Interview with Ellie Daniel: Make Up Artist for Five Bedrooms
Ellie Daniel is a highly talented film and television makeup artist and qualified hairdresser with over twenty-three years of experience. With a background in hair and fashion, Ellie broke into the television industry on the first series of Underbelly in 2008. From there she has worked on both homegrown and international productions including Playing for Keeps, Five Bedrooms, and Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears. Ellie has designed the makeup for numerous beloved Australian actors including Kat Stewart, Hugh Sheridan, and Doris Younane.
I had the opportunity to have a chat with Ellie about her experience working on productions through a pandemic, her love of Eminence Organics, and her top skin care tips for a camera-ready complexion.
How did you get started as a makeup artist?
I started out working in fashion and on short student films with VCA. I did free work for two years to get experience while I was doing hairdressing and working at a nightclub. Then I landed a job on the first series of Underbelly and from there away we went!
What are you working on at the moment? How has filming been during the pandemic?
We are finishing up the new season of Five Bedrooms at the moment. I’ve been so lucky to work on all three seasons, this job is amazing and we’re working with such a special group of people.
This is our second season during the pandemic so we’re pretty good with everything that needs to be done. There are ten extra steps, but it is well worth doing. It’s been amazing to watch everyone go ‘right we have no choice but to make this work’. As makeup artists we physically touch people, so we are really in the thick of it, so we’ve completely rethought and happily changed the way that we work. I’m just glad we can keep going.
What are your steps to prep the skin for filming?
First, I cleanse and apply the Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Masque for five minutes while the actor either focuses on learning their lines or takes a minute to close their eyes before the busy day begins. I use a hot towel to remove the masque, then apply the Bamboo Firming Fluid and then the Marine Peptide Eye Cream. One of the products that surprised me was the Rosehip Triple C+E Firming Oil. It does wonders for the skin and sits perfectly under make up to get the skin camera ready. The process takes no more than seven to eight minutes and then it is time for the makeup.
I use the Neroli Hydrating Age Corrective Mist as a quick spritz for after lunch checks. It’s so refreshing and gives that extra bit of moisture for their skin. At this point the actors have been in makeup for seven hours and are tired so it just brings it all back to life.
For the end of the day, we leave it up to the actors. Some like to get straight out of there. For the others I use the Stone Crop Cleansing Oil to remove the makeup and apply the Lotus Detoxifying Overnight Cream to leave on. We have set up our five main actors with a home routine, so they know exactly what they need to do. The results of us applying the skin care in the chair and the actor taking care of their skin at night really speaks for itself, it’s quite amazing.
How did you first discover Eminence Organics?
I was first introduced to Eminence by John Logue, a Melbourne makeup artist who has worked on high profile productions like Mystery Road and The Fires. He organised for us to have a full day training with the product, and I fell in love with it from that point forward. I always had it in basic stock on different jobs and I slowly fell in love with different products. For Five Bedrooms I have made Eminence a prescribed routine for everyone. The product list is quite vast so it’s great being able to call your team with any questions I have about someone’s skin. From there I’ve narrowed it down to a couple of favourites where the results are just incredible.
When skin looks that beautiful you don’t need much makeup to cover it up as it looks amazing on camera. I am so pleased with the results!
What are you top skin care tips for actors?
Keep it simple and do it often. It’s not about washing your face once every four days, repetition is important. You don’t need fifteen different steps, use products that are suitable for your skin.
The youngest cast member on our set is twenty-four and while we’re throwing around our favourite firming products, I just hand her the Stone Crop. If you take care of your skin on a regular basis it shows. When someone sits in my chair and they have great skin, a minute later they will be walking away because I don’t need to do anything.
What advice would you give to people trying to get started as a makeup artist in television?
You have to start at the bottom because so much can be learned from watching or passing up a pin to someone. Even after twenty-three years I can stand and watch someone for five minutes and learn something regardless of their level of experience. It’s such an amazing part of this job that you can be constantly inspired and learn a different way of doing things and that’s what keeps you coming back.
The industry is always calling out for people who are willing to work hard and there are so many skills that can be brought to the table. It can feel really intimidating and no one really knows where to start but if you get in with the right people and learn it’s an incredibly rewarding job to be in. Hard, but rewarding.