As Department head of one my favourite TV shows, Sons of Anarchy, I am very excited about this interview. Tracey Anderson is a fantastic makeup artist and her work on SOA is excellent, every episode I am engrossed in the makeup and effects as much I am hooked on the drama. Tracey has had a varied and eclectic career; she worked on tons of music videos (Bon Jovi, 50 Cent, Nelly, Outkast, Robbie Williams) and commercials for major companies (Verizon, Time Warner Cable, Sears, Canon, Sprite, Nike, Pepsi). She ended up working on numerous TV shows like American Idol, The Sharon Osbourne show, The Voice and then The Shield which led to Department heading Sons of Anarchy where she has been since 2008. I am thrilled Tracey talked to me about her career, the Sons of Anarchy makeup room, and that she shared some of her professional tips for everyone.

MANW: How did you start your career and what was the progression it took?

TA: I started my career in New York City when my friend, Maryse Felix, said she thought I had the personality of a makeup artist. Funny right? She wanted me as an assistant because I am easy to work with and I don't have an ego, I am all about the work. She brought me in to train me and found out I was a natural and I was put to work right away. 

MANW: You mainly design make-up for TV shows, did you ever want to work in fashion or beauty or on features?

TA: I have worked in all mediums of makeup artistry and hair styling. For many years I became known in the music video world as an African American hair stylist because of my proficiency with the marcel iron ovens. I love working on music videos, they are like mini art pieces but print and fashion just didn't click. I love and respect the work but my personality is perhaps too under the radar to shine in those fields. I also am terrible at self promotion. But feature films ....YES PLEASE!

MANW: You do both hair and makeup and both straight and effects makeup. Do you have a preference for the type of jobs and make-ups you like to do, ie: TV shows, blood and effects, red carpets or magazine shoots?

TA: I find beauty makeup, like the extreme beauty for live stage like on The Voice, to be the most challenging and rewarding. When I finish a gruesome makeup and the actor arrives to set and the crew freaks out, I find this moment the most gratifying. If an actor shows up with a skin condition and I fix it so it disappears even in hi def this is a triumph. Creating a period hair style on an actor with a modern day haircut and it works is a great feeling. Looking at the monitor during a photo shoot and without retouching your model looks of another world, there's that. So I figure I always find this job rewarding! 

MANW: As a makeup department head what is the process of creating a characters look and how much say do you have in the designs? 

TA: There are certain directors who know the exact image they have in mind like when Steven Kay had us crush Hale's head (in SOA). We went through several mock ups with WM Creations (makeup effects co.) until the almost cartoon/Japanese film style crushed skull was achieved. When we created the Nero characters tattoos I was only given information about his gang icons and that he was in jail at a certain age. I spoke with Jimmy Smits about what he felt his character had been through in his life and I went from there with my saint based tattoos. When Dave Navarro was cast as Arcadio I knew I had to OG him up and de-rock star. I added a scar, scraped off his gel nails, took off a few of his tattoos around the collar bone. 

MANW: How much do logisitcal issues come into play with character designs and how do you keep character continuity with heavy/intricate effects? (I image that's an issue with tattoos on SOA?
TA: We have a method of continuity that accommodates every aspect of past wounds, present wounds and all tattoos. Michelle Garbin created continuity sheets that chart the body and all notations. Tattoos are applied to match with freckles or real scars as guide lines as the actors grow and shrink...as they do for shirtless scenes, we fudge them a bit. 

MANW: You have worked on many successful TV Shows and many famous faces before your current role as Makeup Department Head on one of my favourite shows, Sons Of Anarchy. Can you tell us about some of the stand out moments of your career?

TA: I worked for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for their archives, doing makeup and hair. Academy members were interviewed about their inspirations and beginning in film. Sitting in the room during these interviews with honored actors, makeup artists, editors, directors, costumers and composers of our time.. that was life changing. 

MANW: All artists have 'the wish list'; a face or show they would have loved to have worked on. Mine is the show Nashville, I love the mix of the country music glamour and toughness, and I've had a crush on Sons of Anarchy makeup since I started watching it right from the beginning..the tattoos and effects are excellent. Who or what are yours?

TA: My god, I want to work with the Cohen brothers. I would also love I work on Kurt Sutter's upcoming pilot!

MANW: On to the good stuff, what are your tricks for flawless looking skin?
TA: Flawless skin, that's easy. Murad hydro-dynamic ultimate moisture, Makeup Forever all mat primer, YSL perfect touch foundation, Koh Gen Do foundations, YSL semi loose powder, YSL touch√© √©clat 

MANW: What are your top 5 holy grail kit products? 

TA: For beauty the things I named above and add Stila Smudgestick waterproof eyeliner and Makeup Forever Smokey Lash. For fx; WM Creations super mat spirit gum, Vivid MD satin cleanser to take off, Makeup Forever full cover concealer for tattoo cover, My Blood hd red and of course an array of WM Creations, illustrator and blue bird pallets. 

MANW: What's your best make-up artist tip to give women? 

TA: If you feel pretty and comfortable in the makeup or no makeup look you created, that's all that matters. There is no right or wrong. 

MANW: Finally, false eyelashes - the longer the better or enough already they look ridiculous?

TA: Um, I wear the double lash strips from eylure every time I go out on the town. If you can put them on straight and hugging the lash line, who cares, go for it! 

Find out more about Tracey Anderson on her IMDB page or chat to her on Twitter.

If you liked this interview and would like to read other leading industry makeup artists stories have a look at the rest of the 'Meet The Artist' series here.

You can follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here (@anniemakeup).

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