Two years ago today, Sylvie’s Love – directed by Eugene Ashe – was released in theaters, so we’re celebrating its fabulous makeup artist, Angela Wells!
Angela is a talented Hollywood makeup artist, who has done makeup for the hit TV series Black-ish, for many films including Mudbound (2017) and Harriet (2019), and even for the Oscars presentations. And, of course, Angie was also the head of makeup for Sylvie’s Love (2020).
Throughout her career, Angela has shown tremendous range, not only in the style of makeup that she can do, but also with her respect for various historical time periods. While she kept the makeup paired down and natural for Harriet (the Kasi Lemon’s BioPic about shero Harriet Tubman set in the mid-1800s), with Sylvie’s Love she showed an incredible ability to recreate the classic look of an elegant woman of the 50’s. (Dark, fluttery eyelashes, a clean and wingless line of eyeliner, and a classic red lip subtly transported actress Tessa Thompson from the 21st Century back to the 20th).
Angela was also the head makeup artist for Promising Young Woman (2020), a pursuit which not only further demonstrated her incredible range but that also produced her most iconic looks yet. While previous makeup looks of Angela’s have certainly contributed to the vibe of each film, the makeup she designed for Promising Young Woman also played a key role in the narrative.
In Promising Young Woman, Cassie – played by Carrie Mulligan – puts on an act in order to seek revenge on predatory men. One way that she slips into this role is through her makeup. In one scene, for example, she smears her lipstick, which Angela describes in an interview with FF2 Contributor Roza Melkyumyan as “a Joker-esque sort of moment.”
In contrast to Cassie’s “night out” looks, Angela uses makeup to distinguish the true Cassie from the character she plays to manipulate men. In the interview with Roza, Angela states: “I wanted her to be a sort of blank canvas when she was just Cassie. So the makeup was really soft, really neutral. I used a lot of soft rosy colors. We didn’t even use lipstick.”
Not only is Cassie’s makeup able to communicate when she is and isn’t playing a role, Angela is also able to communicate her mental state with every detail, down to the angle of her eyeliner. Angela says: “With her liner, I even drew it in a downward fashion before I took the wing up because I wanted to reflect a little bit of sadness and darkness in the character.”
When it comes to makeup, Angela certainly has an eye for detail, whether it’s the time period, the narrative, or the character’s inner world. With a vast repertoire of film and TV makeup, Angela is a key figure in making Hollywood stories come alive.
© Julia Lasker (12/23/2022) Special for FF2 Media
LEARN MORE/DO MORE
Ready Katharine Cutler’s review of Mudbound here.
Read Giorgi Plys-Garzotto’s review of Harriet here.
CREDITS & PERMISSIONS
Featured photo: Courtesy of Amazon Studios.
Top photo: Courtesy of Amazon Studios.
Bottom photo: Credit to Merie Weismiller Wallace / Courtesy of Focus Features.