Behind the Screams: Meet the makeup artist who put the horror in PROM NIGHT

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Our last issue of the year, PROM NIGHT, delves into all things horrifying and bizarre, like zombeavers, alien dildos, and heinously overpriced tampons. We spend the night in a mental asylum, interview the ingenious illustrator who created all the Goosebumps covers, pay a visit to a tarot card reader and chat to Clementine Ford about all the horror she’s encountered just for being an uncompromising feminist.

Tying it all together is our Carrie-inspired cover which we’re ~low key~ obsessed with, modelled by Madi Day. A supernaturally talented makeup artist, Mia May, came on board to splatter the blood for us – meet her and hear about her #inspo below.

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Where do you study?

National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA).

When did you first get into special effects makeup?

I first got into sfx makeup when I was 15 (nearly 4 years ago).

What artists inspire you?

A lot of painters inspire me such as Frida Kahlo, Gustav Klimt as well as illustrators like Will Eisner. As far as makeup artists go, icons like Jack Pierce and Rick Baker are a huge inspiration.

Are there any movies that are a great inspiration for you?

Star Wars: A New Hope is actually one of the movies I watch when I’m feeling a bit lost creatively. The Cantina scene with all the different aliens sitting around a bar makes me want to create so much.

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What advice would you give to people who want to put sure a career in special effects makeup?

I would say to people wanting to start a makeup career would be to go and get a good course under your belt, being self taught and practising at home is great but learning from experienced tutors is really what pushes you forward in your career. Also remembering that it’s all just a creative process and not everything you create will be perfect. That’s something I’ve had to remember.

What was your favourite project so far?

My full body paint of the old school comic version of Harley Quinn has definitely been my favourite look so far. 6 hours of painting was definitely an experience!

Harley Quinn body paint | Snazaroo water based paints and bh cosmetics eyeshadows #mua #makeup #snazaroo

A photo posted by Mia May (@miamaymua) on

What are the most important utensils for you?

My brushes. They’re my holy grail.

What’s the biggest misconception about what you do?

I think the biggest misconception is that people think it’s an easy job. We are so much more than people who apply makeup. A lot of the time we are support systems or even therapists to the talent and that’s super rewarding.

What are you dressing up as for Halloween this year?

This year I’m hoping to pull off a skeleton body paint whilst dressing up a mask to look like a human face. Nothing says Halloween like a skull face paint.

Is it easy pursuing a career in the creative arts in Australia?

Within Australia there is a pretty small beauty community so that makes it easy to make connections however it also means that the same people are always competing for jobs. It gets pretty competitive out there!

What’s the most challenging you’ve had to do as a special effects makeup artists?

I think the most challenging thing about what I do is trying to put somebody’s vision in front of them. Sometimes a client has a specific image in their head and doesn’t really understand how it works on the face. That can be challenging, it’s all about finding a compromise that makes everyone happy.

What was the last book you read?

The last book I read was Room by Emma Donoghue.

What was the last song you listened to?

Talk Show Host by Radiohead.


PROM NIGHT is on stands now – grab a copy if you dare. If you can stomach the contents and you like what you discover, consider applying for a Grapeshot position for next year – we’re hiring now! Flick any enquiries with a resume attached to grapeshot@mq.edu.au.