“Since last August I’ve practiced everyday to do what I do. I’ve sacrificed having a normal life of parties and school, but I stay close to my support group. My friends and family keep me going, even when I get discouraged because of things like homework and drama that can cause stress. It’s to the point where if I have thirty dollars, I’d rather spend it on brushes and lipstick than a cute outfit or music. When [the student body] asks me ‘Why do you bother doing this?’, I usually have to- wait, your eyelash is falling off.”
Taylor McClaran, sophomore, is an artist; respected by those who experience her work to the fullest up on the stage under bright shinning lights, down to those who get a small sample of what she does. Luckily, I had the opportunity to sit down with this mastermind and learn how, why and who she has based her work on as an up-and-coming makeup artist.
Sitting in the glass room, Taylor brings out her three-tier make up kit and begins to explain the day’s itinerary for the eyeliner and glitter which would go on my face.
“I practiced this on myself over the weekend. I think it’ll look great; I wanted to do something very colorful and different today. When I did A Midsummer Night’s Dream it was really dark and kind of seductive, so I wanna change it up,” she said.
Last August, Taylor found her new passion. At the start of the year, she proved her worth to Mr. Whitus , the head of the theater department, and received the spot of “Head Make Up Artist” via interview.
“When I was younger I wanted to be an actress or be involved in the arts. I always wanted to create something new and [display] it to other people. [This past summer] I started looking at magazines and at different make up artists, then I decided I wanted to try doing what the artists do. Honestly, I’m glad I’ve decided that this is the career I want to follow,” she said.
Within the short span of seven months, Taylor has become the main make up artist for the Mac Arthur Theater Arts Department; doing a total of three productions with a cast of over 20 individuals to cover.
“When people ask me to do their make up, [the feeling] is so good. I feel so proud and excited that I can make [others] look great and still be really creative; the face is like a canvas, I can do anything I want, but it’s really difficult to make everything come together. When students request me to do a color combination like navy blue, pink and dark green I usually think to myself, ‘Wow, how will this work out?’ When I come to school the next day with a rainbow on my eyes, I’m proud of it. Usually, [the student body] may give me strange looks or question why I look ‘funny’. When [the student body] questions why I bother practicing so much or why I even devote myself, that’s what I answer them; this is my passion, and I’m interested in creating the scene and bringing things to life,” McClaran said.
At this point in the process of my makeover, Taylor has applied foundation, blue eyeshadow and white eyeliner to my face-canvas. Although, the eyeshadow and eyeliner aren’t on my eyes, not even remotely close. I’m excited to see what she’s done to my cheeks and chin, so I try to sneak a peek off the reflection on my phone. Consequentially, I learn that “sneaking-a-peek” is one of the biggest pet peeves to a make up artist. If the client attempts to change what was originally applied, it is more than angering to the artist; Taylor explained how the ‘originality’ is lost once changes are made. Moreover, cooperation with clients is a must. The relationship between the cast and make up artist is important when the gal is to make fantasy a reality.
“When I did Kaleb King (senior) for Our Lady of 121st Street, I had his full cooperation. We both saw how the character [exudes] the “drunken detective” look, so his acting was able to take it to that level. Make up plays a huge role in making the stage come to life; I commit to directing a look for Mr. Whitus and Mr. O’Bryant, so that’s why I go home and practice until late at night when I get my assignment on a play.” Taylor said.
Ever so passionate and eloquent about being an artist, Taylor brings the stage to life. Few may not understand how much time and energy goes into creating a masterpiece or a persona on the bare skin. One of the biggest fears Taylor has is to “mess up”, or make her subject look unappealing. Although, at the end of our session, Taylor has fabricated a scene that can be described as “wonderful”.