Colleen Quinton and Kathy Kelso
G. Pimentel Photography courtesy of, make-up photos courtesy of the artists Colleen Quinton and Kathy Kelso

The make-up teams behind the film Laurence Anyways  and the TV show Being Human  won Achievement in Make-up honors at the 2013 Canadian Screen Awards, held March 3 in Toronto. Comedian Martin Short hosted the event, which was held at Toronto’s Sony Centre for the Performing Arts and broadcast on CBC. The Canadian Screen Awards are a merging of two previous awards categories: the Genie awards (for movies) and the Gemini awards (for TV).

Colleen Quinton, Michelle Côté, Kathy Kelso and Martin Lapointe won Achievement in Make-up honors in the film category for their work on Laurence Anyways.  Quinton, the film’s make-up designer and a previous Emmy nominee and Gemini winner, described what the film required in terms of make-up and hair.

Laurence Anyways is a love story about a transgender male to female and his/her girlfriend, which also takes place from the late ’80s to late ’90s,” she said. “Double whammy: period and transgender. The obvious challenge for us was to transition Laurence in such a way to make it realistic to an audience as he starts taking estrogen replacement in the beginning of the film, which lasts over a five-year period. So, thinner more translucent skin, take out the beard completely by airbrushing and then matching color to foundation, opening up the eyes and eyebrows with highlight and shadow, widening out his cheeks to give a rounder face and adding individual lashes to change the shape of the eye.

Melvil Poupaud in Laurence Anyways

“As always, we did not shoot in sequence, so we were handling four different periods of his life in the shooting schedule at the same time. They were as follows: man, man experimenting with make-up with no hormones, woman transitioned after five years of estrogen and complete transition 10 years later.

“I actually followed a transgender woman who had documented her changes week by week on YouTube during her hormone therapy and then patterned the transition of Laurence based a lot on this woman. We also decided to take a chance and push the envelope a little with the full-on ’80s look, which was loads of fun.

“We took so many chances with the make-up sometimes that I said, ‘Either I will ruin my career or win an award on this one.’ Thankfully it was the latter! A very intense film and we are so happy to have won.”

Make-up department head Emilie Gauthier and make-up effects supervisor Erik Gosselin won the Achievement in Make-up prize in the TV category for the episode “When I Think About You I Shred Myself,” from the series Being Human.  Gosselin shared how this episode’s make-up effects were achieved.

Canadian Screen Awards: Emilie Gauthier and Erik Gosselin
Emilie Gauthier and Erik Gosselin G. Pimentel Photography courtesy of

“In this episode, one of the good guys, quote unquote, gets one of the main vampires very pissed at him, so she decides to remove his skin,” he said. “We call this make-up Henry Muscles, because he has no skin. We have a man standing in front of us and we only see his muscles. It’s pretty interesting visually—very much reminiscent of Hellraiser.

“It was very time-consuming for us and the actor. On that day, I had three assistants with me. We applied 15 prosthetics: 3-D representations of muscles fibers and bony structure, then maybe another two hours of airbrushing and painting, and all that had to be done over a bald cap. I had to thank him [actor Kyle Schmid] at the awards ceremony because it was so hard on him.”

The episode also required a werewolf attack make-up, as well as period and wound make-up for a flashback scene, which Gauthier oversaw. She was pleased with what she and the team ultimately accomplished.

“When you know you gave the best of yourself for a show for almost two years with a unique and very talented team, being tired but proud of yourself [as you are] looking at the final result and liking what you see when you are a crazy perfectionist like me … I think you deserve a clapping, but winning an award from the people in the industry is definitely the best recognition in our career, especially for this type of achievement. I’m over the moon, really!

Canadian Screen Awards: Being Human
Being Human Photo courtesy of Emilie Gauthier and Erik Gosselin

“Having been head of the make-up department on a show like Being Human  has been so stimulating because the writers kept throwing us new challenges … me and my team were constantly trying to bring the characters as far as we could by following their evolution in the emotions or in the story. Reading new lines everyday forced us to keep thinking, creating, sculpting, molding, trying, etcetera—simply heaven for a make-up artist!”

At press time, Quentin and Kelso were set to work on an ABC pilot and later, a feature film with Fox. As for Gosselin, “We had a busy year, so we are quite happy to be taking a craziness break with smaller TV series, including an ABC pilot, some commercials and Cirque du Soleil contracts,” he said. The show’s crew, he added, was “waiting to start our fourth season of Being Human to take those werewolves, vampires, zombies and ghost characters even further!”