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FEATURED ARTIST: WENDI ALLISON

Artist Relations spoke with Makeup Artist, Wendi Allison about working on the show "Heroes".

How long have you worked in the television industry?
18 years as a Makeup Artist

How many Actors do you do on a "normal" day?
6 to 7

How did you get started in makeup + what is the most important training that you have received (i.e. makeup school, art school, math, etc)?
I got started purely by a whim. I was asked to come onto a show straight out of a glamour photography studio and do makeup on a kids show as a second. I loved it so much, stuck with it and the rest is history.

How does the lighting of the show contribute to the makeup you design?
Lighting is in fact to me the most key element in every Makeup I design. If the lighting isn't good, it can truly damage all the work in which you have created on a character. Good lighting and a great DP are key elements in your work selling itself on screen just like a great photograph by a good photographer. Always work with your DP.

What is your own creative process?
I guess I would answer this question in a similar way. I like to work very closely with my actors. I think it's important to know what their likes and dislikes are so that we can find the best makeup design that is going to work both for them finding their character and for me to bring it to life and again as the 3rd party my DP is key element to the two of us.

Where do you find inspiration?
I find much inspiration in my actors as well as my peers. Most of my actors are very patient and want the finished product to look just as good as I do. Many of my fellow Makeup Artists in the business constantly teach me new things and I feel that keeps me fresh.

What is most important to you about makeup on a television show?
The most important thing to me is that the job I did on the character gives the audience the realism to bring that character to life through my vision to theirs. That is the most important thing to me. If I get people telling me that they were afraid or disgusted, I feel great and know I did my job well.

Which character was the most challenging to design for and why?
The most challenging would probably be my head slice on all the characters Sylar kills on our show. It took me a while to master that. It was a lot of fun to do. Airbrushing the boys' tattoos is always a challenge too.

Which makeup artists do you admire?
I admire all Makeup Artists in this business. Everyone adds something creative to the process and we all learn constantly from one another. No artist is better than another and each artist has an individual expression, which is why we all bring diverse creativity to the screen. No names here, everyone is the best at what they do.

How many artists are on your team?
What qualities do you look for in an artist? On my show, my Dept. Head Lori and I work with probably 3 additional artists on most days. I look for simple things in an artist. Do you enjoy your work? Do you get along with the actors? Are you aggressive? You must be aggressive and strong to make it in this industry. [B] on your toes and hard working.

What advice would you give to artists starting a career in makeup?
Know that you are committing yourself to a great and rare career. You will meet a lot of amazing and talented people. Know that it is a long road and the pavement is rough and bumpy. Also know that the hours you will serve in this business will leave you no time for yourself. If that works for you then this is the career for you. I love it. I would be lost without it.

Name your 3 favorite MUST-HAVE M·A·C products?
Spice Lip pencil, M·A·C Blot Film, and the vast array of all M·A·C colors... match for them!