Hello, and welcome to 2010! This time, I promised to tell you all about the how's, why's and wherefores of foundation, so without further ado, let's get to it.
Foundation makeup is a big part of how to "Look Like a Soap Star" as, indeed, it is the beginning of any good makeup job. The penetrating lights of a television studio make foundation an actor's best friend since, much more so than in real life, the inconsistencies of skin tones are magnified without it. Our complexions are made up of so many areas due to factors including age, ethnic background, lifestyle, and individualhealth of course. The primary purpose of foundation makeup is to blend these tones into a uniform whole, eliminating blotchy reds (like capillary veins on the nose, pimples, etc.) and eye bags (actually dark browns and purple tones) or the "reverse raccoon" effect of fishbelly-white around the whole of the eye area. On men, the beard tone is softened with foundation, taming the "blue beards" common to dark brunettes.
Foundation usually serves to "warm" the complexion -- especially on television -- and particularly those complexions of fair Caucasians who tend to wash out under the bright studio lights. This was indeed true of Susan Lucci (Erica) and Marcy Walker (ex Liza) during my All My Children experience, both fair beauties who needed warming under the lights without resorting to obviously fake "tan" makeup which never convinces. Foundation makeup should include the ears and the neck straight down to the collarbone, otherwise you will look like a pair of two-toned shoes in certain lighting situations with a face "warmed" by makeup resting on neck left "cold" without any. Check your local news broadcast and your favorite anchorman -- do his ears glow nearly white in the bright lights while his face, coated with foundation, looks normal? Men never seem to want makeup on their ears!
On television, foundation makeup is usually augmented with concealer of one type or another, under the eyes and over problem areas like pimples, scars, or shaving irritation. Note my photos of actress Carrie Genzel, taken when she was playing Skye Chandler at AMC in 1996. In the first, without any makeup, Carrie appears as the young, fresh-faced girl she was, but the advantages of basic foundation makeup and concealer are readily apparent in the second photo. Aside from that she's just wearing a touch of eye-pencil and mascara in what is really a very basic TV makeup job. Proof positive that, however beautiful they might be in real life, nobody enters the TV studio looking like a soap star.
Now for a few thoughts on the the state of soaps in general. As I say in my soap tell-all, "Makeup & Misery: Adventures in the Soap Factory" (makeupandmisery.com) this is likely to be a crucial year in Daytime history. June will see "As The World Turns" cease production after several decades on the air, while January found "All My Children" celebrating its 40th Anniversary--not in New York, but in Hollywood, where ABC has moved the show in an effort to streamline costs and keep its "crown jewel" from cancellation also.
Many veterans returned for this special episode on January 5th, notably Kelly Ripa (Hayley) and Mark Consuelos (Mateo) -- along with Julia Barr as Brooke English. Barr was abruptly dropped from the contract cast roster in 2006, with no storyline to explain her absence after 30 years on the show! It seems the writers are unable to weave the hard facts of network budget cuts into Pine Valley intrigues. With the move to Los Angeles, however, Barr has again signed on the dotted line and we will be seeing more of her in Pine Valley once again.
Of course, some in the cast have been sidelined by health issues in recent years, which prompts me to remember the late James Mitchell, lost to us on January 20th after a long battle with C.O.P.D. and complications from pneumonia, it was reported. Thankfully, James turned up as Palmer Cortlandt once more for the anniversary episode. Aged 89 at his passing, James had a long, eclectic career as an actor and dancer in films and on Broadway well before Pine Valley offered a comfortable career haven in his later years in New York, a performing arts mecca he loved. I worked with James for five years and, as I point out in "Makeup & Misery," he was among our wise AMC elders (also Ruth Warrick, Louis Edmonds, Frances Heflin, Eileen Herlie) who were grateful for a contract part on a high-rated serial to cap off their careers. Sadly, the rest preceded James in death, so his passing marks the end of an era in Daytime. He was a charming, soft-spoken gentleman who was modest indeed about his past achievements, and I so enjoyed discussing his Hollywood studio experiences which found him working alongside the biggest screen stars of the day.
As previously reported on Soapdom, a number of heavy-hitters have relocated to Los Angeles to take up their AMC duties -- Susan Lucci among them -- but it remains to be seen if this is fact or just press so fans aren't disillusioned and perceive a difference in a show which must inevitably morph into "Pine Valley West." It's hard to imagine elder cast members quitting their east coast digs so late in life to continue the daily grind of soaps -- particularly when their futures are threatened by reality shows and new media which have been steadily encroaching on the Daytime turf they once dominated. Guess we will have to all tune in tomorrow to see what happens.
Next time in Look Like a Soap Star, we will get into the process of contouring the facial features to improve any facial shape or type!