Everyone who lived through the ’80s has a soft spot for GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, the homespun show that ran from 1986 to 1990 and pitted over-the-top female characters against one another in the wrestling ring. Anyone who wasn’t obsessed with the original late-night series now has a second chance with Netflix’s GLOW, a fictionalized version starring Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin. Even if you’re not compelled by the show’s empowering storylines, sweet wrestling moves and diverse, all-female cast, it’s impossible to resist the make-up.
In advance of GLOW’s Season Two premiere on June 29, M.A.C. Cosmetics hosted Lana Horochowski, the show’s make-up department head, for a Pro to Pro event in Hollywood on May 17. Walking into Goya Studios that night was like walking onto the set of GLOW: attendees sat in bleachers as Horochowski led an hour-long demo re-creating the look of Liberty Bell, Gilpin’s wrestling persona, in a ring lined with hot pink ropes. Bell’s look not only epitomizes the show’s era, but also the DIY nature of the characters, which Horochowski said is one of the biggest challenges.
“This [show] was particularly hard because we had to step away from ‘let’s make everybody look perfect all the time.’ The original GLOW was very homemade, so we had to make everybody look like they did it themselves,” Horochowski said. “We just realized that we had to try to do every make-up as fast as we could. That way you don’t have time to over-correct and over-blend.”
Horochowski started the demo by putting Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels under the model’s eyes, mainly to prevent difficult glitter cleanup later, before diving in to Liberty Bell’s patriotic look—“It’s like ‘God bless the U.S.A.,’” she said of the red, white and blue color palette. From there she gave the eyebrows some color and covered the lids with blue and white pigment before applying Ben Nye Glitter Glue and four M.A.C. glitters, from blue to 3-D silver, to create a sparkling ombré look.
“There’s an element of the show where it needs to fall apart,” Horochowski said, explaining why she doesn’t use setting spray. “We shoot it in a way that we see a deterioration; they shouldn’t look perfect at the end of a match.”
She then used M.A.C. Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation and invisible Set Powder to create a matte ’80s look. Frankly Scarlett Powder Blush was applied for red accents. Horochowski saved the lip for last, surprising everyone by using Smolder Eye Kohl as a liner, which she explained adds depth. She added Crimson Lipmix to create a base, before applying clear gloss. The final touch—bright red glitter over the entire lip—elicited ooohs and aaahs from the crowd. “Who doesn’t love a Dorothy slipper on the mouth?” the evening’s emcee, M.A.C. Senior Artist John Stapleton, said.
“She took me on a ride to the ’80s with this glam look,” make-up artist Habiba Chowdhury said following the demo. “Her technique was very uniquely crafted.” Beauty blogger Eva Moushamee added, “I’ve never really seen glitter ombré before, it was a perfect blend.”
Other attendees appreciated the look’s imperfections. “Whenever you see make-up that’s done for film, the restraint of having to create reality is always so interesting,” make-up artist Alicia Martinez said. Make-up artist Ashley Donovan agreed, “I love that Lana wasn’t fussy or particular,” she said. “Sometimes we get caught up in being too perfect, and you can get the same result by just having a good time and slapping some glitter on—the end result was amazing.”
For more on the make-up in GLOW, pick up Issue 128 of Make-Up Artist magazine.