Alekseyevka How did you get involved with The White Lotus?
I got a call from my friend, the AD, saying he was in Hawaii and their makeup artist dropped out. I feel like when Hawaii calls — you go. I was on a plane a week later!
Nizhyn How closely did you work with wardrobe and hair during your design process for the second season in Italy?
I make a lot of notes while reading the scripts and start the process by talking to Alex Bovaird, our amazing costume designer. She has been involved longer than I have so she has a much clearer idea of the characters. Her fitting photos are super helpful, and we have a lot of conversations about character looks. It’s fun to see what the hair department has in mind. I always aim for the characters to feel relatable and authentic but we get to push the boundaries a bit. The collaborative process is my favorite part of the job!
What were some of the makeup choices you made when designing Daphne (Meghann Fahy) versus Harper (Aubrey Plaza)?
Daphne and Harper was a fun juxtaposition to play with Daphne is sweet and bubbly — dewy cheeks, gem-colored eyes, and always a pink/nude lip. Nails are important to a character so we made sure she wore a pale pink which felt very classic. Harper was the opposite in so many ways—a lot of matte, neutral eye shadow, contour, and natural lip most of the time. Rust color nails were just moody enough for her without doing a traditional deep maroon or red.
What was the inspiration for the local characters and how did their makeup embody a more Italian style?
Italians are incredibly chic! And they don’t have to try very hard. I felt that immediately when I arrived. We wanted to bring an element of playfulness to these girls. We got really creative with matching their looks to their outfits and wanted them to have a bit of an edge without being too overdone or heavy.
Tell me about Portia’s (Haley Lu Richardson) trendy style of makeup versus Tanya’s (Jennifer Coolidge) classic sultry look. Portia has a funky style. I love that our designer made her feel current but a bit off. She has such a fun and easy face to work with—a great canvas to throw a lot of color on. We kept it modern by using mostly one color tone on the lid and rimming it with black liner. Greens, blues, and pinks are unexpected on film so it was fun to experiment. Tanya is so feminine and has lots of sex appeal. I love keeping her makeup dramatic. Her face can take a lot of contour and lashes. She definitely has her “face” on at all times, and the French Tip press-on nails are a perfect addition to her character.
Did Tanya’s look change from the first season in Hawaii to Italy?
Tanya, to me, feels like someone who has her routine down. She doesn’t sway too much with different colors and knows what works best on her face. We kept it pretty consistent and played a little bit with her eyes and lips throughout—bold eyes, strip lashes, Mac Whirl lip liner, and Tom Ford contour palette were staples!
What did you use to tan the cast for this season?
It was off-season when we first got to Italy so I mostly wanted everyone to keep from getting too tan as the shoot went on. I always rely on Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs spray, Vita Liberata Body Blur, Prtty Peaushun, and Lalicious body oil. Continuity is so difficult when the weather gets warm and people want to be out in the sun, I just begged everyone to keep their SPF on at all times!
What were some key products used on set?
It’s all about the skin for me — cold eye patches in the morning, ice rollers, pimple patches, LED lights, facial steamers — anything to keep everyone’s skin happy and clear. I Love Eminence, Vie en Rose Mile-High Ultra Hydrating Mist, Love Potion CBD Face Oil, Agent Nateur, and U Beauty. For makeup, I am a creature of habit — Cle de Peau concealer, Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, Koh Gen Do foundation, Chanel bronzer and blush, Kosas eye shadows, Anastasia eye and brow palettes, Saint Jane lipsticks and oils, Danessa Myricks when we wanted some glitz and lots of ISDIN sunscreen!
What did you like best about working on this season of The White Lotus?
The location was everything this season! We got to stay at the Four Seasons in Taormina, Sicily and it was so dreamy. I think our creator, Mike White, has such an eye for beauty and that really comes through this year. He is the heart of this show. He makes you want to give it your all and gives us the creative freedom to bring these characters to life. He is a genius.
Words Shannon Levy
Photos Courtesy HBO