Angelina Avallone has been both a customer and a friend of Alcone since the late ’90s. Over the years, she’s designed the makeup for close to 100 Broadway shows and national tours. She’s worked with a long list of the industry’s most talented performers–Patti LuPone, Tyne Daly, Angela Lansbury, David Hyde Pierce, Chita Rivera, Frances McDormand, Stockard Channing, Bebe Neuwirth, Michelle Williams, Emma Stone, Alan Cumming, Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, and Brooke Shields (just to name a few).
Angelina’s endless creativity, love for characters, and her propensity for “being curious” has propelled her to become a widely respected member of the artist community. She’s also one of the kindest, most talented, and supportive artists Alcone has ever had through our doors. We’re so honored that took a break from her role as the key makeup artist for “The Americans” to share some of her inspiration and insight with us.
What do you love about being a makeup artist?
What I really love about makeup and art is storytelling, creating characters, and creating a world.
What made you want to become a makeup artist?
I was a fine artist and a theatre designer. I never particularly thought about becoming a makeup artist. I was interested in colorful characters and creating characters. What has always fascinated me about makeup is its magical quality to transform the ordinary into something extraordinary. When I was a child, I loved the theatre and acting. I would make my own costumes, make puppets, and would put on my own plays. When I realized I could transform myself and become anything, I used watercolors that I had and started painting my face with them and creating characters on myself. I would always play a “character,” and the crazier and more outlandish, the better. I never wanted to play the princess, always the frog.
What was your kick start as a makeup artist?
In my 20s, I started in fashion design, and then I studied theatre design and makeup. I worked on runway shows and photoshoots then later merged into theatrical makeup. Once I transitioned into theatrical makeup, I soon became a makeup designer on Broadway. My first big shows were “Once Upon A Mattress,” “The Sound of Music”, and “The Scarlet Pimpernel.”
What was your most challenging production?
My most challenging Broadway show earlier in my career was designing makeup for “Dance of the Vampires” with Michael Crawford. It had everything–special effects, period makeup, blood, beauty, UV makeup–all of these elements with lots of quick changes. In fact, I spent many, many hours at the Alcone retail store, testing different looks.
You’re working on “The Americans” right now and have done a lot of television makeup as well. What is the biggest difference between working on television and theatre?
In the theatre, you have the pressure of time and quick changes. It’s all about the timing, and there’s that adrenaline rush you get achieving the magical transformation that only exists in live theatre. Television brings the challenge of HD and everything needs to look perfect, but with TV, at least you have the time to fix things.
What are your favorite “go-to” products right now?
I just rediscovered the Ben Nye Concealer Crayons. I used to use them in theatre for highlighting and contouring, and now I love them for television since they can conceal any blemish perfectly, and they really look great on HD. The European Body Art Encore Palettes are also great for concealing tattoos for film.
What do you like to do when not working and doing makeup?
I like to read, see shows and see good work, whether it’s in film, theatre or an exhibit. I’m always curious about the world. I like life and I like to be inspired by other artists’ great work. It inspires me to be better.
What advice do you have for up and coming makeup artists?
Be curious and be experimental. Continue to learn, search for the rare and the extraordinary in art and in life. Try to do everything. Don’t limit yourself to one look, one medium. Learn special effects, period makeup, beauty makeup, body makeup, editorial, fashion, theatre, film and you’ll find what you are best at.
Do your research, explore, learn from great artists, enjoy your work and strive for excellence. Be happy!
Thank you Angelina for your amazing influence in the theatre, film and artist community throughout the years. Here’s to always being curious and always being happy!
All photos courtesy of Angelina Avallone’s portfolio.