Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Robert Hensley

Robert Hensley (Tobias Daniels)



At Kitchen 24

1608 N. Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles (Hollywood) 323-465-2424

Have you ever looked a photo of your favorite celebrity at a red-carpet event, thought they were a certain age and then were shocked to find out their actual age? Makeup artist and esthetician Robert Hensley often does, and in fact, he has just debuted a new radio show called "Face Value" on Universal Broadcasting Network (UBN) Radio centered around the idea.

"The basis of the show was actually a cocktail game I came up with as a way of rating celebrity photographs – figuring out their photographic age versus their actual age – and creating a system to give them a numerical score based on the differential," Robert explains. "I had originally written it as a television pilot, but I had been booking people on UBN's shows as a publicist and got to know the owners and what shows they were looking for, so I was said, 'Let's do it.' I knew that I could do something around the Face Value concept where I could chat with makeup artists, skincare experts and estheticians about their expertise and how everyone can look fantastic and younger. It's worked out really well."

Every Friday at 6 p.m., you can tune into "Face Value" on UBN Radio to hear Robert play a round of the former drinking game and discuss beauty-related topics with his co-host, actress Danielle Inks, and special guests, ranging from actress/musician Traci Lords to makeup department head for The Conjuring and Insidious Eleanor Sabaduquia and experts like Seti Mayet. Danielle selects a photo of a celebrity on a red carpet for Robert to examine, he guesses their age and they get a zero if they look older than they actually are, 1 if they look up to four years younger than their physical age, 2 if five to nine years younger, 3 if 10-14 years, 4 if 15-19 years and 5 if they're 20 or more years younger. So far, Sandra Bullock has received a 2, Oprah Winfrey a 3 and, sadly, Jamie Lee Curtis a 0.

Robert Hensley at Kitchen 24
"I like how happy people look when they're just enjoying life. Unfortunately that forced me to give Jamie Lee Curtis a low score, and I'm still upset by it. Regardless of your score, if you're doing amazing things and you're happy, then fuck what I have to say," he says with a laugh. "I hope that comes across on the show, that it's not enough to just use makeup and skincare products, you have to act and feel young. It really is how you present yourself. OK, Jamie Lee looked a little older in one photograph, but what she presents to the world is that she's an ageless icon. If you've got lines because you're livin', then have at it."

While they have fun playing the game, Robert and his guests really do strive to give listeners good advice on how to lead a healthy life and take good care of their skin to ensure they look as beautiful as they feel. Recent topics include the importance of keeping your makeup brushes clean and substituting detoxifying "Beauty Waters" for soda, as well as current news and social issues relating to beauty, such as the Chinese man suing his wife over ugly children and winning.

"Face Value" is broadcast from the UBN Radio studio at Sunset-Gower, so Robert takes me to his favorite place to go after recording shows, Kitchen 24. The diner's flagship location on Cahuenga is the former home of Shelly's Manne-Hole jazz club, and the late Hall of Fame drummer's wife, Florence "Flip" Butterfield, is one of the restaurant's regulars. One glance at the menu, and it's easy to see why hungry Angelenos flock to Kitchen 24 for classic comfort food with a modern twist 24-hours a day. Robert recommends the Disco Fries (seasoned fries smothered in gravy and melted provolone cheese), the k24 Turkey Burger served on a toasted, buttery brioche bun, the Fried Chicken Salad or the soups that range from the daily Spicy Tomato and Wednesday's Blackbean & Chipotle Cream to classics like French Onion (Thursdays) and New England Clam Chowder (Fridays).

Danielle joins us for a quick bite before they head off to record this week's show, and shares that she normally gets one of Kitchen 24's coffee drinks to keep her energy up through the broadcast. This afternoon she opts for the Pulled Pork Sandwich, while Robert gets the Smac & Cheese. After perusing the dessert items, I forgo the cupcake flavor of the day (Pistachi-OMG), Waffle Ice Cream Sundae and Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Skillet with Ice Cream for the delicious Strawberry Shortcake. Served in a tall milkshake glass, there are several layers of sponge cake, strawberry ice cream and fresh strawberries, topped with whipped cream.

I dive in to the divine dessert, and Robert fills me in on his background. After high school, he moved to Los Angeles to attend FIDM, but after a year returned to his home state and began studying Special Effects Makeup at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.
Kitchen 24's Strawberry Shortcake

"Before I went to school for special effects in Pittsburgh, I was a total theater geek doing costume design. It was when the [Tim Burton] Batman franchise was around, and the Catwoman suit was everywhere. I started to realize that a lot of the materials they were using in special effects makeup were also being used to create wardrobe, and I wanted to learn that process," he recalls. "As a result, I fell in love with makeup and being able to utilize all my skills to create a full character."

