Local 706 - The Artisan

Fall 2022

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THE ARTISAN FALL 2022 • 35 street, at the grocery store, or at a mall. When I thought about Bel-Air, I thought of the 1990s instantly. I didn't really have a visual of African descent people in Bel-Air in 2022 because no one talks about it, so we actually created something that isn't conventionally seen. For someone like Hilary's character, I looked online and at social media to get a collaboration of what's hot and what Los Angeles women are doing. I also conversed with the actors about how they felt, what they were comfortable with for their characters, and what vision they had. What were your biggest challenges this season? Denise: We had a scene in Philadelphia where one of the guys gets clocked in the eye and Morgan wanted to make sure that we used special contact lenses where it looked like the eye had subconjunctival hemorrhage because he wanted the audience to feel that intensity. The challenge was finding a doctor to test the eye of the actor because not everyone can wear contact lenses, plus we were under a time constraint. We couldn't find a doctor in Philly, with four days to get the job done, including having the lens designed, I was a little nervous to say the least. Finally, we were able to fly the actor back two days early and handle all of it in Los Angeles, which was a relief because if the director tells me it's something he really wants, it bothers me if I can't deliver. It was so rewarding when we were able to get the shot and Morgan loved it. Araxi: The most successful turning point for me was the creators dying for natural-textured hair on Aunt Viv. She's not of current trends. She's a mother, a wife, and an artist. She's authentic and natural and she wouldn't be concerned about making sure her hair is bone straight, she has fresh highlights, her edges are smooth or she's wearing a lace front wig. Shifting this character into a whole other transformation gave me a proud moment. Morgan Cooper was also very particular about using Alexa cam- eras known for capturing Black skin beautifully. How did that affect the make-up you were doing, Denise? Denise: It definitely affects make-up. I would say Alexa cameras are stellar and unequaled when it comes to natural color reproduc- tion—and image quality—especially for skin tones. We had two very good DPs who rotated from episode to episode and Morgan made sure that he had an excellent team that understood all of our different complexions. If the lighting isn't right on Black skin, you can tend to look very gray and dull. Key Make-up artist Keesh Winkler-Smith Top row, l-r: Denise Pugh-Ruiz with Jabari Banks; Ursula Simpson (3rd hair stylist); Bottom row: Araxi Lindsey (Dept. Head Hair); Jimmy Akingbola with Tayari Edwards (key hair/barber). What were some of your favorite products to use over the course of the season? Denise: Some of my favorite products that I used on many of the cast members throughout the season were foundations from Make Up For Ever, Anastasia, Mac, Nars, Maybelline, and Fenty; conceal- ers from NYX, Anastasia, and Trape; powders from Make Up For Ever, Iman and Mac; mascaras from Maybelline Volum, L'Oreal and Cover Girl; lip colors from Danessa Myricks and the Anastasia Pro Lip Palette and Urban Decay's All Nighter setting spray. It sounds like having a team that understood Black skin and hair across the board made a huge impact. Have you begun to notice a shift in the industry? Denise: Yes, for sure. I applaud the producers and Peacock for reaching out to us as Black department heads. In the past, mostly we would come on board as the key make-up or third in command. I think it's always been misunder- stood. It's not so much of a race issue but culture. I also think diversity is important especially since the number of ethnic minorities involved in making American movies and TV shows has increased. It's a wonderful feeling to know that my talents are not being passed over because I'm a woman of color. I was welcomed with open arms to the beautiful show Bel-Air. •

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