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Friday, February 29, 2008

Periodic Style Exclusive: Interview with Julie Teel, NYC Make-Up Artist, Part I

Isn't it amazing what a little Googling can do? While researching Gossip Girl beauty, I thought, why not go to the source? I looked at the make-up artists listed on the IMDb page for Gossip Girl and got to Googling.

And that's how I found Julie Teel, a New York-based make-up artist who's worked not only on Gossip Girl, but some other amazing projects as well.

Julie was kind enough to answer some of my questions about being a make-up artist, some of her projects, and to give us some great advice to share with our readers; thank you, Julie!

How do you typically get an artist job for a TV show/film? Is it based on networking, your portfolio, etc.? Is there an interview process?

Once you've "gotten into the circle", it's a small matter of networking and mostly hard work. Proving that you've got the skills and the ability to follow through on the requirements of the particular job is the trick to maintaining your presence. Interviews do happen when new projects start up. It's fairly harmless... meeting with some of the higher-ups and other established creatives on the team, ie: the producer/s, director, costume designer... making sure there is a chemistry. It may be required to show a body of work via portfolio or reel, so it is always a good thing to keep it up-to-date. Other jobs are attained through re-hiring... being brought on via producer/director or actor request. This happens a lot. Loyalty is quite rampant, which is a good thing!

Have you noticed a difference in what's required of you since the rise of HD for film/TV? Does this change the products used, the techniques, etc.?

Personally, this change doesn't affect me. I have a fine arts background & started out in fashion, doing photoshoots & model portfolios -- I am very detail oriented, and my style of make-up is clean and wearable for everyday even if it is dramatic. I like to show skin or, at the very least, make it look as if my client/actor is not wearing lots even if it is the contrary, so blending and matching skin tone is very important. There has been a push for using airbrush but I don't think it's the end all be all, only for certain fantasy looks, special effects and body make-up. Plus, there have been great improvements in the cosmetic industry. I'm always looking at what's new but I always seem to go back to many of the products I've used for years. So, it's all in the wrist! Making the most of what you have and BLENDING BLENDING BLENDING.

For Gossip Girl, are the make-up looks based more on characterization (for example, heavier eyeliner for former-bad-girl Serena) or on what flatters the actresses? Are the looks sketched out in advance on face charts, or adapted as the actress is being worked on?

Looks are designed based on character and the changes that that character may go through. Also, the comfort level (working with their personal requirements to feel camera ready... seasoned actors will know what works for them since the camera can change their proportions and features they will have learned the TWEAKING TRICKS for these quirks that are not immediately visible upon meeting) of the actor is taken into consideration and the approval of the director and other higher-ups may be required (so it can be a bit of a battle and artistic differences may be had).

Some looks are sketched out beforehand, especially if it more fantasy or special effects related . Also, there is usually a camera test to determine and get closer to finalizing the look of the character. And in that, it may still take a few episodes to really finalize it.

What are some of the products/brands used for some of the looks for Blair and Serena in Gossip Girl? (Particularly in regards to lips and eyes, but blush/bronzer too!)

Because I have only worked on 2 episodes and as an additional (no credit), I have not done those particular actors' make-up (it would be the key make-up or second who would do the Principle actors from scratch -- I was working on Canterbury's Law so I was only available for a few episodes toward the end, before the writers strike... bleh.), only touch-ups... and I don't even remember what was in their bags! So I suppose my answer to that is N/A, sorry... Although, the products I have seen floating around the set are definitely available and easily accessed by the public.

Would you consider those products easy for a regular girl with a regular budget to get access to (for example, brands that are available at Sephora or department stores)? If not, what would be your suggestions for recreating these looks?

Definitely accessible. You can even recreate looks via products purchased from the drugstore and other department stores, ie: Target, Wal-mart... etc. Pick and choose what is the most important item and spend your money accordingly.

Check back next week for Julie's list of must-have beauty products, and don't forget to check out Julie's portfolio at JulieTMakeup.com!!

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