As a member for the Irish Film and Television Academy I was invited to Dublin’s Gibson hotel on Thursday the 29th September 2011 for ‘The Craft of Make-Up’, the Academy’s annual event hosted in association with MAC Cosmetics, featured the work of two IFTA winning Make-Up artists Jennifer Hegarty and Linda Mooney.
The event was hosted by Tv3’s Xposé presenter and Karen Koster. Jennifer and Linda share behind the scenes secrets from their award winning careers in film and television. It was a really informative event with a great insight into the industry.
One of the things that I noted was that as make-up arists they never stop learning. Jennifer said that she started her career by going to London to do a few courses, but that she still learns all the time. She said that the industry changes so fast that you have to keep up with the times. Also it was great to note that there was no overnight success for Jennifer, it was a very slow process. It was through hard work and dedication that she has become the success that she is today. The first time that she actually felt that she had made it was when she did Peter O’Toole’s make-up. She said on meeting him that she found it quite comforting, because he was very nervous that day and it made her realise that everyone is nervous about what they are doing, so you have to keep going and keep doing it. She still enjoys the job and sometimes has to pinch herself when she is on a set in an exotic location. She has worked on films from Lassie, to Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, to Harry Potters, so I am sure she has seen a few! On creating a character, she says that it is usually a collaboration between the Make-up Artist, the Director and the Actor, although it is really about trying to convince them to do what you want :-). The products that she can’t live without are her grease palette and her skin illustrator and her brushes in particular the MAC foundation brush. For people starting out Jennifer would recommend taking up painting. If choosing a school, find out what the background is of the people you would be learning with.
Linda came to her career in a little bit of a different way. She was from a family that did hair and would have seen her mom make wigs for the Abbey. She is a fully trained hair dresser as well as a professional make-up artist. She found herself having to go abroad alot because the union in Ireland is quite restrictive and you can’t really do both. She is fluent in German and spent some time over there. Linda felt that she had really made it when she got to do a Deaf Leppard album cover, she had to turn the clean looking young men into 80s rock stars so lots of backcombing was required! Linda also mentioned is very aware that the women in the industry have missed out on family, that you have to try and strike the balance. She feels that she is a better mother when she is working. She was working with 21 women at the time of the talk and only 3 women out of that had a family.When asked what tools she couldn’t live with out, her immediate response was: Good brushes! When you are starting out Linda thinks you can’t beat being on set, try and get some work experienc. You will realise what it is really like and see what end you would like to go to.
They are both very warm people and it is easy to see that as well as their skill and talent that their personalities have brought them a long way too. They both touched on having the right personality for the job and being easy to work with and letting things go over your head. Also it is about knowing what battles to fight, when to take a bit more time doing a make-up and when to just let a bit of shine go…. Someone asked a question in the audience about whether they ever looked at another make-up artist’s work and said “what were they thinking” and they both agreed and said that they wouldn’t judge someone else’s work as you never know what kind of stress or what the circumstances were surrounding the job. Never a truer word was spoken! As a makeup artist if the day has run behind, you could sometimes be asked to do a make-up on set with the whole crew looking at you, when usually the make-up could take an hour to do normally!
It was a great talk and I hope that the Academy run more events like this in the future. It was great to meet fellow make-up artists and we got a free lippy to boot!