How long have you been a makeup artist and how did you start out?
I have been a professional makeup artist for twenty years. I knew I wanted to be a makeup artist from the age of 12. My father was a film aficionado, and I was introduced to every type of film genre. I became fascinated in the art of film production and its amazing power to suspend disbelief. In particular, the way in which the realness of the makeup would affect me was thrilling. For me, the makeup told its own story of time, place and action. The body could take so many forms - story-telling through embodiment. I first started out by practicing on all my friends. After a number of years training, and many amateur gigs later, my first professional career break was a play at the Ford Theatre that transferred to Broadway. Once in NYC, I began cold-calling production companies and slowly built my skills and contacts.
What’s your favorite experience being a makeup artist so far?
My specialty is special FX makeup and doing things that go beyond standard beauty makeup. It's an expertise that that involves chemicals, equipment, technical know-how, artistry and problem-solving. As such, the experience that has combined all of these elements in a unique way is my current project, BLINDSPOT. The show's concept is that the lead actress is covered in full-body tattoos, each of which drives each episode. There has never been a long-running series that requires an actor to apply and remove hundreds of tattoos head-to-toe over several years. It has been a huge challenge trying to solve problems of skin abrasions, durability of the tattoos and speed of application. I had to think about how to make it sustainable. After months of testing, consulting with dermatologists, tattoo artists and skin pigment specialists, I approached a team of scientists at MIT who helped me create a new product. We have pioneered new methods in tattoo special fx and temporary tattoos. It has been an extremely satisfying challenge.
What’s your least favorite?
I would say every experience I've had has been interesting. But perhaps filming for two freezing months in in an underground concrete bunker in Bulgaria somewhat tested my limits of enjoyment.
What is your favorite Tweezerman beauty tool and why?
I love the Tweezerman Coil Spring Nipper. It is a clever design, easy to use, and comes in awesome colors, which makes it fun to handle.
What clients have you worked on in the past? Who would you love to work with?
I've worked with a long list of celebrities such as Amy Adams, Kristen Bell, America Ferrara, Jaimie Alexander, David Oyelowo, Jonah Hill, Zach Braff, Amy Poehler, and Jay-Z, to name a few.
I would love to work with Melissa McCarthy. It is a dream makeup job to work with actresses who aren't afraid of a transformation, and are willing to push the limits of what is possible.
What is your dream beauty tool?
I find those tiny electric micro hair trimmers to be a must-have tool. You never know when you might get into a "hairy" situation!
What advice do you have for makeup artists just starting out? What’s the best makeup advice you ever received?
Some advice I would give to a makeup artist starting out is to just do it as much as possible. Whether it's on your kid sister or your grandma, practice, practice, practice. Try and recreate makeup you love from film or TV. And take lots of pictures. You will then be able to see how lighting and cameras affect your work and you will start to gain the skills and confidence to be on a set.
What inspires you?
The work of my peers and colleagues inspire me. Collaborating with writers, directors, cinematographers, costume designers, hair stylists, other makeup artists and actors to achieve a visual impact that brings a character to life is the most fulfilling part of my job.
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