How did you come to work on The Harder They Fall?
I was originally asked to be a part of The Harder They Fall
back at the beginning of the year as Regina King’s personal
makeup artist. However, due to a scheduling conflict, I was
not able to do it. Then the whole industry was shut down due
to the pandemic. When the film industry opened back up,
the Makeup Department Head that was hired became
unavailable for the project. The opportunity came back, and
at this time I was available.
What were the challenges of filming during Covid?
There were so many challenges of shooting during
Covid. Aside from the masks, goggles, and shields, we also
had to deal with the heat, snow, dust, and many more
elements. We just had to speak up if we were not feeling the
most protected and safe. The constant changing of Covid
protocols was hard as well. Getting additional artists tested
so that they would be eligible to work was a challenge
because of where our set was located in New Mexico.
Whose makeup did you do?
My main responsibility was Regina King. As well, I was
consulting and designing the looks of the main characters
along with the artists that were responsible for creating their
With such a large ensemble cast, did you face any
challenges in terms of prep or continuity?
My challenge was mostly because I was the last one to
come onto the project. My prep time was very limited in
dealing with the schedule and making sure that all the
prosthetics were available to shoot when needed. I had such
a wonderful team working with me on the show. We all were
responsible for the continuity of our cast and characters.
Where did you look to for reference when designing the
The characters were loosely based on real-life black
cowboys and outlaws, so we were able to find actual images
of the characters. But we have taken a bit of liberty; we
weren’t doing “dusty cowboy,” instead we created a more
“stylized cowboy” movie. There are three separate towns in
the movie, so we had to have distinct looks and feel for the
people in each town.
How large was your makeup team?
I had a large team due to the large cast and Covid
compliance. We had a regular team of 10 makeup artists
that included myself, Vera Steimberg (assistant department
head), Sabrina Cruz Castro (key makeup fx), Michelle Lewis
(key makeup), Rocky Calderon, Jonathan Shroyer (fx artist),
Jennifer McDaniel (background makeup supervisor), Kelly
Robinson (Idris Elba’s personal), Natalie Young and
Kato DeStefan. Aside from those great artists, we hired many
talented New Mexico makeup artists. It was an amazing
team and we worked really beautifully together.
What was important in terms of creating the look for the
females such as Regina King and Zazie Beets?
In creating and designing the looks for Regina and Zazie, we
kept the afro-centric vibe of the movie in mind. We needed
to create a difference between the two ladies. Regina is from
a town that has affluent status, think Beverly Hills. So, I
designed her makeup to be crisp and clean to gives her a
feeling of always being put together. Zazie is from a town
where the outlaws are hiding in plain sight. Vera and I talked
about her makeup and wanted her to look natural but a bit
sexy. Her eye makeup is smudgy and smoked out lightly. To
stay true to the period, we did not use any eyelashes or
What was Regina King’s makeup breakdown?
For Regina’s foundation, I mixed Shiseido Synchro Skin liquid
foundation in 440 and 450 with 530 as a contour. Her
concealer was Shiseido Synchro Skin concealer in 304. I set
her with Fenty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch setting powder in
Honey and Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder for
under eyes in a mix of shades 1 and 2. For cheeks, I used
Besame Cream Rouge in Crimson and Bobbi Brown blush in
Apricot. For contour, I applied Danessa Myricks Balm Contour
in medium 3. I used Viseart Neutral Matte eyeshadow palette
and lined her upper eyes with MAC Fluidline Gel Liner in
Blacktrack and under eyes with MAC Dipdown. I topped off
lashes with Lancome Monsieur Big mascara. I used Senna
Sketch a Brow in Dark Taupe for her brows and set them with
Senna’s brow gel. All I used on her lips was Burt’s Bees Red
Dahlia tinted lip balm. To seal it all in, I finished with Temptu
AirPod in Caramel lightly spayed over the makeup.
Any other key products you couldn’t have done the
a project without?
I have fallen in love with Black Girl Sunscreen. It truly does
not leave a white residue on the skin. The Shiseido Synchro
Skin Foundation formula gives a beautiful skin-like finish. The
Temptu Air system sprayed over makeup seals it in and
makes it last all day.
I also had the opportunity to develop a custom Skin
Illustrator Palette with PPI that got used around the trailer
was absolutely gorgeous. We talked about my needs on set
and worked together to find the best solutions to those
needs. I think we came up with a pretty great collaboration.
Words Shannon Levy
Photos David Lee/Netflix