Flavia Vieira’s passion for makeup started as a little girl sneaking into her grandaunts room and applying an assortment of cosmetics all over her face. She thought no one noticed her face full of color but didn’t bother saying anything. Today, this award winning makeup artist continues to turn heads with her skills as she leads actors into the life of their characters. This Brazilian native understands that her magic touch as a makeup artist is the turning point for an actor to delve deeper into their role.
Behind the scenes Vieira stays focused and precise as she too digs deep into a script or talks to the director or writer about every part to create the best possible look. She thrives in this collaborative environment and it allows her creativity and vision to surface.
“If you think about special effects and a characters makeup, once they’re transformed into a creature, or have bruises and cuts it helps them dive deeper into the character’s life story. Most of the time they leave their own personas behind and completely give up to the character,” Vieira said.
Whether it’s a simple beauty look or a drastic character change Vieira performs her role on set to perfection. What makes Vieira stand out from the rest is her clear communication with directors and writers, and her ability to produce the most realistic personification of the characters they’ve created. Her careful research and understanding of the script makes her so well trusted and sought after. It is no wonder why her work is award winning.
“I always like to exchange with directors and writers if possible. Specially when I’m creating the looks of the characters. The writer invented the character. The director is bringing him to life on the screen. What I need is to understand the core of the character to be able to translate it on the look,” said Vieira.
Having worked on multiple films Vieira thrives as a behind the scenes makeup artists interacting with actors to transform their look. Becoming Lucy, was one of her favorite sets where she worked closely with the main actor in making a look that was natural yet stood out. The film is about a teenage girl named Lucy who is struggling with her parents divorce. Lucy blames her mother for her father leaving them for a 24 year-old blonde. When she finds out her crush at school likes blondes, she dyes her hair to get the attention of both men.
“The most standout character was Lucy herself… The other characters were all pretty simple. I wanted her to have a complete distinct look than all the other blonde girls in the movie, being the only brunette,” explained Vieira.
Vieira’s challenge was making the image of the young teenager look believable. This film tugs at the heart with scenes of a beautiful young girl struggling to understand love. Makeup as we know is a vital part in a young girls transition and Lucy’s look did not distract, instead it added to the storyline. Vieira executed the natural youthful no-makeup look for the character which was a challenge in itself. Not to mention, Vieira perfected the imperfect carrot dyed look of a wig, which was one of the main focal points of the film.
Vieira said, “Lucy, in the story dyed her hair blonde by herself and it turned out disastrous. So, I had to buy a natural hair wig, cut it to resemble the actresses normal hair and of course dye it until we reached the result we wanted.”
Her time on set as she recalls was fun and challenging but well worth it. Vieira’s dedication and vision for the characters of film earned her much deserved recognition with her work leading the film to earn the Bronze Award for Best Makeup from the International Independent Film Awards and the Diamond Award for Best Makeup from the LA Short Awards. Becoming Lucy also earned the Festival Award from the Festigious International Film Festival, the Platinum Award from the Mindfield Film Festival Los Angeles and more.
Another film where Vieira revealed her seasoned skill as a makeup artists was the four-time award winning film My Two O’Clock. The film revolves around Neil Brennan, a young man going into a two o’clock interview for his ‘dream’ job. While he’s determined to knock it out of the park, things quickly turn when, immediately prior to the interview, Neil grows uncomfortable with a personal profile completed by the interviewer. When he finally grasps that it’s a game, Neil must decide if it’s worth it?
Produced in a short amount of time, My Two O’Clock brought the added pressure to execute things perfectly under time constraints for Vieira. However, with My Two O’Clock taking home the LA Short Awards’ Diamond Award, being chosen as a Semi-Finalist from Los Angeles Cinefest, the Award of Recognition from the IndieFest Film Awards, and the Global Film Festival Award, it’s clear that Vieira and the rest of the cast and crew were up to the challenge.
One key for a makeup artist on set is understanding they way their work affects the actor’s confidence and ability to get into their character, even if the makeup seems minimal to outsiders.
“Even beauty makeup can add a lot to the actors performance and self esteem. Talking about self esteem, an actor, whether it’s a man or woman, wouldn’t feel comfortable to be in front of camera without makeup or even without knowing a makeup expert took out the shininess out of their skin and took care of unwanted hair flyaways,” said Vieira.
Although Vieira enjoys bringing out an actor’s natural beauty and confidence, she also loves the drastic side of what makeup can do to a face. Vieira likes to get her hands dirty with special FX makeup. She prides herself in this area of her work to a great degree as it allows her to challenge her skills and go beyond the basics of foundation, blush and lipstick. Sci-fi films rely heavily on makeup artists to create that magical illusion on screen and Vieira never fails to do just that.
On the film Bloody Eyes she was in charge of the main special effect looks. The film is about detectives who find themselves locked in a drug lab, but soon notice traces of bizarre experiments taking place. And after realizing that they’re not the only living creatures in there, they’ll do anything to escape.
Vieira worked on multiple characters that had bloody scars, cuts, bruises and fake guts. She describes the transformation process for some of the gory looks, specifically for that of The Creature, which involved a prosthetic silicone face.
“In the film people die, get chased, get dirty. Overall there was a lot of blood, scratches, cuts and dead people. I was responsible for the 5 main characters to do retouches and maintenance of The Creature and also small part characters and extras,” said Vieira.
Through multiple award-winning films across every genre, as well as a plethora of high profile commercials, Vieira has continually proven herself to be a key figure behind the scenes when it comes to the aesthetics we see on screen.
Her advice for others is: “Don’t get stuck in a life that does not fulfill you… I moved from Brazil to LA to pursue a career and I was 30 years old already. If you love it and want it don’t let anything stop you. Try, try and try until you’re on it.”