KB: Does the fame faze you?
DS: Not really. I’ve worked with the same clients for such a long time, ever since their careers started to take off, so I feel like we grew up together. That is not to say I don’t realize what a big deal and blessing it is to work with A-list celebrities, it’s just that after a while, you realize people are people and you’re there to provide a service.
KB: What was it like to go on the press tour with the cast of Twilight?
DS: Going on the road for work is not as glamorous as one might think. It’s still a business trip, and the schedule is pretty exhausting. I’ll be away from home for two weeks, home for four days, then away for another two weeks. The exciting part is everything is first class, from the car that picks us up, to security that takes us through the airport, although most of the time we y private. I grew up on a farm, so this is almost not even real. I also get to meet people from all over the world, which is wonderful. The typical schedule is: interviews during the day and then a red carpet movie premiere event in each country, only to have to leave the event once the movie starts so we can jump into waiting cars and head to the airport to travel to the next country. We typically have at least one day off in each place, which allows us some free time to go out to eat, hit some museums, and soak up the culture and people. As for the Twilight tours, it’s total madness. Fans chasing the cars, crying, screaming the actors’ names—that’s the Twilight phenomenon. One of my most favorite memories from the last Twilight tour was bowling with Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner. Sounds simple, but that is exactly why it was so fun and special.
KB: Why do you think your clients are so loyal?
DS: They call it show business, not show friends. I know my place. Keeping it professional is the key to success, and having the skills to back it up is critical. We all know it never works making friends with clients. But it’s important that your personalities click. As fun as it may be, in the end, I know I’m working for someone else. I never forget how lucky I am. Working in fashion and entertainment is exciting and can be very lucrative. It’s how we react to it that matters. I’m not much for rules, but there are a few I stick to. The biggest one: no gossiping.
KB: Have you ever wanted to pinch yourself, because you thought you were dreaming?
DS: When Oprah called, I did feel like pinching myself. That was unreal. (Schmidtke has been the lead stylist on two of the Oprah show’s Makeover My Man! segments, and was part of one of the nal Makeover Dream Teams for the nal season—for more on her Oprah experience check out salontoday.com). Also, when I work with icons like John Travolta, Kevin Costner or Harrison Ford, I’ll be high on life that day. The new generation guys like Johnny Knoxville, James Franco, Jon Hamm, I see them around their families, and we grew up together in the industry so they’re regular guys to me.