"I Can't Afford To Buy That Stuff": 14 Money Facts Celebs & Stylists Revealed About The Red Carpet

    Even Kate Hudson said in 2013 that she "can't afford" to "own all the dresses" she wears on the red carpet

    A lot of time and effort goes into crafting celebs' red carpet looks — and so does a lot of money. In fact, the costs (and who has to pay them) for red carpet looks vary significantly based on factors like the celeb's popularity and the stylist's notoriety, not to mention if a film studio is involved to pick up the bill.

    So here are 14 times celebs and stylists revealed the "hidden costs" of red carpets:

    1. As of 2016, many prominent stylists, such as Micaela Erlanger, charged their clients a day rate around $1,500 (which, if you're a nominee, is likely covered by your studio). She told the New York Post, "There’s a lot of prep involved — we’re talking weeks!"

    Michaela in a sleeveless striped dress posing for cameras

    "From talking to designers if you’re doing something custom to getting the samples in and, of course, fittings — it’s crazy," she said.

    2. In a since-deleted TikTok from 2020 (per Metro), Grey's Anatomy actor Adelaide Kane reportedly said that she was in "crippling debt" because of business expenses and taxes. Specifically related to red carpets, she said that, for each event, she may spend between $700–1,500 on a stylist and $1,000 on hair and makeup artists.

    Woman in elegant black dress with lace accents standing on red carpet

    She said, "Just to be clear up, every actor I know saves as much as humanly possible because most of us go for months or sometimes years at a time between jobs."

    She also said that, because of residuals, she's "fine, but [her] savings won't last forever."

    3. In 2024, Busy Philips told Page Six, "I have to continually hustle. It is so true. With hair, makeup, and wardrobe and what it cost...I look at, like, the amount of money I'm supposedly making, and I look at, like, the bills...and what's expected of [me]. And then it's not just the bills, it's what's expected of me when I show up at a place, you know? And it's like, well, okay, this film company or this production company is only gonna pay this percentage of your hair and makeup and wardrobe, so you have to make up the rest. So then you're thousands of dollars out of pocket, and then, at the end of the day, it's like, 'Well, what am I doing?'"

    Busy patterned dress with a neon clutch, posing at a City Harvest event

    "I was saying to Renée [Elise Goldsberry]...I was like, 'We should just show up a mess at one of these things,'" she said.

    4. In a 2023 YouTube interview with Ranveer Allahbadia (translated into English by Indian Express), Bollywood actor Bhumi Pednekar said, "Styling is a very big thing and it’s a very expensive process." She said that her styling"will cost around Rs 15k to 20k" (about $180–240). Then, she said additional expenses include car rental at around Rs 15k to 20k (about $180–240) and hair and makeup for Rs 20k (about $240).

    Bhumi in a pleated gown with a knotted front detail, posing at an event

    She said, "For a regular person, spending Rs 75k to 80k for an event, which is basic, it's a lot."

    5. Stylists can actually lose money during awards season. Jeanne Yang told the Hollywood Reporter's 2018 Stylist Roundtable, "When a makeup artist or a hairstylist comes to a shoot, they are paid their full-day rate. When we go in for the awards shows, we typically get paid [by studios] about $1,000 per look. Then we deduct our expenses: shipping costs, paying assistants and tailoring, and it costs up to $1,500 to $2,000 per look."

    Jeanne in an elegant draped gown posing at an event

    6. Likewise, stylist Law Roach said in the same THR Roundtable, "It's not like you're striking a deal. The brands will pay your day rate. I went from making $10,000 a day working with girls in music who didn’t have the right look to making $750 a day for someone Hollywood thought had the look. We take these jobs, make less money, put ourselves in the hole, so we can make it to that magazine."

    Law posing on red carpet wearing a blazer, hand on stomach, with a jeweled necklace and a handbag

    7. In 2013, Kate Hudson told Harper's Bazaar, "People think we own all these dresses, but we borrow them! I can't afford to buy that stuff. There are certain things I splurge on, but it's very rare, especially when you have two kids and school tuition."

