How did you come to get involved in Hollywood?
I’ve had a long relationship with Ryan Murphy. I’ve worked for him for 17 years on almost all of his projects, and the ones I haven’t been hands-on with I’ve staffed for him. I met him on Nip/Tuck. James Mackinnon was the department head on the pilot and asked me to be his key. James left to do another show and I moved up to department head. I was there with Stephanie Fowler Ziese until Glee started in 2008. Then Running With Scissors, Eat, Pray, Love, American Horror Story, People vs. OJ, Feud, Versace, Ratched, Hollywood, and recently the film, The Prom. I get to do a lot of time period
perfect projects for him. I love the 1940s. It’s very clean and precise. I was very excited he asked me to do it. This is a period piece that has both historical and fictional characters in the storyline.
How did your design process differ for each type of character?
The process always starts with the script and then costume design. Lou Eyrich and Sarah Evelyn were the designers and they showed me early on the color palette and textures they were using. I looked at sets and cars to get the vibe. Most time period projects have very specific rules in place for makeup and hair already, and this was true for Hollywood, as well. Our research started and ended in realism so family photos and yearbooks were used just as often as the Hurrell books and film research books. The younger women started out with clean beauty looks and were made more
glamourous through the season. through the season.
There were only about four shades of red post-World War II— it represented optimism and a new outlook for America. Patti Lupone’s character wore a deeper shade of red since she was glamorous in the late 1930s, as well. The fictional characters are still an amalgam of different real people. The historical people were matched as closely as possible. Jake Picking, who played Rock Hudson wore a subtle six-piece silicone prosthetic makeup designed by Vincent Van Dyke. He also wore teeth. He had on ears, a nose, lower lip, and eyelids. Jim Parsons wore a bald pate, a “bad” toupee, lenses
made by Cristina Patterson, and teeth also made by VVDFX. Harriet Harris played Eleanor Roosevelt and she wore teeth and a beautiful wig. I might add that Michelle Ceglia designed at least 20 custom wigs for this show. Dylan McDermott, Jeremy Pope, and all the women wore wigs. Stunning! Ryan had very specific reference for each actor. Dylan wore his very own home-grown mustache but I made it gray!
The cast is very culturally diverse and the storyline focuses on some of the sexual and racially based injustices in early Hollywood. Does the importance of this subject matter come into play in your design?
It doesn’t come into my design other than looking up reference photos. Sam Fine happened to be available, and he came in for Queen Latifah who played Hattie McDaniel. They’ve worked together many times and when Queen worked we had huge cast days. The whole feeling of Hollywood is “what if”. Both Anna May Wong and Hattie
McDaniel were very successful but type-cast throughout their careers. Showing these true stories helped to facilitate the young characters’ storylines, and hopefully show change during a very exclusive setting. I think we all wish we would be further along in the pursuit of inclusivity in modern times, but people of every background continue to fight.
Many of the male characters come across as very natural but also somehow just as polished –almost just as glamorous – as the female characters. What are some of the ways you accomplish this?
I love using Tarte BB Treatment cream on men. It gives a touch of color and has a mattifying agent and SPF. I even used it over the Rock Hudson prosthetics to tie it all in. I wanted everyone to look healthy. The men were all shaved every day, and if they weren’t wearing a wig, they got haircuts often so they looked tidy. Ernie ran a tight gas
station! They’re also just beautiful people. Our job wasn’t all that hard.
How many makeup artists were on your team?
My team almost always begins with Kim Ayers. We’ve worked together for nine years and she knows how I like things done. Kerrin Jackson and Ana Gabriela Quiñonez made up the rest of my main team. Besides my main team, I had as many as 20 makeup artists for upwards of 350 actors on any given day. We had several units shooting at once. We had at leastthat many hairstylists. Local 706 does it again! We all had so much fun bringing those big cast days to life.
Any must-have products on the set?
I always start with Bésame for time period lipsticks. Gabriela Hernandez is a cosmetic historian. Her products are beautiful and they have been featured on a lot of my shows, including Hollywood, in the hands of the stars and recreating Schwab’s. Why mess with perfection? Polished looks start with foundation that is buffed in and minimal powder. Those cameras can still see every brush stroke so that is still a big priority.
What did you enjoy most about working on Hollywood?
Getting to be around our amazing cast and how much they love to sing! We all loved Rob Reiner, Holland Taylor, Mira Sorvino, and of course Patti Lupone. It was a joy to work on. It was like a dreamland.
Words Shannon Levy
Photos Courtesy Netflix