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Young Rock (NBC)
“Dwayne Johnson and I are both the same vintage,” Young Rock hair and makeup lead Katherine Brown jokes. “So we pretty much have the same ’80s experience.”
For that reason, working with the retired athlete to tell his life story allowed the pair to dig up old memories and photographs “and just have a little bit of a giggle” about them. Since Brown grew up in Australia and her experience of the decade was likely “slightly different,” she says she relied heavily on the references Johnson provided for that time period.
But while they were traveling back in time on set, the present created the most challenges for Brown and her stylists.
“Due to COVID, we didn’t have a lot of run-up time with some of the performers,” she explains, adding that she had to rely on other departments for help. They even asked the casting department to snag the actors who already had some of the hairstyles they were looking for, such as longer hair for men and women with curly locks.
“We basically just had to say, ‘Look, we don’t have loads of time with extras. Can you just make sure they don’t have these things?’ ” Brown adds. “So we gave them a list of all the modern sort of things that, you know, we definitely didn’t see in that sort of mid-’80s [time period].”
Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story (USA)
While Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story is based on true events behind the infamous 1989 murder of Dan Broderick, hair and makeup department heads De’Ann Power and Michelle Radow got ideas from more places than just the characters’ real-life counterparts. Game shows, talk shows and print advertisements all served as inspiration for the show’s styles.
“I would just watch them over and over and take screen grabs and just study real people from that time period,” Radow says of shows including Press Your Luck, The Price Is Right and The Newlywed Game. The makeup artist even pinned a photo of one audience member from The Oprah Winfrey Show above her workstation to serve as a constant reminder of the look she was going for. “I would look at it every day because to me it just is the 1980s,” she tells THR.
In order to tell the story accurately, Power says she and her hair stylists had to plot out a timeline for each character to understand how the time period and their individual journeys intertwined to create their unique style.
“One of the challenges early on was to get the timeline in order, and to visualize that,” she explains. Then they pinpointed scenes where they could “bring a lot of license” to the looks. “A lot of ’80s sparkles were in those scenes.”
When re-creating the style of South Central Los Angeles in the 1980s for FX’s Snowfall, Andrea Jackson and Debra Denson had to look no further than their own yearbooks for inspiration.
“Andrea, myself and [co-creator] John Singleton were all raised in South Central L.A. during that time. So, it was a little easy for me on this one because I lived this,” Denson, who led the makeup department, tells THR.
While the decade may be remembered most for big hair and bright colors, that wasn’t the right style for the story they were telling. “It’s not a big glam show,” Denson says.
Details such as designs of tattoos, locations of piercings, length of acrylic nails and the size of a character’s Afro had to be precise to not only the time period, but also the region. The women printed out photos from their own pasts to give their teams an idea of the styles that would be appropriate for each character.
“I’d hand them pictures … and they’d follow it, and we’d bring the character to life like that,” Jackson says. “It’s easy to make it come to life when it’s your era.”
This story first appeared in a June standalone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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