Árta 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.
Sarpol-e Z̄ahāb 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 looks daily.
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 makeup?
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 lipsticks.
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