“We were in COVID and we were rolling into the Christmas season,” says Emmy nominee Bruce Grayson while discussing his opportunity to head up the makeup department for “Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special.” “When asked if we could pull something like this off in the deep COVID months of 2020 I thought, ‘Well, this would be cool not only because it would be an accomplishment to get the industry up and running, but also to create a TV special with Mariah Carey.’ She owns Christmas.” Watch the exclusive interview with Grayson and six-time Emmy winner James Mackinnon above.
The special premiered on Apple TV+ on December 4 with hopes of bringing Christmas cheer at the end of a year filled with heartache and uncertainty for many. It featured a large lineup of guest stars including Billy Eichner, Ariana Grande, Tiffany Haddish, Jennifer Hudson, Snoop Dogg and perhaps most importantly, Santa Claus! “I got the chance to do Santa Claus on the show so that was cool for me,” says Mackinnon.
“My favorite Christmas looks are when you walk into a gathering and you see those simple makeups,” explains Grayson. “It’s basically one element and maybe some rosy cheeks to represent the cold winter season. For us it was really about the simplicity, so the storyboards that we created were all maybe one or two focus points. For Mariah, Kristofer Buckle, who is an outstanding makeup artist, handled her. She had about four different significant changes. “
The Best Contemporary Makeup category is a catch-all for variety, nonfiction and reality programs. Grayson and Mackinnon were honored to be included among the nominees with four regular series: “Dancing With the Stars,” “Legendary,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “Saturday Night Live.” “We did a full contemporary makeup show,” says Mackinnon. “I think those other shows are mixing a little bit of character makeup into their field. Out of the 80-some odd submissions, to get dropped down to five and have it so beauty-oriented instead of having charactery-type looks as well, I’m pretty proud of that.”
This is Mackinnon’s 11th Emmy nomination to date. He has won six including three for “American Horror Story” and singular wins for “Nip/Tuck,” “Star Trek: Discovery” and “Star Trek: Picard.” Grayson has been nominated six times including three for makeup work on the Oscars and additional bids for “RENT” and “The Little Mermaid Live!” They share this nomination with their team consisting of Buckle, Angela Moos, Deborah Huss Humphries and Julie Socash.
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