Makeup artist Hung Vanngo on meeting the man who launched his career.

Daria Werbowy photographed by Max Abadian for Flare, September 2009, makeup by Hung Vanngo

When I first started out, believe it or not, I was very shy.

I worked as a hairdresser at a salon and did makeup on the side. I didn’t really know what direction to go.

I reached out to KELLY STREIT, who owned MODE MODELS CALGARY at the time. He scouted a lot of the top Canadian models.

Helena Christensen photographed by Max Abadian for i-D, December 2009, makeup by Hung Vanngo

Kelly met with me, and I started working on his girls’ headshots and castings.

He knew everybody in town and would recommend me to local shoots, advertising campaigns, and fashion shows. I did everything that he had the power to suggest me for in Calgary.

Without Kelly, I wouldn’t be doing makeup for celebrities and models.

Lindsey Wixson photographed by Henrik Bulow for Fat Magazine, March 2014, makeup by Hung Vanngo

I went with him on my first trip to New York and I basically fell in love [with the city], but I had nothing besides a little portfolio from his model tests; you can’t really get a working visa — or anything at all — with that.

So he and I worked together on a plan for me to move to New York. Kelly saw talent in me and encouraged me to get out of Canada.

If I have anyone to thank for beginning my career, it would be him.

— as told to The Thick

Did you see? Makeup artist Brigitte Reiss-Andersen enters the house of Yves Saint Laurent, makeup artist Frank B. displays his talent in a 2007 Self Service editorial.

Claudia Schiffer photographed by Max Abadian for i-D, December 2009, makeup by Hung Vanngo