Until Death Do Us Part - Jonas

Khamis, Februari 12, 2009

#103. Face of another

12th February, 2009
New Straits Times
Zuhaila Sedek

photo: Lori Hicks

ZUHAILA SEDEK meets one of Hollywood’s prominent make-up artists and discovers why the art is central to fleshing out a movie’s character personalities.
IF you have seen the Charlize Theron movie Monster, you would agree that make-up can transform looks completely. Compare Theron’s red carpet glam appearance to that of the vicious killer in the movie.

Really, you can look like whoever you want to with just make-up.

And those blessed with the skills to transform faces can earn a good living. Hollywood make-up artist Lori Hicks certainly has the ability to effect dramatic changes. Hicks sees make-up artistry as her medium for expressing her love for art.

Armed with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Hicks works with studios that allow her to collaborate with various directors and actors.
“It wasn’t so much a natural progression into make-up, but a natural progression into film. I love creating characters and looks,” she said.

Hicks has worked with renowned Hollywood directors such as David Mamet, Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen, and made-up many of Hollywood’s leading ladies and men, including Jennifer Connelly, Renee Zellweger, Diane Lane, Kristin Scott Thomas, Robert Downey Jr, Joaquin Phoenix and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers.

“I am fortunate to be able to travel to some of the most incredible locations to witness the process of filmmaking,” said Hicks, who hails from Pennsylvania, the US.

“It is such a wonderful experience to collaborate with all the departments to bring ideas, characters and stories to life, artistically,” she added.

The Hicks story began in 1990 when she was working on such independent films as John Sayles’ Lone Star and David O’Russell’s Flirting with Disaster. She later moved to major studio films and is currently working on Disney’s Confessions of a Shopaholic and When In Rome.

Confessions, she said, was a particularly exciting project because it has a big all-star cast and “it's a really fun and stylish production. With so many different characters, the director, producer, costume designer, hairstylists, actors and I gave input on the looks that we eventually settled on.”

For Kristin Scott Thomas, who plays a top French fashion editor-in-chief, Hicks created a chic look with red lips, while keeping the skin clean and eyes simple.

“Then there’s Joan Cusack’s character Jane Bloomwood, lead character Rebecca’s (played by Isla Fisher) mother, who’s been keeping the same beauty routine for most of her life. I made the look a bit dated, with a 1980s eye lining style.”

She also had fun with Leslie Bibb’s character, Alicia.

“Her costumes are more vixen-like and dominatrix in style so we created a harsher, sexy look for her with dramatic, smokey eyes and pale lips. For Lynn Redgrave, who falls into the socialite category, we created a beautiful, classic look.”

Hicks emphasises the artistic value of her make-up and also feels that the products she uses are important. One of her favourite brands is La Mer.

“(Actress) Tèa Leoni introduced me to Crëme de La Mer when we worked together on the set of Woody Allen's Hollywood Ending. Tèa requested me to use Crëme de La Mer on her and that's when I fell in the love with the entire line,” Hicks said.

“I started using La Mer’s Skincolor Treatment foundations and powder on Confessions,” she added.

“My recommendations for the actors I work with vary. It depends on their skin type, age, season and personal preferences. I use different brands to accommodate the skincare issues,” Hicks explained.

“The actors like that I invest in using the best products on their skin, which help them look their best especially when their faces are blown up in high definition for movies,” she said.

What Hicks enjoys most about working in movies is the process of understanding a character and developing the appropriate look.

“We usually start with the clothes and hairstyles. Once these are determined, the make-up style follows naturally,” Hicks said.

She believes that flexibility is the key to the uniqueness in each look that she creates.

“Sometimes my initial idea doesn’t work and I find myself having to change as I go along. We usually have some prep time to experiment with wardrobe, hair and make-up.

“There is some room to really create unique looks for each character. Occasionally I’d make some necessary changes as the film is shot if there is a need to rethink the looks and play up the personality of a character,” she said.

As she talks shop, one can tell that she knows her business in and out.

She shares a tip with make-up lovers out there, and that is: “Don’t leave home without a lip balm and concealer.”

The lip balm, she confessed, is her best friend!

“I think every woman should have a good concealer — which is especially great for the under-eye area and to cover stressed skin, and lip balm, to keep the lips moist,” she continued.

With make-up the norm with women nowadays, shopping for the right beauty products may not be easy.

“Even after years as a make-up artist, I find it overwhelming when I shop for beauty products,” she reflects.

“I always ask for samples of any new product before purchasing and many beauty counters offer them,” she says.

“It’s also good to have an idea of what you want to buy before you get to the counter. That way you can be focused and not get caught up in the moment.”

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