I Am Henry – Award-Winning Hair & Make-Up

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Chanel MurrayChanel Murray is an award-winning British Hair & Makeup artist for film and TV. Following her GCSE’s, Chanel ended up working for an Interior Design qualification, only to discover a makeup course at the same college. Having had a life-long interest in makeup, she went on to study the Fda course in Hair & Makeup and followed this up with a degree in Hair & Makeup for film and TV, at the London College of Fashion.

1. Why is hair and makeup such an important aspect of filmmaking?

It is one thing to have a great story and character, but without the correct portrayal, a character becomes characterless. A writer paints a character through their words, but in a film, it is up to the makeup artist to paint the correct image. Without this, or with an unrealistic representation (for example, modern makeup and hair-styling in a period production), it can quite easily fall apart.

2. Describe the creative vision you had for I AM HENRY.

My inspiration came from the original paintings of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Catherine of Aragon. I then translated this to a design that was transferred onto the actors. I wanted to ensure that the characters maintained a natural look, something very common for the period.

A major challenge was to make an older Henry look dead, but then to bring him back to life again as a younger version of himself. I also had to create the face of a ghostly-looking monk.

It was difficult to use modern products in a way that wouldn’t make the characters look modern. I simply enhanced the actors’ natural features to complement the period surroundings. I was able to achieve this cohesiveness by working very closely with the costume designer, Kristen Ernst-Brown. It is important to take notes and work closely with the team to get an understanding of what the final piece should be.

3. What steps did you take to complete the looks for the characters?

I made sure to research each character’s personality by focusing on their personal characteristics and lifestyle. Also, by having constant knowledge of the script. It was very important to understand the characters emotional and physical state in each scene, and to then have that translated into the character’s hair and makeup.

4. You’ve won your first award for Best Hair & Makeup at the London IFF 2016 for I AM HENRY. How does that feel?

I feel very honoured! It was the culmination of all the hard work and determination put forth by the amazing cast and team that worked on this project. It has been an absolute privilege to work with such remarkable people; to be given personal recognition for some work that I have done within this tough industry. It’s starting to feel like all the hard work is beginning to pay off. 

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