Hollywood Makeup Artist: makeup counter to Oscars

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Do you ever stay for the credits at the end of a film? Most don’t, but I do. And for one very good reason. My younger sister, LuAnn Claps.

Makeup 200When she was a young girl, and unbeknownst to me at the time, she would go into my bathroom after I had left for a date and play with my makeup, which I sloppily left spread out on the vanity. She was, and is still very neat and organized, so I never had a clue that those sweet little fingers of hers where actually making their way into my private stash and on to her beautiful face while I was out for the evening. I should have realized something was up because all of the caps and tubes that I left opened were neatly put back and organized. I just thought it was our mother cleaning up after me.

Gere in Chicago 200Fast forward several decades and that same little sister—who went from the makeup counter at the original Saks Fifth Avenue, to TV soap operas, to Saturday Night Live, to a couple of Broadway shows (to keep her legit)—is now an A-list makeup artist on feature films. Among her clients are award-winning actors including Richard Gere, with whom she has worked since 2000 as his personal make-up artist. Her work on his films can been seen in 2002’s Chicago, for which Gere won the Golden Globe as Best Actor in a Musical, as well as sharing in a SAG Award for Best Cast. That year, Chicago led with 13 nominations and won six, including Catherine Zeta Jones as Best Supporting Actress. She also was the makeup artist for Arbitrage, co-starring Susan Sarandon, for which Gere was nominated for a Golden Globe; Unfaithful co-starring Diane Lane (she nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Actress); and The Hoax for which he was nominated for a Satellite Award for Best Actor.

Great Gatsby 200However, Gere is not the only award-winning actor she has made look beautiful. There’s also Jodie Foster, Joaquin Phoenix, Juliette Binoche, Robin Wright and Joan Allen, to name a few. She has also worked with some of the best directors in the business including Ang Lee, Rob Marshall, Lasse Hallström, and Mira Nair. Did you catch The Great Gatsby last year? She worked in Australia with Aussie director, screenwriter, and producer Baz Luhrmann during the filming of Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio, one of this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Actor in The Wolf of Wall Street.

Leo in Gatsby 200LuAnn was brought to Oz as personal makeup artist to Tobey Maguire, whom she calls a pure delight. “It was a great experience. He’s another wonderful actor and a lot of fun to be around,” she says. It was on this film that she got a bird’s eye view of DiCaprio playing Jay Gatsby. “It was wonderful to watch Leo work,” LuAnn says. “He is an amazingly gifted actor, and to see him bring this most iconic character from classic American literature to life was one of the biggest treats of my 20-year career.”

Having the opportunity to work with Luhrmann, best known for Moulin Rouge with Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman, was a thrill for her. “To work in Australia was fascinating. I’m very interested in that visual part of filmmaking and being able to learn from someone like Baz, whose work I always have admired, was an opportunity of a lifetime. There is always a learning curve on the best films provided by the directors and cinematographers that allows me to grow my abilities and expand my level of creativity.”

LuAnn 200Her career, which includes feature film, television, commercials, and theater, has taken her around the globe and back. The experience and knowledge she has gained has been, and continues to be, immeasurable. “I find great satisfaction working in all aspects of makeup—from beauty to character to Special F/X,” she says.

So, the next time you go to the movies, don’t make a dash for the exit at the end of the film. Hang around and give two thumbs up to those professionals behind the scenes who are toiling to make sure those Hollywood stars are ready for their close-ups.

To learn more about LuAnn, check out her website.

Image Credits:

Richard Gere in Chicago: https://gallerytheimage.com/shop/posters/movie/mov02162-chicago-richard-gere-billy-flynn and http://movies.ndtv.com/hollywood/richard-gere-tough-guy-on-set-wife-in-control-at-home-393059

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby: http://www.ruthlessreviews.com/14756/the-great-gatsby-movie-review/

The Great Gatsby: http://fontsinuse.com/uses/3734/the-great-gatsby-2013-film-promotion and http://blog.indiereign.com/new-trailer-the-great-gatsby/

LuAnn Claps: courtesy of Carole Claps

Makeup: http://www.whydidyouwearthat.com/tag/nails-inc/

has been in the business of show business for more than 25 years having been the go-to person for press and marketing at leading regional theaters and for independent producers of stage and screen, including the late 20th Century Fox producer, Henry Weinstein. Claps was the on-air theater critic for local cable television, and senior arts editor for 10 Connecticut newspapers for which she was the recipient of numerous national and regional awards for her writing and layout design. Having spent the better part of the last decade working in New York City for Fortune 500 companies, she is glad to be back home, working locally and volunteering at area nonprofit arts organizations.

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