They were all trying to look like her, with their fake tans, fake eyelashes, fake hair. This was their chance -- the hundreds of young women who had traveled from Ecuador, Sweden, Abu Dhabi -- to see her, take a selfie with her, impress her: Kim Kardashian.
Some of her fans had shelled out thousands of dollars to be in Pasadena, where the 34-year-old and one of her favorite makeup artists, Mario Dedivanovic, were putting on a master class Saturday to reveal how the reality star attains her sought-after look. But it wasn't only Kardashian fans: Many makeup artists and aspiring artists had come to learn the tricks of the trade from Dedivanovic. The cheapest tickets went for $299.99, but the most coveted seats sold for $999.99 and came with platinum wristbands, which promised guests a pricey gift bag and a picture with Kardashian and Dedivanovic.
Lined up outside the Civic Auditorium -- a stately Italian Renaissance-style building designed in the 1930s -- attendees looked like they were ready to hit the Sunset Strip. It was noon and 80 degrees, but still there were Louboutins, trench coats, Céline handbags. Notebooks were at the ready, to be filled during the four-hour seminar with tips on strobing and baking and contouring.
Those are all makeup terms, and contouring in particular has become Dedivanovic's trademark. It's a technique that helps define facial structure -- think really defined cheekbones -- through the use of bronzer and highlighting. Dedivanovic often posts photos to his 1.3 million Instagram followers of Kardashian mid-contour, with brown lines streaked across her cheeks and nose and jawline. (He's not alone; Rob Scheppy, another makeup artist who has works with Kardashian, also features her on Instagram and Facebook.)
Kardashian was bare-faced when she emerged on stage Saturday, dressed in a tight-fitting black maxi dress that accentuated her growing abdomen. (She recently announced she is expecting her second child, a boy, with husband Kanye West.)
"How flawless is she with no makeup on?" Dedivanovic asked the crowd -- which included actress Ashley Tisdale (also a Dedivanovic client) and brow guru Anastasia Soare -- before popping a mint into his mouth and sanitizing his hands.
"It's way better with makeup," she replied. "But I love, love makeup."
Indeed, Kardashian's affinity for glam is well-documented. She often talks about how her father bought her a ticket to a makeup class when she was 14 because she was so obsessed with beauty. She and her sisters, Kourtney and Khloe, have their own makeup and hair product lines. And she often posts photos of herself on Instagram trying out new looks and crediting her glam team, including Dedivanovic, who have since become minor celebrities in their own rights.
Kardashian participated in Saturday's workshop as a favor to Dedivanovic -- with whom she's worked for eight years -- meaning she did not receive a cut of the profits. But she seemed to genuinely enjoy getting her makeup done and discussing the process, which went like this: moisturizer, brows, foundation, eyeshadow, concealer, eyeliner, mascara, more eyeshadow, fake lashes, contouring, lips.
It took longer than usual because of all the instruction -- Kardashian said she usually schedules no more than two hours for hair and makeup, now that she has her daughter, North. She's used to wearing a lot of makeup, and she said she likes how long-lasting Dedivanovic's techniques are. His work stays on so well, Kardashian said, that sometimes in a pinch she'll sleep on a black satin pillowcase in her eye makeup.
"You just have to try to sleep as gently as possible, keep your eye makeup and then redo your foundation," she advised. "If I sleep on a plane, I'll go in the bathroom before I get off to make sure my lashes aren't all weird and crunched up on one side."
Dedivanovic isn't a brand loyalist, but he dutifully shared the name of each product he used on Kardashian -- Kevyn Aucoin lip liner, Bobbi Brown stick foundation, Charlotte Tilbury bronzer and highlighter. And there were plenty of specific tips: Don't forget to put foundation on your client's ears. Put a cream eyeshadow on before powder eyeshadow for a longer-lasting effect. Make small eyes look bigger by putting a creamy shade on the inner lids.
But the audience most seemed to enjoy the interplay between Dedivanovic and Kardashian, who said she likes working with him because he respects her personal space.
"You have to know, if you're gonna be in someone's face and keep the job, you have to definitely be more on the quiet side," she said. "That's my time to wind down or check emails or I've just woken up. He's always given me my space. ...He is there in my face at my most personal moments -- times where I've been crying or when I have secrets, like I'm pregnant and try to conceal it. He's helped me through so many things, but still never stepped over that boundary."
After Kardashian's look was finally completed, an assistant rushed over to hand her a digital camera so she could take a selfie of the final transformation. And then came the most important question of all:
"Kim," a woman shouted from the audience, "what camera is that?"
"It is discontinued," she said. "I need to ask them to make it again. This is how it makes all of [my] pictures so flawless."
Stay tuned for a more in-depth story on celebrity makeup artists in the Aug. 16 Image section. In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter @AmyKinLA.