Hair and Makeup Emmys Contenders on Creating COVID-Safe Looks

·5 min read

The pandemic couldn’t stop these artists’ creativity but required extra resourcefulness.

“Black-ish”(ABC)
NOMINATED FOR CONTEMPORARY HAIRSTYLING FOR SEASON 7, EPISODE 6, “OUR WEDDING DRE”

The hairstyles for the seventh season episode of “Black-ish,” entitled “Our Wedding Dre,” were highly detailed. Hair department head Nena Ross Davis went all out with “a multitude of styles that were all nice and intricate.”

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Ross Davis notes an increase in women wanting to wear natural and heat-protective styles, as well as braiding. She brought this into the episode through Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), whose look was “her natural hair styled in loose twists down and had a couple of cute buns at the bottom,” she recalls. “We did her hair with her braids going back in a nice little bun so she looked sleek in her suit.”

Since the episode was produced amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the cast had to constantly take masks and PPE on and off as they walked onto and then off set. This meant Ross Davis constantly had to “redo” their looks. But pushing through it all was important, especially to Stacey Morris, barber and Anthony Anderson’s stylist. “When we look at ‘Black-ish’ we’re looking at a family of people with styles and hair that look like us, like real people. It’s inspiring. It’s a big deal,” she says.

“Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special” (APPLE TV PLUS)
NOMINATED FOR VARIETY, NONFICTION, REALITY PROGRAM NON-PROSTHETIC MAKEUP

Apple TV Plus’ “Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special” festive holiday program lensed in October and was one of the first TV specials permitted to shoot in Los Angeles during the pandemic.

Head makeup artist Bruce Grayson created a socially distanced makeup area at the Los Angeles Convention Center so that performers each had their own vanity area. “I designed three different looks for the performances [and] we arranged 37 personal kits with all makeup needed, including a personal set of brushes,” he says.

Mare of Easttown” (HBO)
NOMINATED FOR CONTEMPORARY HAIRSTYLING AND CONTEMPORARY MAKEUP FOR EPISODE 6, “SORE MUST BE THE STORM”

Co-department head and key hairstylist Lawrence Davis, nominated for the sixth episode of HBO limited series “Mare of Easttown,” “Sore Must Be the Storm,” had to strike a balance between making “people look as normal as possible without looking too glamorous.”

And “normal” in Easttown meant having bad hair, which, he says, can be tricky to create. “There is a moment when you have to step away from the chair and say, ‘We are done,’” he says. “Your mind says ‘messy’ and your hands are fixing what appears to be messy.

Pose” (FX)
NOMINATED FOR CONTEMPORARY HAIRSTYLING AND CONTEMPORARY MAKEUP (NON-PROSTHETIC) FOR THE SERIES FINALE

Barry Lee Moe, “Pose’s” hair department head, and Sherri Berman Laurence, the FX drama’s makeup department head, both referenced “Paris Is Burning” and talked to members of the real-life ballroom community to ensure they accurately represented them for the series. The two-part series finale came with a little extra weight since it had them jumping into the future to showcase characters at more elevated places in their lives, as well as creating a water-filled homage to Diana Ross during a ball. “In the Diana Ross performance, Swarovski crystals of different colors and sizes covered Pray Tell’s lips and eyes, as well as Blanca’s Cupid’s bow,” Berman Laurence says. “We also had to waterproof the looks during the performance under pouring rain, which was incredible to see all come together.”

Adds Moe: “I built eight wigs for that moment. When Mj [Rodriguez] started spinning across the ballroom floor and the water went flying everywhere, we were all screaming with joy from the director’s village.”

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1)
NOMINATED FOR VARIETY, NONFICTION, REALITY PROGRAM HAIRSTYLING AND VARIETY, NONFICTION, REALITY PROGRAM NON-PROSTHETIC MAKEUP FOR “THE PORK CHOP”

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” hair department head Curtis Foreman notes pivoting to work in the pandemic was a challenge with many stores shuttered. That “added many more layers in the creative process, and it meant being very resourceful with what I was able to get,” he says. “During this time period, many shipping orders of products, materials and tools used to create were often delayed. Making sure, when received, that all of these items were used in a frugal manner and conservatively. Re-fronting wigs with materials I had previously saved was also very resourceful for me.

Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
NOMINATED FOR VARIETY, NONFICTION, REALITY PROGRAM NON-PROSTHETIC MAKEUP FOR “HOST: ELON MUSK” AND VARIETY, NONFICTION, REALITY PROGRAM HAIRSTYLING FOR “HOST: MAYA RUDOLPH”

Louie Zakarian, “Saturday Night Live’s” makeup department head created sanitary makeup kits, including beauty and SPFX materials, as well as disposables and brushes, for each cast member and host for the 46th season. The show returned to Studio 8H in New York City amid the pandemic after delivering a number of remotely produced shows the previous spring.

Jodi Mancuso, Department Head Hairstylist and Wig Designer, adds, “Season 46 was the year where our main goal was to be able to make our viewers laugh and forget their worries for over an hour.”

Getting the cast back together in person, and welcoming rotating guest hosts, such as Elon Musk, whose episode is Emmy-nominated in the variety, nonfiction, reality program non-prosthetic makeup category, meant pulling out all the stops. “We began to 3D scan hosts and cast,” Zakarian says. “The host or cast member could be scanned from a safe distance, never being touched, all done in under 10 minutes.”

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