My latest 'Meet The Artists' is with the wonderful Kelley Mitchell, Makeup Department Head for the hugely popular hit TV show 'Glee'.  Kelley has worked on big hollywood movies like Movie 43, My Sisters Keeper (cried my eyes out!), Oceans 13, Sin City and Passion Of The Christ. I am thrilled Kelley took time to speak to me and share her career path and stories, and as always I get her to share some of her pro tips.
Snapshot of Kelley's career

MANW: How did you start your career and what was the progression it took?
KM: I went to a school for musical theatre and took a stage makeup class, it didn't dawn on me until years later that I could do it as a career. I went to a small makeup school to get started and then jumped into independent films. It took me 6 years to get in the makeup union.

MANW: You mainly work in TV and movies, including some special effects makeup. Did you ever want to work in fashion or beauty?
KM: I love to try everything makeup-wise but I do love film & TV, it's such a collaboration and you become very close with your other crew members. That's also what I loved about doing theatre.

MANW: Do you have a preference for the type of jobs and make-ups you like to do, and do you prefer straight or effects makeup?
KM: Comedies are always fun to work on and I love doing both types of makeup, straight and FX. I love doing beauty but there's always something rewarding when you've pulled off a good character or FX look. 

MANW: What is the process of creating character looks and how much say do you have in the designs?
KM: It always depends on the project & on the actor. On Glee Ryan Murphy was pretty specific in the beginning and now that the look of the show is set he will chime in on certain looks or characters when he has an idea. He has an impeccable eye. On most projects you have a conversation with both the actor & the director (and often do a makeup test) and hope to bring it all together to make everyone happy.

MANW: You have worked on some legendary shows and movies like Glee, Oceans 13, Sin City, My Sisters Keeper (cant even type the name without welling up).. can you tell us about some of the stand out moments of your career?
KM: There have been a lot! One of my first jobs after getting in the union was as the Key Makeup Artist on a movie George Clooney directed called Leatherheads which was exciting enough in itself but on it I got to work with John Krasinski, who I was a big fan of. We hit it off & now we've done several projects together. Also, getting nominated for an Emmy for season 3 of Glee was special because it was my first season as department head having been the Key Makeup Artist for the first 2. Shirley MacClaine recently tweeted that her favorite thing about her Glee character was her hair, makeup & wardrobe, that was pretty exciting. Actually Glee has been such a big highlight because in addition to working with a cast and crew I love & getting to do big, fun makeups all the time I've gotten to work with some amazing guest stars like Shirley MacClaine, Kate Hudson & Kristen Schaal. And how often can you say you got to make Jane Lynch up to look like Madonna or Nikki Minaj?

MANW: You've been in the industry a long time, how do you think it has differed and what advice would you give to new artists starting out?
KM: I've been a makeup artist for 14 years which, in the grand scheme of things, isn't that long. Other makeup artists will tell me stories of life on set before cell phones & that's hard for me to imagine given how quickly & how often things change at Glee. I'll leave set at night & get a call on my way home that the entire call sheet has changed for the next morning. But even since I've been working the industry has really changed a lot, from technology in every aspect (makeup, camera, lighting, etc) to the formats of how people view entertainment now, when I started no one watched anything on the internet. With the invention of HD I think (hope) the stigma of movie makeup artists vs TV makeup artists has changed, before people watched shows on much lower quality televisions with much smaller screens.. now you see every pore. The main thing I can say to new artists is stay on top of your craft; keep taking classes, talk to other artists and search out new products, you have to evolve.

MANW: All artists have 'the wish list'; a face they would love to work on or a show or film they would have loved to have worked on. My current ones are American Horror Story (amazing makeup by Eryn Krueger) and Nashville (I'm obsessed with the country glamour and Connie Britton's hair). Who or what are yours?
KM: Well, I don't blame you about AHS. I highly recommend working with Eryn Krueger Mekash if you get the chance! She's the best boss, the greatest friend & so insanely talented. As for me, I think it would have been a blast to work on Alias with all Jennifer Garner's crazy undercover looks. Or Moulin Rouge. Or Harry Potter.

MANW: On to the good stuff, what are your tricks for flawless looking skin?
KM: I learned a really crazy trick last year & now I do it on almost everyone: if you have oily skin & have a hard time keeping makeup on brush a light layer of Milk of Magnesia on before foundation. Let it dry for a few minutes & don't worry if it turns white (I've even done this on African American skin). Once you put your foundation on it will go away. Your makeup will last all day & it really controls the oil. The best part is it also helps prevent breakouts.

MANW: What are your top 5 holy grail kit products?
KM: I love love love Koh Gen Do Gommage Gel, it exfoliates your skin like nothing else & is even safe for my rosacea skin because it's non-abrasive. My top 3 foundations are Makeup Forever HD foundation, Armani Luminous Silk, & Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation. I love Julie Hewett's red lipsticks & Cheekies. Makeup Forever Eye Prime is great. Colorescience's powder sunscreens are great when you've been shooting for hours & need to reapply without having to redo foundation after.

MANW: What's your best make-up artist tip to give women?
KM: Nothing bothers me more than when the neck doesn't match the face. Blend your foundation down past the jawline & maybe even brush a light layer of bronzer on your neck if you need to.

MANW: Finally, false eyelashes - the longer the better or enough already they look ridiculous?
KM: Oh, I love them, you just need the right look for the right occasion.

You can find out more about Kelley's work on her IMDB page or follow 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 series here.

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