I have literally lost count of the number of times I’ve had “natural make up” done. Now, depending on what it’s for, this could be reasonably light or pancaked on like a mask. Make up is weird that way. Sometimes, you need a quarter inch of crap on your face to look fresh, apparently ~ and from a distance, it may look exactly that.
This shoot (above) was all about accidents, and yet it worked out SO well – I find that often happens when the people you’re casually working with are genuinely talented at what they do. Add a little passion, and voila!
The MUA from this shoot was a lady named Sophie; a Yonsei student who loved makeup and was learning about styling shoots. She had enough experience to understand that Base makeup was more than one color (several, in fact), lighting matters a lot, and she introduced me to ‘Fairy drops’ and ‘Kiss me’ mascara from Japan (running 20 bucks and 32, respectively). In Korea, every MUA loves Japanese mascara. It lengthens like nothing else.
Sophie experimented with golds and silvers and smokes and feathers and spent about an hour finding the right hair accessories but ultimately, she pulled off a great job, and I loved her work. She took 3 times as long as she should have but it was her second time on a shoot and she ended up nailing it.
I always admire MUAs. Part of the initiation into the professional work is the ability to work under immesne stress and do everything really fast.
Memorable quote from a fashionistical French MUA: “How dare you tell me that brows take anything less than 20 min for perfection?!? Ignorant shit.” Well, the general expectation is that 20 min and you’re done if the look is natural. I’ve seen people pull off 8min on commercial sets.
Yesterday, I shot a commercial for a great education company, and the lighting was a challenge. Lighting isn’t my job, but I know that it can make me look horrible so I always pay attention to it. The MUA had a large, ‘barely touched’ array of Japanese pigments set up (I love checking out their goods as they cost a fortune)…and she had a friendly disposition. However, when I took a look at the results, I looked washed out and pale. We had a go after I showed her a few snaps from my mobile album (as I shoot “naturally” quite often). I am painfully aware that my brows are uneven and need shaping, my face is very angular and needs color, my lips disappear because I am so pale, etc etc etc. Since I was playing a teacher, I wanted to look alive. I was also dehydrated that day, and while you can get away with just about anything when you’re 21, ‘I’ cannot.
Trial two left me with somewhat harsh, thickly outlined black eyes and better brows, but time was up.
A few of my words of wisdom to actors and directors choosing MUAs, or MUAs interested in getting into film:
-choose freelancers that can do hair. There is a good chance it’s needed and it’s always appreciated. I know many actors and models can do their own but some of us are terrible at it
-Talk to your model. There is a good chance that they know exactly how they need to be made up and can point you to their flaws fast
-Yes, you should be used to working under lots of time pressure and the lighting probably will suck so experience is terrific
-Google the face you’re making up the day before if possible
-Don’t show up to your shoot with make-up one unless it’s a light base such as BB cream (and they may remove it)
-Don’t wash your hair in the morning and leave it damp (they will fry it)
-MUAS: exotic, “difficult to purchase locally” Waterproof mascara and kohl may make
you feel more comfortable but it will ruin your models eyes (mine are still black this morning)
-PLEASE AVOID USING THE SAME MASCARA WANDS FOR ALL OF US. I have only met 2 MUAs who actually considered that bacteria spreads
-bring your own shoes to help out the stylist, especially if you’re in a country that has a different size system
-bring bras that are flesh toned and DARKER than your own flesh or they may show right through your blouse
-just buy new nylons. Mine always find ways to rip on the way there
-if you’re a freelance MUA and leaving after you apply make-up, leave your models a sample of their lip colour or they will talk it right off and be stuck/ Alternatively, savvy actors can buy a cheap palette for touch ups if there is a lowish budget shoot going on to prevent this
-DO bother to get bi-monthly manicures and if you’re shooting, keep the colours nude or just use clear base. I have had many occasions when it was just assumed I would have pretty fingers (I don’t, but I do take care of them), and the shoot had nothing to do with hands