Article by Gareth Hughes
Photo Slides by Zachery Van Norman
Once Upon A Fan recently got the chance to pose questions to renowned make-up artist and OUAT Department Head, Sarah Graham, about her career, working on the iconic fairy tale show and creating classic looks for characters like Snow and The Evil Queen.
A huge thanks to Sarah for giving up her free time for the interview
Can you take us through what your average work day is like?
Our day usually starts a couple hours before the majority of the crew. We arrive to our truck, set up our work stations, have some breakfast and await for the cast to arrive. The cast go through make-up and hair and wardrobe, once they are ready, we all head to the set. It is our job to make sure the cast are flawless on camera all day long so we are right there while filming. The average working day is about 15 hrs long, sometimes shorter, sometimes longer! And we work in many different locations and sometimes all through the night or out in the rain and cold.
Can you tell us a bit about your past career? What led you to Once Upon A Time?
My career started over 13 yrs ago when I attended Complections make-up school in Toronto, Canada. I graduated at the top of my class and moved back to my home town in Alberta and began my make-up career in television, film, and theatre. In 2003 I worked on a couple of films called "Ginger Snaps" where I met Prosthetics genius Howard Berger. I was so inspired by his work that I decided to move to Vancouver BC and pursue my career in make-up effects.
I was lucky enough to work with Howard on several projects including the TV Series, "Masters of Horror", and the film "Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe". I have been living and working in Vancouver for 10 years and my credits include Night at the Museum, X-Men: The Last Stand, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and I spent four years on the TV series Supernatural before coming to Once Upon A Time.
Robert tweeted that you were the lady to ask when it comes to "green eye shadow". What products do you use to achieve Rumple's character look?
I use a lot of different products on Robert, we start off by texturizing his skin using a 2 part silicone make-up. I colour his skin a custom shade of greenish-gold, and finish off with an airbrushed spatter of gold. I do a lot of shading with various shadows and cream colours. I also paint colour on his teeth with a special paint, and I have made nails for him that we glue on. A lot of what I use is mixtures of products that I have blended, but the inspiration for his colour came from a Stila SmudgePot in "Jade".
How do you achieve the shimmer effect that Rumple's skin has?
It is a combination of the custom colour that I use to paint his skin and the gold spatter from the airbrush.
Many fans have noted that there are subtle differences in Rumplestiltskin's make up at different stages in the story. Was this a planned move?
Because the make-up is all done by hand (meaning there are no pre-made pieces) it is a little different every time.
What has been your favourite character to work on and mould?
I don't have a favourite. I love the variety of make-up that we get to do on the show. It keeps it fun, fresh and challenging. I'd get bored if I had to do the same make-up day-in and day-out.
The entire cast and crew seem like one happy family and that has certainly come across with the tremendous good will all the crew have towards our fan site. How has it been for you working with this production team?
Wonderful! We have the best crew, and such a wonderful cast.... We are so lucky!
What episode has been your personal favourite so far? Do you watch the show at home?
I do watch the show. But I have to say I don't have a favourite episode.
Who is your favourite character and why?
I love the Rumple/Gold Character, I just love watching Robert work and how he brings that character to life. But again, I don't really have a favourite character.
Can you tease any characters to come as the season continues.
No teasers. I like my job and want to keep it!
How does this job differ to other projects you have worked on?
I think the biggest difference is the variety of make-ups that we get to do on this project. And how everyone has a fairytale look and a Storybrooke look. It's a lot of work, but it keeps it fun!
The Evil Queen
The Evil Queen has classic strong features. Strong sharp lips, Strong sharp cat-eye, and of course long fabulous lashes. We often add/change the colour depending on what her wardrobe is.
Snow White has perfect porcelain skin, flushed cheeks, and pouty stained lips. We add lashes to Ginny to give her that doe-eyed look that is synonymous with the classic look of Disney's Snow White.
Red Riding Hood
As with most of our ladies in fairytale land we make sure she has a perfect milky complexion, rosy cheeks, and fluttery lashes.
Emma is effortlessly flawless. We do a strong top lash-line on her which brings attention to Jennifer's beautiful eyes. We made subtle changes in her make-up for when we flashed back in Episode 2x06 and saw her younger. We changed her eye make-up and gave her a darker lip colour.