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Artist Spotlight: Debbie Zoller

Debbie Zoller

Image courtesy of popnography.com

I wrote an article about Pat McGrath a while back which seems to be really popular on the blogoshpere. So it got me thinking that perhaps it would be nice to write about the other amazing Make-Up Artists out there who inspire me. There are so many of them that I have decided to have a segment called “Artist Spotlight”. One such artist is Debbie Zoller. She has had a phenominal career as a professional Make-Up Artist in the television and film industries.  Debbies’s CV which I found on the Milton Agency Website reads like my DREAM career path. If I could even have a tenth of her success I would feel like I had made it. She seems to have worked on most of the films that inspired and delighted me growing up, like Coneheads, Men in Black and Star Trek. Some of her more recent career highlights include Kill Bill, Pirates of the Carribbean, Castle and Mad Men. Debbie has been in the industry for 25 years and has no less than seven Emmy Award Nominations!

Mackenzie Crook in Pirates of the Caribbean

Image courtesy of movies.yahoo.com

Debbie has had real staying power in the industry, the reason for this is a combination of three things: talent, a great personality and a dedication to research. I heard a morning radio interview with Debbie. She had been up shooting in the cold/wet the night before yet she was still upbeat, warm and friendly. Debbie is showing the personality traits that are so important in a Make-up artist. You have to have the ability to still smile when you have been working desperate hours. She also says that she researches each Make-up look thoroughly, especially on period shows like Mad Men. She researched everything from eyebrow shapes to nail styles. People are going to run a critical eye over every detail of your work so it is important to insure that everything is historically correct.

Joan Holloway

Image courtesy of Bellasugar

In various interviews she talks about having passion in your chosen path: “If they’re passionate about something, follow it”, “If your passion is driving you, it will direct you the right way to go.” I guess it could also be said that if you have passion it will make you more detirmined and help you to keep going even when the times get tough or you get knock backs. She started her career behind the counter Lancôme, here she learnt about different bone structures, skin tones and also how to apply make-up speedily. The store that she worked in was high profile and she met alot of celebrities in her work. Following this she went to a professional Make-Up Artistry course for 6 months, where she learned the other aspects of the industry, like sfx make-up for film and tv. She said that it is all about being in the right place at the right time, but I think that there is more to it than that. Debbie was extremely active in trying to get started as a Make-Up Artist, she had no contacts in the industry so had to work her way up. She did test shoots with photographers, mingled with beauty editores. She pounded the pavement, cold calling people, showing her portfolio, networking and putting herself out there. It is always inspiring to hear how other Make-Up Artists have made it. Passion, determination and a bit of luck seem to really pave the way to success.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Debbie says:

    Wow! I stumbled upon this while looking for another interview I did a while back. I wanted to say thank you for the lovely article! What a very nice surprize!
    Debbie Zoller

  • Emma Farrell says:

    Hi Debbie, so lovely to hear from you. I am delighted that you read the article. I hope that all my facts were correct, absolutely love your work and all the compliments are well deserved. All the best, Emma 🙂

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