carrying a hand fan.

"It wasn't a good day," Khan later admits. "I was nervous about speaking, but he calms me. He knows what to say to me."

Rutledge has worked for Khan for 15 years. He knows what his client and close friend needs: a hug and some orange juice. "I'm more than just makeup," he says. "I'm there for support as well."

Rutledge is the man behind the look of some of the world's most famous names. A leading makeup artist, he gets as much as $15,000 for a day's work and boasts a coveted client list, including two of the nation's most photographed faces, Michelle Obama and Oprah, as well as singers such as Patti LaBelle, Shirley Caesar and CeCe Winans. Just last month, his work was on the covers of Essence and AARP, which featured Obama, and O, which featured, obviously, Oprah.


Just a little CHANGE

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