For hair and makeup artist Bruce Dean, a typical day is never typical. He could be working with magazines (Vogue, Elle, Paper, Playboy, Men’s Health), models (Robyn Lawley, Lauren Mellor, Sean O’Pry), musicians (Missy Elliott, Cyndi Lauper, Gwen Stefani, Maroon 5), actors (Amy Poehler, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Sandra Bernhard, Paul Rudd, Alan Cumming), Broadway stars (the casts of Bombay Dreams, Steel Magnolias and Heathers) or us here at Bare Necessities.
That unpredictable mix of high-pressure, high-profile work could be a recipe for burnout, but Bruce’s easygoing, charming demeanor—he treats the talent with the same respect as the rest of the crew—ensures he takes it all in stride. Bruce, who learned how to do makeup growing up in Ventura, California, by practicing on himself and his younger sisters, is equally happy to glamorize the elite as he is his friends. He’s just as comfortable on the red carpet as he is (wait for it) quilting at home in Spanish Harlem, New York City. Though he has the world’s best products at his fingertips, it’s only fitting that, as a makeup artist, he says his perfect day must include “making someone smile.”
Read more about the man who knows how to bring out the best in anyone, inside and out.
Andrea Cronberg’s life hasn’t always been nonstop glitz and glamour. Her first job was as a house cleaner. Andrea grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago and started modeling in grade school after a family friend noticed her at a Fourth of July party and suggested she give it a go. Andrea got signed in Chicago and, after stints in Milan, Germany and Miami, eventually moved to New York City.
In her free time, the fitness fan—Crossfit is her workout of choice—is involved in charity events with Goodeed, and she’ll never turn down a Friday Night Lights marathon. Let’s get into it with Andrea and the modeling industry, shall we?
Historically, being a size 14 African-American woman hasn’t always been a recipe for supermodel superstardom. Fortunately, no one told the inimitable, stunning Precious Lee that.
Precious became the first black plus-size model to star in the storied Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2016. You may also recognize her from a long list of envelope-pushing Lane Bryant campaigns (#ImNoAngel, #PlusIsEqual and #ThisBody), or from the pages of American Vogue, yet another groundbreaking first. All this came after her former agent tried to convince her to change her name to make herself more marketable. It’s clear that living authentically and without compromise eventually pays dividends.
Shaneek Anderson, our own marketing project planner, got the chance to sit down with the Atlanta native on the set of our latest Elomi shoot, which couldn’t have been more apropos: The concept is about deciding who you want to be every morning when you head out the door. Precious caught us up on her life not only as a model but as a diversity advocate, aspiring actress and would-be lawyer. You know, in all her spare time.
Alyssa Riley has been modeling since she was 14, when she landed her first-ever job for Kohls. In the decade since, she’s modeled for Covergirl, Guess, Saks Fifth Avenue, Crest toothpaste…the list goes on. “Chicago was the closest city with the most opportunity, so I graduated from high school at 17 and signed with Ford Models so I could fully devote myself. It’s been an interesting world to grow up in,” says Alyssa, “but my family keep me grounded—my parents are my biggest fans. I’m thankful to them for trusting me at a young age and for being there when I needed them.”
A Capricorn whose nicknames include Lys, Toad or Jubilee (“long story”), Alyssa aptly fits the model profile: outgoing, ambitious, confident and street-smart, though “I’ve been known to walk on set wearing something backwards every once in awhile,” she admits.
Growing up in Ohio, Alyssa was an athlete—she played volleyball and was trained in classical ballet—and a “pro babysitter: I love kids and taking care of people.” After bouncing from city to city for work, her life is more settled now. She lives in New York City and spends a lot of time in New Jersey, where her boyfriend lives. “I’m obsessed with cooking and being outdoors—my happy place is Montana—so it’s nice to have an escape from the city. I love weekends spent relaxing at the house, having amazing wine and cooking dinner for friends,” says Alyssa, who credits her great-grandmother for teaching her to cook and bake.
In her downtime, Alyssa is likely reading a good book (currently The Hôtel on Place Vendôme: Life, Death and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris) or having a Sunday Netflix marathon in her favorite Calvin Klein boy shorts and sports bras (“I wear them as pajamas”). Says Alyssa, “My favorite campaigns to shoot are swim and lingerie. I absolutely love the beach and working outside; I feel my most beautiful when I’m on the beach in my bikini. And I always feel sexy and confident shooting lingerie, especially anything from For Love & Lemons. They make such beautiful detailed pieces. To me the contemporary department is the most fashion-forward, cool and appealing.”
Our 23-year-old model Hunter McGrady, a.k.a. Peanut (“My dad has called me that forever”), lights up the studio like no flashbulb could whenever she comes by Bare Necessities. Hunter moved solo to New York from nearby Malibu, California, where she learned to love surfing and “never lived a conventional life: I grew up on a mountain with no neighbors for miles. My dad is an actor and my mom was a model. I’ve always been around this business.”
In fact, Hunter started modeling to be like her mom: “I absolutely idolized her—still do. Whenever someone had a camera out, even if I didn’t know them, I would try to get in the shot!” Now, Hunter’s mother is her biggest fan. “She keeps tabs on all my work. She’ll send me things I didn’t even know came out yet,” says Hunter who, as a size 14, has modeled for Lane Bryant, Forever 21, Torrid, Nordstrom and all of Melissa McCarthy’s campaigns in addition to Bare Necessities. “I was so excited to start working for BN eight months ago, as I’ve loved the site for so long,” says Hunter. She now swears by the Wacoal Red Carpet strapless bra and Natori Plunge bras in a 38DD.
We chatted with Hunter about what she values most and what makes her who she is today.
Many a lingerie model comes through our front door and heads into the photo studio at Bare Necessities—simply another day at the office for Ashley Graham, Kate Upton, Ebonee Davis, Candice Swanepoel, Nina Agdal and more who got their start here over the years.
This is Model Confessions, our new series about what it’s really like to be a lingerie model, from the full-on fabulous to the decidedly less so. Because one way of empowering women is by ensuring they’re seen and heard.
Meet Alexandria Hanson. She’s originally from the small town of Stillwater, Minnesota, “where there was nothing going on for me. I knew there was more to learn out there, but I’m not one to be told what to do while sitting at a desk.” From the hair and makeup chair at her latest shoot (full-bust bras, for the record), Alex got candid with us: “My childhood was a lot of ups and downs. I grew up fast, I fought with my mother and refused to listen to reason. My teenage years were full of puppy love, pointless drama and attitude. I was always sneaking out of the house. Looking back, I’m surprised with what my parents put up with. I had to strike out on my own to heal those relationships. Now, my mom is my best friend.”
Whip-smart and sweet, cool, calm and collected at only 23, Alex has also modeled for Kohls and appeared in a Colgate commercial. A career highlight: her Sports Illustrated ad for Dodge Ram trucks. Her secret talent is painting, she played some serious soccer in high school, her pet peeve is people showing up late and she’s learned a whole lot about life through her adventures in modeling…