He made it big in Los Angeles and then made a move to Knoxville. This makeup artist to the stars just loves small town life, plain and simple.
Christian McNally is a make-up master who mastered his craft in Hollywood, but at heart he's a small town guy.
"In Los Angeles I am considered the country boy. I show up with a cowboy hat and cowboy boots," says Christian.
Christian grew up in cities all over the country, but was in Boston when his family moved to Knoxville.
"My father had met Frank Gambuzza at Salon Visage and he said, 'You got to meet this guy'."
They met and after Christian graduated from aesthetic school, they joined forces. "I was Spa Visage in the early 90's and of course look what he's done with that now," says Christian.
On a whim, he moved to San Francisco with his father and brother and got involved with Aveda, but soon after, he was off to LA. That's when he took his talent to the next level.
"Went on the fashion circuit with all kinds of photographers around the country. I was literally home, gosh, a week out of the month," says Christian.
He shot for big-time fashion magazines. "Lots of editorials, Vogue, Elle, Cosmo, you know all different kinds of covers," says Christian.
And big-time celebrities. "I remember when I got the job I had gotten the call, 'Can you go do Denise Richards?' And I think the call time was maybe at 10:00 and I think I showed up at 7:00 a.m.," says Christian. "I had had a crush on her for forever."
And the list goes on. "Steve Martin, Vanessa Williams, Beyonce. I did a whole thing on Beyonce and her mother for a series on e! I did a lot of stuff for e! Entertainment," says Christian.
He also did makeup for Paul Abdul, Randy Jackson and Debra Messing. He was at the height of his career.
"I longed to come back," says Christian.
And he moved back to East Tennesse to work here locally.
"I would much rather fly out of Knoxville than fly out of LAX," says Christian.
He's continued doing work with celebrities. "Nashville is LA without the tan. So I've got more production work there and celebrity work there than I do in Los Angeles," says Christian.
He also works with his girlfriend and fellow makeup artist, Jamie Walker, and lives a more low-key lifestyle.
"When I moved out here one of my goals is to live a more relaxing lifestyle, do my work, find a beautfiul southern girl and get a house on the lake. I got a house on a river," says Christian.
And Christian couldn't be happier to be home.
"I flew in from LA the other day and I just looked at how the leaves are popping back and the rolling hills and I always say, they didn't write so many country songs about this place if it was ugly," says Christian.
Christian McNally, he hangs with the big dogs, but deep down he's a country boy.
"Before I had problems with gangsters, now I have problems with bears. I'll take bears any day of the week," says Christian.
One of Your Stories. There's no place like this one.
Christian McNally is doing an event with Salon Visage Thursday and Friday night. Click on the link on the right side of this page for more information.