'SNL' Makeup Pro on Finding the Right Shade of Orange Foundation for Alec Baldwin's Trump

11:00 AM 8/18/2017

by Cathy Whitlock

"Alec will come in on some days and say he wants full orange, so it always changes," says Louie Zakarian as more Emmy-nominated costume designers, hairstylists and beauty gurus divulge the secrets of their trade.

SNL -Episode 1724- Alec Baldwin as President Donald Trump-H 2017
Courtesy of Will Heath/NBC

This story first appeared in an August stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

  • Big Little Lies

    For Big Little Lies' women of Monterey, California, their clothes have a character-defining distinction. Costume designer Alix Friedberg gave each their own style and color palette, as she details: "Madeline's [Reese Witherspoon, center] colorful, perfect exterior hides a woman desperate not to reveal she is falling apart. Celeste [Nicole Kidman, right] is effortless and stylish in a more classic way. Jane [Shailene Woodley, left] is all about her effort with raising her son, leaving very little time or energy for vanity."

  • The Crown

    While Queen Elizabeth II is front and center in this Netflix biographical drama, her sister, Princess Margaret (Vanessa Kirby, left), quite often steals the show. Costume designer Michele Clapton loved the contrast between the two sisters' costumes, noting that Margaret cared more about her clothes. "She used to walk the corridors of Buckingham Palace to see how [her clothes] moved," says Clapton. "I had a lot of fun designing for Margaret as she always had an edge on the queen and cared more about how she looked. She would have three fittings, and the queen would have one, and I wanted to show that in the contrasts in their costumes."

  • Fargo

    "When I started designing the two looks for [the Stussy brothers], I knew early on that I didn't want either to look like Ewan McGregor," says head makeup artist Gail Kennedy. "We wanted the audience to see the characters, not the actor. This was helped by the fact that Ewan agreed to shave his head so we could use two different wigs, each with its own unique color and texture. My idea was that the brothers resemble each other, but one takes after the mom's side and the other after their dad's." Ray Stussy's balding and chubby looks (left) were the result of three prosthetic [face] pieces and receding hairline, while the older, more successful brother, Emmit, was given a tan with makeup to give him a "lean and GQ look."

  • Feud: Bette and Joan

    For silver screen legend Joan Crawford's look, makeup designer Eryn Krueger Mekash re-created her signature arched eyebrows and outlined lips on Jessica Lange and also made the actress look younger (Lange is in her late 60s; Crawford was in her 50s during Feud's time frame) without prosthetics. "We started with three realms for the looks for Jessica and Susan Sarandon: Baby Jane, everyday realness and glamour," says Mekash.

    Hair department head Chris Clark created 63 wigs for the limited series' eight episodes, matching the hair colors to their real-life counterparts.

    Costume designer Lou Eyrich tapped into Crawford's elegant, put-together attitude "using an icy cool palette of blues, greens and pinks and mostly ensemble pieces with matching jewelry," she says. "Bette [Davis] was less about fashion but was always neat and pulled together in a less manicured way." Eyrich faced an unforeseen challenge when Sarandon fractured her foot halfway through the shoot and had to wear a medical walking boot. "We put her in a lot of capri pants so she could wear flats as opposed to heels."

  • Genius

    Makeup artist Davina Lamont tried to avoid the cliche appearance of Albert Einstein, noting, "Everyone has a preconceived idea of what he looked like, and we didn't want to make him look cartoonish." Together with hairstylist Tash Lees, she morphed a young 16-year-old Einstein (33-year-old actor Johnny Flynn, left) and the older icon (Geoffrey Rush, who grew his hair for the role), giving him the noted unruly and uncombed white hair in his last five years. Styling a cast of 150 involved more than 25 styles of mustaches and posed a range of follicle challenges. "Everyone needed a period cut, hairpiece or a wig," says Lees. "No one arrived looking like the time period." And Rush's droopy Einstein eyes are courtesy of prosthetic pieces.

  • Hairspray Live!

    Beehives and bubble flips were the order of the day for hair designer Miia Kovero and her cadre of 16 hairstylists that created more than 60 wigs for the John Waters film turned Tony-winning musical turned live primetime TV event. For it, Tracy Turnblad's (Maddie Baillio, below left) '60s-on-steroids bouffant was the show's most recognizable 'do, "skunk stripes" and all. Fortunately, Baillio was the beneficiary of three different wigs for the look. Says Kovero, "[In the original film], Ricki Lake's own hair was bleached, and it was in terrible condition throughout the whole film."

  • The Handmaid's Tale

    "I was all over the map, on purpose, with research," says costume designer Ane Crabtree of the stratified world in The Handmaid's Tale's Gilead that is reflected in the characters' dress. "Of course, I started with the historical clothing in various religious groups, from the 1900s to present day. But, wanting to root the show in absolute reality and in the now, I only peppered those influences throughout. I looked to nature, to parts of society around the world where groups of people dress alike and also where women and rights and freedoms have been hindered. At times, my research doesn't feel akin to clothing or costumes at all. … Most times, it's just a slight feeling."

  • Saturday Night Live

    Transforming Alec Baldwin into candidate and then President Donald Trump, now one of the most recognizable faces on the planet, is a time-consuming task. Hair designer Jodi Mancuso spent more than 50 hours constructing the world's most talked-about head of hair while coming up with just the right shade of orange foundation and eyebrow shapes to help makeup artist Louie Zakarian. "We only have two wigs for Alec, and we always want it to look exact. It took me a whole day to figure out how to do it," says Mancuso. "His hair is more yellow-orange, and we are constantly readjusting the color as it constantly changes."

    Zakarian adds that the hair and makeup teams watch the TV news constantly, searching for clues to keep Baldwin's look current. "The first time I met Trump [on Saturday Night Live], I stared him up and down and took visual photographs in my head as to what works and what doesn't work," says Zakarian. "Every time we do Trump, I look to see how orange he is today. Alec will come in on some days and say he wants full orange, so it always changes."