On Dec. 7, close to a hundred industry professionals, make-up students and alums gathered to celebrate Cinema Makeup School’s fifth annual holiday party. The monster mash—with cameos from a Mummy, Wolfman and a Gremlin—was held at the historic Wiltern Building in Los Angeles.
“Not a lot of people do a make-up-themed Christmas party, so it was a perfect niche for us to fit,” says director of admissions Lee Joyner. “It’s a perfect time at the end of the year to bring together a diverse group in a relaxed atmosphere.”
Rick Baker was tapped to host the 2016 event. As has become the tradition, teams of Cinema Makeup grads and current students created characters inspired by Baker’s work.
“They are homages to his films,” continues Joyner about the seven make-ups that also included zombies and the werewolf from Michael Jackson’s Thriller, an ape from Planet of the Apes and a slashed-up Jack from An American Werewolf in London. “He gave us a list and we had the graduates submit pictures of what we would do. The ones chosen were given a budget and they’ve been working on them for the last few months.
With Baker hosting, the party was multi-purpose. It gave an opportunity to spotlight Madison Burger, the first winner of the recently established Rick Baker Legends of Creature Design Scholarship. Chosen a few weeks earlier, Joyner describes her winning creation as a “Thing-inspired insectoid.”
“I have been grooming Rick to get in the school for probably 10 years,” says Joyner. “I had brought a group of students when he got his star on Hollywood Boulevard to support him. Dick Smith had sponsored one of our scholarships and then Ve [Neill] came on. So Rick and I start talking and I asked him to sponsor a creature design scholarship, and here we are.”
As the following day was Baker’s birthday, the school took the opportunity to hold a small celebration, featuring cupcakes and an oversized birthday card signed by party attendees. “I know Rick hates dealing with that kind of stuff and surprises, and we didn’t want to make it big,” says Joyner. “Do a quick song and make it as painless as possible.”
Spotted among the partygoers were Ve Neill, Dave Elsey, Sue Cabral-Ebert, Norman Cabrera, John Goodwin, Rod Maxwell, Chloe Sens, M.A.C. Cosmetics’ Monique Boyer and Key Publishing’s Michael Key. Baker’s protégé Bella Meriwether and her mom Jesse were on hand. Baker was accompanied by wife Sylvia and daughters Rebecca and Veronica.
Guests were also entertained with slight-of-hand tricks and mind illusions by mentalist Nader Hanna. DJ Mess filled the air with a retro sound of holiday favorites.