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Hair And Makeup Artist Take Center Stage In Atlanta

Tym Buacharern (far right) describes working on set during the Makeup Panel. Additional panelists from right to left: Rose Chatterton, Vivian Baker, Beverly Jo Pryor, Vera Steimberg and moderator Marjorie Galas. Photo courtesy: Criterion Group

By: Marjorie Galas

May rolled into Georgia with waves of thunder and intermittent downpours. The soggy weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the crowd gathered at Atlanta’s SCADshow Theater, however.  Attending the city’s first “Hair and Makeup By.. A Symposium of Film and Television Artists” – a daylong event presented by The Criterion Group, the participants spent May 1st, 2016 soaking up information from panels and masterclasses featuring A-listers of the craft.

Many of the featured guests have spent months, if not years, working on Atlanta based productions.  Throughout the day they were able to highlight “need to know” local facilities, such as The Engineer Guy – a master class sponsor that supplies a wealth of material, from beauty makeup and tools to rubber and resins required for prosthetic creations.  They also recommended websites, such as the Georgia Film Commission, that post information about networking events, job opportunities and local productions.

The symposium kicked off with a panel including hair artists Daniel Curet (Sleepy Hollow, Salem), Camille Friend (Captain America 3, The Guardians of the Galaxy 2), Melissa Forney (Selma, Empire), Darrin “D.L.” Lyons, barber to Sean Combs and Ray Lewis, Conrad Hilton, barber to Jamie Foxx and Mike Epps, and Stacey Kutz, barber to Ron Perlman and The Rock.  Each panelist emerged from humble beginnings, working in salons and cutting hair for family and friends while perfecting their skills.  Many cut hair for free as they were on the rise, and always maintained professionalism.   They shared stories about their entry into the professional world and described the mentors they developed who not only helped them learn, but helped them make connections that solidified their careers.  While the barbers on the panel admitted to being active in social media, every hair stylist agreed refraining from posting personal content to their pages was crucial to maintaining their professional image.  Most of the panelists, including Kutz, use social sites such as Instagram as marketing tools.

“This isn’t about getting thousands of likes.  You have to think about yourself as a brand, and how you want people to see you as that brand,” said Kutz.

The hair panel also touched upon the importance of collaborating with makeup artists.  This point was mirrored by artists Vivian Baker (Jurassic World, Guardians of the Galaxy 2), Tym Buacharern (“So You Think You Can Dance”, “House of Lies”), Beverly Jo Pryor (The Vampire Diaries, Empire) and Vera Steimberg (Death at a Funeral, personal artist to Zoe Saldana).  Joined by Rose Chatterton, President of Local 798 –Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists Union – the group discussed the type of jobs one can amass to help obtain credits needed for union admittance.  Chatterton also stressed the comradery that forms amongst union members that aids in obtaining jobs and referrals.  Continuing on the theme of collaboration, the group discussed working with the DPs and ADs on set.

“The director of photography is always the first person I speak with,” said Pryor.  “You save a lot of time this way by learning about the vision they share with the director, angles, lighting.  Camera tests save time.  You go through these steps so you don’t waste time on set.”

Throughout the panels the artists emphasized the importance of a well-stocked and sanitary kit and the ability to work with teams while on set.  These practices were fully exhibited during the master classes presented throughout the afternoon.  Steimberg and Curet”Back to Basics” masterclass emphasized classic techniques as illustrated through a demo using show organizers Susan Wright and Alicia De Anda as models.  Curet performed a 70s blowout style on Wright’s long hair, while Steimberg created a natural look for De Anda’s highlighting her bone structure and  features.

“I’m going light on her eyes because I want to bring out the natural shape of her lips with a bright red,” said Steimberg.  “You don’t want to make both the eyes and the lips pop, you want to make a point of emphasis, otherwise it is too much.”

Pryor and Forney, who work together on “Empire,” illustrated the tag team approach they often utilize on set.  Bringing two additional team members each, the six team members carefully danced around each other, highlighting ways they maintain safety not only for themselves but for the actors as well.

“When she’s working on the eyes I never pull hair from the front, you don’t want to do anything that may jar her hand or tools into the eyes,” said Forney.

The barbers provided a demonstration of a new technique they’ve been perfecting.  Making their own blend of glue, they’ve been able to add synthetic or real hair to scalps and facial areas, including side burns and beards.  After fully shaving a male head, Hilton built up a three inch high Mohawk to the crowd’s amazement.

Friend and Buacharern gave the last masterclass that featured a blond wig application on dark hair and dramatic makeup.  Throughout the course of transforming the model, Buacharern warned against over-applying colors.

“You want to go along the contours and blend the colors.  We’re not going for the look of a drag queen; you can be dramatic but still maintain a natural finish,” said Buacharern.

To learn more about The Criterion Group and future “Hair and Makeup By…A Symposium of Film and Television Artists” events, please visit: