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“Nigel, this is Sylvester Stallone,” burbles Nigel Dare, doing the best Stallone imitation a 40-year-old immigrant from Guyana can muster as he recounts a story about tracking down a replacement piece for the actor’s high-frequency hair stimulation unit. Defunct manufacturer. Ages-old appliance. No problem. Dare is the wheeler and dealer of backstage Hollywood beauty. After 14 years at Frends Beauty Supply, a familiar haunt for the town’s film and television makeup artists and hairstylists, he’s opened up his own shop, Nigel’s Beauty Emporium, on a decidedly unglamorous stretch in North Hollywood. “It’s for the freeway access,” Dare explains. If he doesn’t have an item, he’s happy to track it down, be it an Elizabeth Arden product for Sienna Miller’s makeup artist or La Roche-Posay Anthelios sunscreen for John Travolta’s makeup team. Fortunately, most needs can be met at the 5,000-square-foot Emporium. Among the offerings: Reel Blood’s fake blood in aged and original, Ben Nye’s tooth color (in nicotine and black) and Versea’s Coolyre Bleu eyedrops to eliminate redness for those with a bad case of the day after. Chortles Dare, “Rock stars buy that by the dozen.”
This story first appeared in the April 11, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.