If makeup is your thing, especially if you’re hoping to become a professional makeup artist, it’s super important to understand your craft and to study the greats, those legends, like Ve Neill, who have revolutionized the industry.
While everyone doesn’t have the desire to be a Hollywood makeup artist, it pays to understand who makes up this elite roster, as they are the ones who set the trends and innovate the industry.
So, when you mention, “Hollywood makeup artists,” one name should top the list and that is, Ve Neill. This is because she’s the epitome of Hollywood makeup royalty.
Ve Neill is an Oscar winning makeup artist. And, we’re not just talking one Oscar here, but she has won three Academy Awards for her artistry in these major movies: Beetlejuice, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Ed Wood.
She was also the mind behind some of film history’s most iconic looks, like Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine in A Star is Born, Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands, and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.
Growing up in Southern California, Neill was always fascinated with makeup especially the makeup that was used in horror movies. She loved how makeup could be used to transform a human into something or someone completely different.
After going to school for fashion merchandising, Neill went to a science fiction convention where she met a man who happened to be the one responsible for the look of the original Star Trek TV series. Fred Phillips gave Neill her big break—a job on 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture. She was eventually able to join the union for makeup artists. With her work on Star Trek and other sci-fi films, her specialty has become extreme fantasy makeup.
With being in the makeup business for forty years, Neill definitely knows the importance of good skincare and stresses that to the actors she works with.
While speaking to a group at IMATS in Los Angeles, Neill explained how makeup artists are responsible for making sure actors follow good skincare protocol:
“It’s really important that your actors do not leave the set with their makeup on. They go out to eat, get lazy, then go to sleep with the makeup on. Skincare is a really important part of a makeup artist’s job because how they come back to you the next day is your fault if they’re covered in pimples or dry patches. I always put a skincare kit together for my makeup artists for every actor to take home,” Neill says.
And, estheticians will appreciate this tidbit that Neill shared, “On the set of Hunger Games, I would use a galvanic wand treatment on the kids; in many cases, a lot of the young skin really improved from doing those treatments,” Neill explains.
Still a prominent figure behind the scenes, Neill serves as a judge on the Syfy original series, Face Off.
And, Neill is helping beginning makeup artists get a solid footing in the industry. In 2017, she became the Director of Education at Cinema Makeup School in Los Angeles. Additionally, she also has a scholarship at the makeup school called, the Ve Neill Legends of Makeup Scholarship to help new makeup artists entering the field.
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