Robert continued to work in Pennsylvania as a teacher's assistant for the Governor's School for the Arts' technical theater program. He also spent time on the East Coast as a published playwright, in San Francisco as a publicist and in Los Angeles doing makeup for various photo shoots and theatrical productions.

"I'm a huge fan of the play 'Bus Stop,' and an even bigger fan of the movie – Marilyn Monroe is perfect. Silas Weir Mitchell, who is the werewolf on 'Grimm,' directed 'Bus Stop' at the Met Theatre  in 2003, and I got to come in and talk about period makeup and work with some of the actors on their looks," Robert remembers. "Being able to step in and have something to do with a production that I liked so much was special to me."

While in Pennsylvania, Robert also worked at a museum, where Catwoman would again play a role in a significant life moment for him.

"He and my mother worked at a museum together," Danielle offers. "I went to a Halloween party with my mom dressed all in leather as Catwoman and, of course, hit it off with Robert right away."

"It's like a reoccurring theme in my life," Robert laughs.

When Robert enrolled in esthetician school and Danielle was studying to become a massage therapist, they hatched a plan with another friend to start their own day spa. They opened Project Diva, which lasted for almost year, before Robert eventually settled back in Los Angeles in 2009, with Danielle joining him last year. He continued working in the cosmetics industry before landing in public relations and, now, "Face Value."

"Makeup has always lingered somewhere in the background as I worked crazy jobs outside of the industry, but it feels like it's all coming together now producing a radio show, having an understanding of PR and media, and I am able to accept makeup job offers, too," he happily informs. "I have a reputation for being a glam hag, but I like doing stuff that's not straight beauty as well. I can do the cuts and bruises. I'm great at sculpting, painting and applying prosthetics, so if the opportunity arose, I would love to do it. I enjoy doing makeup so much again."

Robert and his co-host, Danielle Inks
Los Angeles has definitely become home to him, and he isn't planning on leaving anytime soon.

"I moved to Los Angeles three days after graduating high school. I had never been to California or the West Coast, but I just needed somewhere else to be," he says. "It is the land of opportunity. People come here to change who they are, to become something else or just to become something. It felt comfortable, a place where I could be creative and explore what I wanted without taking any shit for it.  I understood the people here and the motivation, it was really good for me."

While Robert does most of his shopping online, he loves to window shop and walk around Beverly Hills. He also likes going to the Grove early on a Wednesday when it isn't so crowded or to small, independent boutiques. Since "Face Value" is a radio show, he gets to play music from some of his favorite local artists in between segments. You can often hear songs by Vintage Trouble and Ben Caron during the show, and find Robert at their concerts at places like Rockwell Table & StageRoom 5, M Bar, or Hotel Café.

He spends the majority of his free time writing, though. In addition to product reviews and how-to's for and ghost writing for other websites, Robert just published a new short story, "Smiley Jackson and the Dark Day," that he might turn into a series. He also takes time to try out new products to talk about on "Face Value" and often does giveaways for his favorites so listeners can sample them as well.

"One of my beauty essentials is Jan Marini's Skin Care Management System, a collection of five products that really cares for your skin. I'm a huge fan of the way that they find their ingredients and manufacture their products. I talk about them on the show a lot," he says. "'Face Value' is really about helping give people information about keeping their skin in optimal condition, which leads to the side effect of looking younger. There's a misunderstanding that you have to have massive collection of products in order to care for your skin and look good, but most women can get away with with five products and a good set of brushes. It's not the product, it's the application. You can be working with the most expensive cosmetics, but if you apply them incorrectly, you can age yourself. It's really about being educated about application as well as your face. The important thing is to collect what products you think you want to use, sit down in front of a mirror and just play. "

Aside from hearing great tips and advice like that from Robert on "Face Value," there is always plenty of fun had during the show – guests, giveaways and, of course, a round of the game itself. Don't miss their special Black Friday show on Nov. 29 when Robert and Danielle will be joined by a few friends, partake of some cocktails and play a big game of Face Value. If you miss any of the broadcasts, they are available to stream or download at UBN Radio. Tune in, and join the party!

"Face Value" airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on UBN Radio. For more information, visit and

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