Since it premiered in 2017, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has been a darling of award shows and you recently won the MUAHS Award this year for makeup. Congratulations! How much does this add to the pressure to continue to do such exceptional work?
Thank you! I felt really honored to be nominated. I came to the awards from Cincinnati, where I was working on a Todd Haynes project, to represent my show, and show my appreciation for the nomination. I was so surprised when they read our name, never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d win! I couldn’t believe my crew wasn’t with me. And then I wanted to sink into my chair because I hate public speaking.
When I go to work, I try to do the best I can. I’m humbled and happy to be recognized, but I’m not going to work any harder or less hard. It’s a huge show with a big cast that keeps us busy. There’s no time to think about anything else.
What is your design process like on a show that takes place in such an iconic period for beauty?
I did a lot of research. I had done the ‘50s prior so I had a lot of experience with that era. There’s so much photo stock you can reference. There are fabulous period makeup ads you can look at. I’ve done a lot of color research, so I run around with my Pantone to really get the colors. It doesn’t get much better than costume designer Donna Zakowska. Her take on the colors and period is so enriching, and that’s really where I take my cues. I usually go a little bit against her color scheme to complement the colors. I like to work in jewel tones. I do a basic face and once the costume goes on, that’s when I apply blush and lips to complement what they are wearing.
Tell me about the classic ‘50s look you create on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel?
We tweak all the women’s eyebrows into a classic eyebrow shape, unless it’s a natural look, then we leave them as they are. Women in the ‘50s would do eyebrows, mascara, a little eye liner and lipstick. Some would just do mascara and lipstick. We want the characters to be very polished when they’re Midtown/Uptown, so we do the whole package. Whereas when we go into the Gaslight scenes, we show women with just eyeliner or a pop of lipstick. When we looked at the research, it was clear people would make a bit of a statement with their makeup. You’d get a little window of what was to come because they were a bit fashion forward. The ‘60s certainly took it forward.
How many people makeup your team?
My keys are Joe Campayno and Claus Lulla. There are three of us full-time but we have a lot of background artists. I have a nice core group of about seven people that try to be there for me whenever I need them.
Whose makeup do you personally do?
I’m always with Rachel Brosnahan (Midge); if she’s on set, I’m on set. We sort of split the rest of the cast between Claus and I. We’re always in the makeup truck. Joe runs the background. If there’s a new character coming in, Claus or I will set the character. I do several characters but mostly Rachel and Marin Hinkle (Rose) – the mother and daughter because I feel there should be a reflection between the two.
You filmed a number of episodes on location in the Catskills for season two. How does working on location in this type of environment affect your work?
It was a challenge. It was super humid and buggy. You’re constantly drying people off. The sun is out so you have to incorporate sunblock. For years, I have used Eminence powder sunblock that I put on top of anyone’s makeup. If I know I’m going to be on the lake all day, I’ll put La Roche Posay Anthelios sunblock under the foundation. I use the children’s version for the body. Other than that, you just work even harder when you go to the Catskills.
Must-have products on this set?
I love Anastasia Brow Definer pencils. Since the ‘50s didn’t have all the colors we do now, I strictly stay in the warmer tones like Granite, Taupe and Ebony. They stay on really well. We work long days so it’s got to stay. I like a clean look for lashes for this period, so I use Chanel Inimitable mascara. It goes on really clean and stays where you put it. I have a bold red cream-to-powder blush which the lovely Three Custom Colors boys have mixed for me for years. You can do a bold flush or just a hint of color. I use Givenchy Rouge Stilleto lipstick on Rose. For Midge, I always use YSL Rouge Pur Couture in 201 when she does stand-up and when she is wearing any of the black dresses. It’s a rich classic red. I had to find reds that would not only work true to the period but with shooting in HD. A lot of blue-based reds don’t translate well in HD because it pulls colors deeper and bluer. I have some Nars lipsticks I quite like for lighter shades, like Nars Brigitte. The consistency of the lipstick is beautiful with a velvety finish. Sometimes we’re in the same look all day, so I need to make sure I can preserve lips and skin. You want color that stays moist yet doesn’t slide off.
What is the best part of working on this show?
The collaboration between all the departments; it goes beyond costumes, hair and makeup. Creating characters in the ‘50s in a show led by Amy Sherman-Palladino is a pretty amazing thing. I feel very lucky and grateful to be part of this.
Words Shannon Levy
Photos Amazon Prime Video/Nicole Rivelli