The Making of Daisy Jones & The Six Makeup Looks with Rebecca Wachtel
I bet this was such an exciting project to work on especially with your love for creating characters. Tell us a bit about that process.
It was so great to be able to read the book and envision the characters in your head, then to have the opportunity to help create them and what your vision is. That also combined with holding to the integrity of the book and the characters and the actors. But really, when I got the job, I had to send Amazon and Hello Sunshine boards with the looks for each of the 12 characters throughout the whole show. So at that point it's just with me and my ideas, there were a couple little changes here and there, but pretty much they were on board with my ideas.
It was interesting because when we wrapped I was looking back through my initial plan and pretty much everybody stayed true to the boards that I had created, and that felt kind of cool.
For that process did you see the outfits first to link them with the makeup or is it more based on the characters and the book?
Well, initially, it's based on the character. With the guys, with Warren for example, I was like he needs to have a moustache because he has a moustache in the book. And so it's finding the one that fits his face. We had to try a lot of moustaches, different styles and we tested a lot. He also has a very animated face so keeping it stuck down was a challenge at times! All the facial pieces for the main cast were all custom fit and made for them.
The girls I researched what I thought they should be. With Riley, for Daisy, I leaned into a natural hippie look. She doesn't put anything into how she looks, she just throws herself together and looks beautiful. She's not that person to take time to focus on her makeup, Karen’s that person. So I wanted to show the different personalities of the time.
With Daisy and her looks through the show, I wanted to make sure it always reflected her personality. So even into the stage looks, they're not these clean, perfect looks. They’re kind of messy and a bit gritty because that's her and she's probably just using her finger with two minutes to get ready.
I kept in the warmer tones, for her, as I wanted her to be really glowy. Then later in the story she starts to fall apart a little, I start to make her a little more washed down and use cooler tones on her eyelids. The shift in the makeup plays a lot into that and the emotional status of the character, which I feel when you watch it, will also translate to the viewer.
What does your research process look like before creating your character boards and were there any particular icons who inspired you?
I watched a lot of documentaries, for example the Laurel Canyon documentary, a lot of music documentaries from San Fran and LA, to see the world we were in. Also doing a deep dive on google looking at old magazines, I also found sites that had family photos from the eras, so these are really authentic because these are real people.
For Karen, I blended inspiration from the early punk Joan Jett, Debbie Harry with a little Bardot. She has that kind of feel but then she is who she is. She's created her look. She doesn't really fit into some specific genre. For Daisy, I didn't pull from a specific, like, she's not like Stevie Nicks. There's been so many comparisons to Fleetwood Mac or Stevie and that's not who her character is or who she is either. So I wanted her to have her own feelings.
I did look at a lot of images and there are some of Stevie, where she does these washes of colour on her lids. So yeah, I liked that for her. I did some of that and some of it was from magazine covers too. But really I would take elements from different references like oh, I like that eyeshadow shape but overall it’s not obviously typical 70’s because she's a rockstar and she is doing her own thing.
I lived in the 70’s and it wasn't so perfect. Like now everything and you see on Instagram everything is so polished. But even the celebrities at the time when you see photos of them at the Oscars or whatever. It's not like that. They're not polished and that was real, unless you were a model and on a magazine cover or a news anchor it wasn't super perfect. I think that there's something about being more natural and people accepting just who they are and things don't have to be so polished and perfect.
What locations did you travel to with filming and how long were you working on the show from start to wrapping filming?
I was working on the project for around a year in total, seven or eight months were filming and the rest was the preparation beforehand. All filming was on location, we were in LA for around four months in all different locations and then we went to New Orleans and we shot there for a few months and then we went to Greece. Greece is amazing. I loved it. The casting crew were able to hang out at the beach on the weekend.
Are you able to watch the show before it comes out or is it a case of watching along with everyone when it comes out?
I will be watching along with everyone! I am attending a premier for the first two episodes then will be watching along with everyone. It's an interesting thing for me, you put so much of yourself into it and you create this world and these characters, but then until you see it all come together you don't know how it’s going to end up. I've seen the trailer so far, I think everything looks great. I'm happy, I'm excited.
I bet it’s great to have your work on the new cover of the book! How did that feel?
I've never had my makeup on a book cover. That was pretty cool. That was from our promo shoot. I also know Riley was excited, I saw she posted something that she had like gone into the bookstore and she was looking for it and she found the book.
Do you have that favourite look overall from the show that you created that you thought wow, that's the one?
I do, It's Daisy’s look when she is onstage. It comes at a point in the story when she's becoming unhinged right before she really completely loses, herself. She's pale, and has a sheen over her skin with blue eyeshadow and a red lip.We had that blue eyeshadow and knew we needed to use it for a look at some point. We were just waiting for the right outfit. And it just came together perfectly. The costume designer, Denise, is insane and when I saw that dress, I thought, this is the time. It was for a great moment in the show too. I think it all really came together.
What are some of the techniques you used to keep them true to their character?
Creating a sheen on the skin was a technique used throughout the show. If someone's been drinking or using drugs they're going to be sweatier. So these are all the things like as a makeup artist, when you read the script and you break it down, you're thinking about the character and what kind of state they're in, and you read into that, make your notes based on that. To create this we used Jones Road Miracle Balm. Also I didn't really powder anybody I just wanted it to look really natural, authentic, and to me there's something about having a shine that makes things come to life and there's more emotion.
I also did a lot of tattoo cover ups as a lot of the cast have a lot of tattoos. Especially Sebastian who plays Warren the Drummer he usually doesn't have a top one and he's like all tattooed. So we did a lot of tattoo covers on him. Riley has eight tattoos. Sam has a few tattoos. To keep it authentic, in the seventies people didn’t have tattoos. We also had to do it with anyone on set like any character and actors coming in. There were two actors, two guys that came in at different points in the story and their only role was to have sex with Daisy and they were both completely tattooed from the neck down, their entire bodies. It took two people nearly three hours to cover their tattoos and make it just look like skin, there is a real art in that.
How is filming scheduled day to day?
The way we filmed is called block shooting. One day we would be shooting from a few different episodes in different scripts. So there are different scenes where it is like oh, they have sideburns, now he doesn't have sideburns now he's got his moustache, now he doesn't. So I break it all down and I make all the notes and every day we have to make a plan. You have to be super organised and take a lot of photos. Each actor also has their own continuity book. So you could jump back and forth to what you needed.
With the Documentary style of the film, we also aged 12 of the cast. We kept it pretty subtle and we didn't really end up doing a lot of prosthetics. It was important that we wanted their style and their look to change as they aged and evolved. We just did highlight and shading and, some like stretch and stipple to change the texture of the skin and add more wrinkles. Always thinking has the character held on to their seventies roots? Or have they changed a lot?
It was fun because we started in the mid-sixties and we went through the seventies and there's even a hint of eighties in there. For me, it's all the little details.
If you were to give anyone advice wanting to go into makeup, particularly in film and TV. What would your advice be?
I mean, go for it. If that’s what you wanna do go for it. If you look at anybody who works in this field and business, you gotta have passion and drive.
As far as advice, I mean, it's totally different than when I started, which was over 25 years ago now. But I'd say just work on small projects, and you kind of create a network of people that you work with.Then practise and perfect your craft and be well-rounded. I think a lot of it is done from learning from your peers constantly. I like to hire, and also work with people that are maybe stronger in an area than you.