HBO’s Euphoria might have just completed its first season, but we don’t expect the world to stop talking about the teen drama series anytime soon. In fact, we’re confident that the show started its own movement, encouraging fans to use makeup as a means of expression.
The mastermind behind the show’s groundbreaking makeup looks is Doniella Davy, a California-based makeup artist and special effects artist. She’s the genius behind Rue’s glitter “tears,” Maddie’s elaborate gemstone eye makeup and Jules’ bright-colored eyeshadow looks. Each of these makeup moments is reflective of the character’s growth and oftentimes — their mood. For example: In the beginning of the show, Kat Hernandez goes makeup-free, but as she begins to accept herself, she debuts rebellious makeup that stands out, in stark contrast to the shy girl she once was.
“Sam [Levinson] asked me to use makeup to portray the evolution of the Euphoria characters,” says Davy in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “And he encouraged me to do this while also pushing the boundaries of typical TV makeup. He was like ‘You can use color! It can be loud color! You can use shapes! Glitter! Stone!’ He’s like, ‘I want cat eyes! I want like K-Pop inspired looks!’”
Like all of us, Davy took to Instagram for inspiration, scoping out makeup artists, and well, normal people of a specific age group. “I’ve admired the Instagram accounts of many Gen Z artists, not just makeup artists, but just like people that just, I don’t know, are just doing makeup on their [accounts],” Davy says. No better example of this [makeup] exists out there other than what Generation Z is doing right now. I think, specifically to their faces.”
Davy humbly admitted that she’s not responsible for starting the Gen Z makeup movement, which is all about individuality and experimentation.“The Euphoria style of makeup I really believe already existed,” she says. “And it was just a matter of myself gathering it all up and putting my own aesthetic twist on it as an artist and then pushing it forward into the limelight so to speak. So it could be admired by thousands or millions more people.”
There’s more that Levy’s responsible for than the pretty rhinestone-heavy looks that have made their way onto our Pinterest boards. She’s also the one who worked on special effects makeup for the hard-to-watch X-rated scenes, like the prosthetic micropenis shown in Kat’s controversial web-camming hobby or Nate’s brutal physical attack on Tyler.
She details that gory attack, saying, “[That scene] was about showing the torture of this kid and there were a couple of details that I wanted to convey. I knew there’d be an up-close shot, so I had some contact lenses made that were blood hemorrhage contact lenses and then I had a fake tooth appliance made for his front teeth where it would look like his front teeth had been cracked. I also had the same company that made the micropenis, Autonomous FX, work with me and [we] made some 10 facial wound pieces and then we applied them together. So that was a collaborative makeup [process], with a different company making the contact lenses.”
As for the creation of the aforementioned fake penises, Davy explains, “I told them what the measurements should be, what it should look like, what the pubic hair should look like, and all that. And they sculpted it and made it for me. And it’s essentially like a strap on set. It goes on top of the actor’s actual penis and then visual effects remove the actual strap.” So that’s how this works.
From nailing the character’s respective evolutions over the drama-filled season to the graphic, painful scenes that left Us with a pain in our gut, Davy nailed each and every moment — making each one feel real and raw, with the help of some incredible makeup moments. After all, she said it best: “If the makeup I’m doing is not enhancing the story then it’s not doing its job.”
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