Hey everyone! This week we sat down with our friend, IATSE Local 798 makeup artist Amanda Bianchi-Gaynor, to talk about her career, and what she needs to have in her kit to achieve the looks that her characters need for on-screen perfection. You've seen some of her work in Creed, House of Bodies, and will see it in upcoming productions like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Passengers, and Power of Air.
Frends: Amanda! Thanks for sitting down with us. Tell us how you got into professional makeup.
Amanda:I've been doing makeup for as long as I can remember. Growing up, tinkerbell and smackers were a must have, I would spend hours in the makeup aisles just looking at all the different brands and colors. I'd think hard about what I wanted to try, then beg my mom and dad for it. When I graduated high school, I decided to go to school for hair, but I quickly realized that it was not for me. After a few years of self-discovery, I ended up in a makeup school. That was a the game changer for me.
Frends: What are some of your greatest influences in art and life?
Amanda:I've always been drawn to film. I remember always sitting in the theaters waiting for the credits so I could see who did the makeup. Right when I got home, I'd research there work all night. I think I still have my binders of research somewhere! Old school, right?
Frends: What are three tips that you would give an upcoming artist who wants a career like yours?
Amanda: First - Always think before you talk, you never know who you are talking to or who they may know. You can't take your words back. It's taken me a long time to learn this career field isn't always about talent, don't change who you are but be mindful about who you are around. Second - Never get an attitude, be happy to be working (whether your getting paid or not)...and always be a team player. Third - Always think about whatever situation you're in. You may not always have everything you need but have to make it work. Try not to stress out and do the best you can with what you have. You have to be adaptable to different situations, and you have to be able to think on your feet.
Frends: Thanks for that Amanda! So let's get into the meat of this interview. Can you go through your kit and let us know what some of the must-have's are?
Makeup Case After hundreds of dollars and several bags, I've found that the Zuca Flyer works best for my current needs. Since I'm currently a freelancer in film and television and need to keep my footprint fairly small, I prefer to pack for the needs of each job. Being able to travel with my kit (it fits in the overhead) is also an added bonus for when I need to fly. I also have a Burton Double Decker for when I'm flying / traveling with more makeup.
Set bag My set bag is an essential part of my kit. I like to keep mine as organized and sanitary as possible. As many of you know, if we get a last looks, we don't get a lot of time, so being organized and knowing where everything is, is important. We're rarely near base camp / trailers / holding; therefore you must have everything you need to touch up your talent.
There are many staples that never leave my set bag. Individual eye drops, disposable lip wands, mascara wands, q-tips (various sizes), hand lotion, makeup remover, 99% and 70% alcohol, makeup wipes, Wet Ones, anti-shine, blot sheets, tear blower, sweat, blood jelly, flowing blood, tattoo pens, on-set palettes (light, dark, complexion, and dirt), Evian, tissues, hand sanitizer, deodorant wipes, chap stick, sponges, no-color pressed powder, sun screen, bug spray, razor, glue, concealer palette, mini fan, gum/mints, gloss, mirror, nail kit, and a palette knife are some of them. I know that sounds like a lot, but it's a necessity.
Then of course your actor bags or basics for background! I swear my set bag is like a Mary Poppins bag at times!!!
Cleaning Sanitation is a HUGE part of being a makeup artist. It's really important to keep an organized and sanitized kit. If you don't, you risk the very real potential of spreading diseases and infections. Gross! Nobody wants to be a part of that, or contribute to it.
Jao and Wet Ones are my go to for on-set cleaning. When you're mopping up sweat all day or making people dirty...clean hands are a must! To sanitize my powder products, I spray them with a light coat of Beauty So Clean. I'm also sure to wipe down all my palettes with alcohol. For my clippers, I use 70% alcohol and Oster Spray Disinfectant. Finally, every makeup artists FAVORITE job (insert eye roll)...cleaning brushes! For spot cleaning, I prefer to use Cinema Secrets Brush Cleaner. I feel it's the least greasy while leaving my brushes clean and smelling nice. However, if I'm able I always prefer to clean my brushes with London Brush Company soap.
Tools As a makeup artist, it's really important to invest in good quality tools and lighting. When I started out I bought the best that I could afford and have continued to upgrade as I've been able. The Makeup Light is a staple in my kit. Before it, I'm not really sure how I was able to work...it honestly makes a huge difference in the quality of my work! Currently, I'm loving London Brush Company brushes. They are so unbelievably soft and I get so many compliments from talent on how much they love them! Also, my Iwata Hi-Line...this is such a fantastic airbrush! Recently, I had to do a very detailed character makeup and since it has a built in mac valve I could go from a full spray to a fine spatter effect quickly all with one gun!
Foundations I'm always changing what I carry for bases. I really love to see skin look like skin. Depending on the character, I generally don't like seeing a lot of makeup on actors. I prefer to really focus on good skincare and use less base, however, we don't always get to fix the skin so knowing products is always a must! Currently, I'm loving Face Atelier, It Cosmetics CC, Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation and le Maquillage Professional.
Skincare As I said before skin care is a passion of mine. If you don't prep your skin correctly it can ruin the whole makeup. You really have to understand the base of what products your using and what type of skin your client / talent has.
Some favorites of mine right now are...
Chantecaille Ultra Sun Protection - this ultra sheer SPF50 is beautiful on all skin tones and layers well with foundations
Sonia Roselli Water Balm - instant hydration for the skin, a must have for every kit
Skinn Orchid Gel - fantastic for mattefying the skin
Terry Cellularose brightening CC Lumi-Serum - mutli-purpose product; you can mix with foundation...wear alone...the possibilities are endless and gives a beautiful glow to the skin
PPI Dry - I use under prosthetics or to prep skin when I know talent sweats
Talika Photo Hydra - beautiful hydration to the skin
I love mutli-purpose products! So of course Viseart 01 Matte palette is a must. Not only do I use this in my beauty kit, but in my fx work as well. Senna products are also are a staple in my kit. Not only am I a fan of her brushes (baby face is a must), but I love all the slip cover palettes! Fresh sugar lips are also a current favorite of mine. I'm not much of a lipstick fan...I like a natural look so these are perfect!!! Super Baldiez...I don't even know where to begin to express my love for this product. I feel every makeup artist should have it. Skin Illustrator palettes, Glazing Gels, and Glazing Sprays - a staple in every kit. I also love Encore (they smell amazing, weird I know) and Blue Bird Alcohol Palettes. Blue Bird also makes an old age that's a must have!
Besides these favorites, I always have the proper gear for location / weather, a phone charger, set chair, camera, and snacks / water. I'm sure I'm forgetting about a million things and my kit is ever changing but hopefully this helps!