Eryn Kreuger Mekash Interview: ‘Hollywood’ makeup artist
Emmy-winning makeup artist and producer Eryn Kreuger Mekash had her work cut out for her on the Netflix limited series “Hollywood.” With the task of designing makeup for not only the fictional characters but some well known real Hollywood figures, and coordinating all of that with the various department heads. “Actors have to be comfortable in what they’re wearing as well and I think that a lot of it happens when you finally get the whole look on, you get the hair done, the makeup done, the costumes together and then you say, ‘Oh, we’re in that time period,'” Mekash says in an exclusive new interview with Gold Derby. Watch the full video interview above.
Designing makeup for the women of “Hollywood” meant a lot of bold red lipstick, especially for characters like Avis (Patti LuPone), Camille (Laura Harrier) and Claire (Samara Weaving). For Avis, Mekash explains, “We wanted to pull in a little bit of deeper tones to her lipstick, which is something that she would’ve really still worn at that time. We wanted her to be very put together and very glamorous and I think we achieved that.” She adds that the amount of red lipstick we see reflects the post-World War II optimism in 1947. “We started off with red lipsticks anyway and with Laura, we moved into this much more glamorous, put-together look as she became the star and the award winner that she always knew that she would be,” Mekash describes, of Camille. For Claire, the designer states: “‘Hollywood’ is a very warm-toned show so we knew that Samara was going to be wearing a lot of warm tones including red. It lends to that optimism and she’s also led a very optimistic and wealthy life.”
Then there were the men, with actors like Jake Picking and Jim Parsons having to transform into real-life figures Rock Hudson and Henry Willson. Crafting Picking into Hudson was a particular challenge. “A lot of people don’t know that he’s wearing ears, a nose, eyelids and a lower lip and later he wears teeth,” Mekash reveals, a full six pieces of silicone makeup. There was quite a bit of attention given to making the men look just as glitzy as the women. “There’s a lot of upkeep with men shaving and I think that also lends to the beauty of the show is that the men are all wearing a little bit of makeup to make them look very glamorous as well,” Mekash discusses, “so they look very matte and sun-kissed.”
Mekash has won eight Emmys for her work on Ryan Murphy productions, seven for her makeup work and another for producing. When she looks back on her wins, she is most proud of her very first, for the 2014 TV movie “The Normal Heart,” about the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. “It was an incredible project to work on,” she recalls. “The cast was amazing and fun, the acting was incredible. I really felt so rewarded from that project.”