    Kate in a mermaid gown with voluminous ruffled sleeves, posing on event backdrop

    She continued, "I'm not a big high-end fashion shopper. I wish I could, but the truth is things are just so expensive. Before Isabel Marant was a million dollars and famous, I used to go to her store in Paris and go crazy. It was so affordable."

    8. If an actor doesn't have the money to hire a stylist, they likely have to purchase their own outfit. Such was Amanda Seyfried's situation when she was preparing for the Meal Girls premiere in 2004. On Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2022, she said, "I used the only money I had to buy a dress — but there were two premieres, and so I had to buy two dresses because you wear different dresses."

    Describing her outfit for the New York premiere, she said,  "I paid $600 for that dress. I couldn't even afford a ride home...No, I'm kidding...I didn't have a publicist. I didn't have a stylist. I did my own makeup."

    9. Oftentimes, celebs who aren't "sample size" have difficulty finding designers who will lend them clothes, so they purchase their own red carpet looks out of pocket. For example, at the 2016 Golden Globes, Bryce Dallas Howard told People, "I'm wearing Jenny Packham — I just picked it up at Neiman’s [Marcus] this week. I like having lots of options for a size six as opposed to maybe one option, so I always go to department stores for this kind of stuff."

    Bryce on the red carpet in a lace dress with sheer neckline at the Golden Globe Awards

    For the Critics Choice Awards later that month, she bought a $1,300 Pierre Balmain dress from Forward by Elyse Walker.

    She told People, "It's when you're not 'sample' size, or when you don't have a direct relationship with a designer, or if you don't have a lot of notice, those types of size six dresses just aren't that available that much...So, what I found is that if something is sort of last-minute, or I don't have a good relationship with a place, then I go to Neiman's, or I get something online."

    10. Similarly, though the studio and network behind Crazy Ex-Girlfriend often covered her hair and makeup expenses, Rachel Bloom has ended up paying for a lot of her own red carpet wardrobe out of pocket. In 2017, she reportedly told Wealthsimple, "Your typical nice designer dresses, at least the kind of stuff that I wear for events, can range from $500 to $3,000, and you want to wear a different outfit for every event because it's a whole red-carpet thing. It’s a lot of dresses."

    Rachel in dress with lace detail at Emmys

    At the 2017 Emmys, she told E!, "I bought this dress because Gucci's not lending me a dress."

    She said that she paid for the dress because she was "at the place where [she] can afford it," but she planned to resell it after the event.

    11. Beyond the outfit, there are other costs that can rack up. According to a 2016 New York Post article, Tom Bachik, a celeb manicurist, charges about $300 for a nail appointment house call. He told the publication at the time, "A lot of times the celebs will [pay] on their own and — I can only speak for myself — I'll give a much-reduced rate. It’s a special moment, and I get excited to be part of that experience."

    12. According to Cosmopolitan, in a 2021 Instagram story post, hair stylist Chris Appleton revealed that Kim Kardashian's 75-inch ponytail extensions from the Met Gala cost $10,000.

    Kim in a full-coverage outfit with a long ponytail on stairs

    13. Of course, there's also a ton of money to be made in attending certain red carpet events. Some influencers get paid to post content from movie premieres and the like through studio partnerships. For example, in 2023, TikToker Amanda Castrillo told the Hollywood Reporter that she's made $3,000-$10,000 each time.

    Amanda in a beaded halter gown with a plunging neckline, posing on the event backdrop

    She said, "I went from literally working part-time for like $15 an hour to actually being able to pay my bills and pay rent — it can be life-changing."

    14. And finally, at the 2015 Vulture Festival's Hollywood Power Stylist Panel, stylist Jessica Paster said designers have paid her to have her clients wear their label through "ambassadorships." She said that, for one outfit at one event, she would receive $30,000–50,000, and her clients received $100,000–250,000.

    Jessica in dress with a bow detail, accessorized with bracelets, standing indoors

    She said, "If it looks awful on you, $100,000 or $250,000 is not worth it, but if it looks gorgeous and this is the dress you were going to pick anyway, why not get paid? Let's not forget that when [designers] make these custom dresses, they're spending about $100,000,  so someone is getting paid."