by Daryle Dickens
We live in a perfect world full of perfect people. At least we are being sold a perfect world through magazines, television, and movies. But when I look around I don't see the perfect people on the street that I see in the glossy photographs on the covers of the magazines. Those people had some help, okay, a lot of help to look that good. A lot of creative energy goes into a magazine photoshoot. Wardrobe, lighting, hairstylist, photographer, and of course the make-up artist. And that is who we are here to talk to today. I met Diana via MySpace and sat down over a cup of coffee to talk to her about her art
ZAF622: Do you do any work in motion pictures or is it mostly still photography?
Diana Laree: Mostly photography. I have done television and video work but not any movies, yet. Working with photographers is the core of what I do.
ZAF: How did you end up a make-up artist?
DL: My mom is a cosmetologist and a model, so I grew up in that whole girlie make-up thing. In high school I worked in a cosmetic store so I got even more into it. I learned how to do make-overs. I thought about doing more theatrical but then as I started doing that I realized that I liked glamor more. I then studied one on one with a celebrity make-up artist from California. Then just did a whole bunch of practice. Lots and lots of practice. My family knows about this. My husband and my sons were good for trying a new look. They have been very good.
ZAF: Is make-up for photography as exaggerated as theater make-up?
DL: Make-up for photography is exaggerated but not as much as theater. For instance my driver's license picture is good this year. I went into the DMV looking like some Gothic freak, but the picture turned out looking good. You basically do the same thing you would for an everyday look except everything is darker and brighter and more extreme. It is right between everyday make-up and theater make-up.
ZAF: Are you able to keep busy as a make-up artist in Colorado?
DL: Too busy. There are a lot of photographers who are constantly working on their portfolios so I work with them. And there are lots of fashions shows. I feel I could do a fashion show everyday. I would never be home. I have done weddings but that is too stressful so I try not to do them.
ZAF: Do you work out of a studio?
DL: I always go where ever I am needed. I have lots of little versions of everything. I drive a lot. A lot. I work in pretty much all of Colorado.
ZAF: Where does the art come in?
DL: Make-up is about bringing out the strength of a person's look and drawing the viewer away from the weakness. For example, I worked on a very unique eye recently. It just did not do what a normal eye would do. I know that sounds funny. But I tried things and it just did not look right. I ended up having to be very creative to make this eye work and look good. But to be honest a lot of the time a photographer just knows the look they want and I do that. That does not feel very artistic. It is when they say give me something different or new that I feel artistic. I just did a shoot for 303 and they requested red eyes and black lips,the opposite of what is expected. That was nice it turned out really good. It is a lot like painting. A lot of blending and contouring, stuff like that.
ZAF: What about the challenges you run into?
DL: In my experience it has been things like it is 105 degrees outside, upstairs, all windows, no air conditioner, and I am trying to make someone look good when they are sweating horribly.
ZAF: When it comes to tools you use, are there set brands that you must have?
DL: I will use what works. From the cheapest 99 cent products up to the most expensive things out there. A lot of them work the same. Though there are some stuff where cost makes a difference. There are some "best brands" though that I absolute hate. It is about finding what I work best with. And I do have my secrets, so we'll leave it there.
ZAF: Have you worked with any celebrities?
DL: Yes, kinda, no one really really big, but yes.
ZAF: Was it scary?
DL: At first yes. They I realize they have pimples too. And they are so nice. So leading up to it I was scared to death, sick to my stomach, then I find out they are just people.
ZAF: Are you able to sustain yourself with your work?
DL: It is supplemental income. And it is good that way. I don't feel pressured to do work that I don't want to. Though I still have trouble balancing my work life and my home life. It always seems like work is taking over. I have a hard time saying "no." I am trying to limit myself to 2 weekends per month so I can spend that time with my family but my weekends are booked for the next month. There have even been times when I have thought about quitting because of that.
If you quit could you see yourself working a 9 to 5?
DL: No. Never!
ZAF: How do you market yourself?
DL: Internet. The internet is huge. MySpace is a big part of that, I love MySpace. And then it is always going places and always being places.
ZAF: Thank you for your time.
DL: Your welcome.
Now the next time you read a magazine take a close look at all those photographs of all those perfect people. And know that between the perfect and human is an artist, a very talented and trained make-up artist.
Click here to check out Diana’s website.
Or click here to find her on MySpace.
Interviewed on 1/16/2008