Introducing Norman Bryn, Make-Up Artist to the Soap Stars


Norman Bryn, Make-Up Artist to the Soap StarsHi, my name is Norman Bryn, a 30-year veteran of the makeup industry and the author of the new book, "Makeup & Misery: Adventures in the Soap Factory," ( a cosmetic "tell-all" of my long experience with soap actresses including Kelly Ripa (Hayley), Susan Lucci (Erica) and Sarah Michelle Gellar (Kendall #1).  I've been invited by SOAPDOM.COM to contibute to this column, Look Like A Soap Star, which brings me to the point of my first article for you readers:

As I relate in my book, rarely do actors arrive at the studio looking like a soap star! I've been dating on recently (I'm Facepainter409), and the most common thing I hear from women who respond is how intimidated they are by the fact I'm "surrounded" by gorgeous actresses constantly. I'm left to explain that I see these actors first thing in the morning--bleary-eyed, with dry skin, dark circles and acne just like all the rest of us! Their hair is matted and lifeless as they await the attentions of soap beauticians who transform the cast into the characters you see each afternoon.

This is an important distinction to drive home in an era in which young girls are having beauty role models thrown at them via TV, movies and magazines constantly. Stick-figure models, pop-stars and actresses offer a formidable yardstick to measure up to, but we must remember that their perfection is in large part an illusion created by skilled beauty professionals working in well-equipped facilities.

The makeup/hair department at a soap opera, for example, is in fact an in-house beauty salon with barber chairs, shampoo sinks, and an array of tools and supplies to achieve professional results on every actor every morning. Sure, you might be OK with styling your own hair for work in the morning, but wouldn't YOU "look like a soap star" daily with a professional at your disposal to stand behind you with a big round brush and a blow dryer or a curling iron to upgrade your hairstyle? How about a TV makeup artist to tweeze and arch your eyebrows, or countour your facial proportions into the most desired shape?

All soap actresses, from the teens to the elders, benefit from such services, which are mandatory in a medium where the lighting can be brutal since daytime soaps are produced at a much faster pace than movies or primetime television. Better, softer lighting takes a lot of time to achieve, and in "Makeup & Misery" you will read how difficult this issue made life for everybody at All My Children and other soaps I worked on. The Lighting Designers at these programs are thrown together with makeup, hair, and wardrobe in a daily battle to achieve flattering results despite time and budget constraints which conspire to keep anybody from "looking like a soap star!"

Next time, I will get into the nitty-gritty of techniques I used to combat the studio lighting issues and keep our stars looking their best.


Last Updated ( Monday, 21 December 2009 11:20 )