How Makeup Department Head, Syretta L. Bell, Used Neutral Color Palette to Convey the Emotion of Tyson’s Run


In our latest conversation, we spoke with Syretta L. Bell, who just recently served as the makeup department head for both Tyson’s Run, which premiered on Friday, March 11th and Tyler Perry’s A Madea Homecoming which has been in Top 10 on Netflix since its release on February 25th. 

 

Syretta shared with us how she kept a more neutral and minimalistic design approach when working on Tyson’s Run to help audiences better connect with the emotional depth that the film has to offer, and her role as the makeup department head for Tyler Perry Studios—and how she’s managed to create an award-winning team that’s worked on various projects like A Madea Family Funeral, Boo! A Madea Halloween, and A Fall From Grace.

 

PH: Hi Syretta! Can you share how your journey thus far as a makeup artist? 

Syretta L. Bell: My journey thus far as a makeup artist has been one of tremendous hard work and perseverance, faith and good relationship building. I have put in the work but I also have had the pleasure of being referred and requested by colleagues and talent a like.

PH: What (and who) are some of your biggest motivators and inspirations? 

Syretta L. Bell: My biggest motivators are my husband TB, sisters,children and childhood friends. I’m fortunate that I have a strong support system that motivates me to keep going and striving to reach all my goals. I find inspiration from my peers that I work alongside with on various projects and watching the way they create inspires me to step out of my comfort zone and to try new products or techniques.

PH: How did you get involved with Tyson’s Run? What drew you to the project? 

Syretta L. Bell: I got involved with Tyson’s Run on a referral from the producers of the movie who I had collaborated with on some of their previous projects. And after getting the script and meeting the EP, Writer, Director Kim Bass and hearing his passion and conviction for the project I definitely wanted to be a part of a project that offered a voice to people that may not always have one of their own. I felt the story was one that many could relate to.

PH: Can you talk about why (and how) you leveraged a neutral and minimalistic design approach to help audiences better connect with the emotional depth? 

Syretta L. Bell: The reason I chose to approach the make up in Tyson’s Run in a minimalist way is I did not want it to distract from the actor’s performances and to also convey that this is an everyday family like so many of us and ordinary people working through their own struggles and to me the make up wasn’t the main character it was there to be in a supportive role. You need to be able to read the emotions in these characters’ faces and a full face of makeup will distract from that.

PH: Did you face any challenges on this project (and if you did, how did you address them)? 

Syretta L. Bell: The challenges on this project were minimal for me and my team. We mostly found ourselves caught up in the performances of the actors and the emotions that would sometimes come up watching them.

PH: What is the secret to building an award-winning makeup team? 

Syretta L. Bell: The secret to building an award winning team is to think of what skills are needed and the people who can deliver them as well as get along with talent and the rest of the team. One of my gifts is putting together great teams and although we haven’t won any awards yet, the true reward is the love and respect I have for being able to lead such good teams.

PH: One of the keys to working as a makeup artist is that every skin type is different. How have you learned to work with varying skin types? 

Syretta L. Bell: I’ve learned how to navigate working with any and all skin types from my retail background… in retail, you get all types so you must understand what products and techniques can effectively be used to get the best results.

PH: Do you have a favorite “look”? Why or why not? 

Syretta L. Bell: The look I love and tend to rely on the most is the “natural” or no makeup look. I just love for the talent to look as real as possible and for a pretty skin to be enhanced while doing a soft eye make up. This is also a look I wear in real life!

PH: How does it feel to have people notice small details, or even makeup/no makeup choices in characters? (People are very perceptive!) 

Syretta L. Bell: When the audience notices some of the make up or lack there of it keeps me on my toes and lets me know that all the details in the story matter.

PH: Can you share any other upcoming projects you’re working on this year? 

Syretta L. Bell: Currently I’m working on First Wives Season 3 starring Jill Scott and Michelle Buteau for BET Plus and I recently finished On the Come Up Sanaa Lathan’s directorial debut with Jamilla Gray, Method Man, Da’Vine Joy Richards and Mike Epps to be released in the Fall of this year. It’s the follow up to The Hate U Give.

PH: What is one of the biggest things you’ve learned as a makeup artist? 

Syretta L. Bell: What I’ve learned being a makeup artist for 22 years is never take it personal even though it’s a creative job. To be flexible so much happens on sets there’s always an adjustment, a light or costume change that may cause you to pivot from your original plan and design so you can’t be so convinced that you won’t compromise and this is where you learn it’s not personal it’s just Show Business!



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