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Canada The Hair and Makeup Team Behind Ma Rainey's Black Bottom on Making Oscars History

04:05  15 april  2021
04:05  15 april  2021 Source:   msn.com

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Ma Rainey ’ s Black Bottom ’s hair department lead Mia Neal, Davis’s personal hairstylist Jamika Wilson, and Davis’s makeup artist Sergio Lopez-Rivera are up for one of the film’s five Academy Award nominations this year. Davis earned her fifth career nomination—the most ever for a Black female “It was a team effort from everyone from the beginning to the end,” she says. She considers her Oscar nomination an “out-of-body experience.” “My mind is totally blown,” adds Wilson, who was the hair department lead for How to Get Away With Murder and has also styled hair for Rihanna, Taraji P

The glam team behind " Ma Rainey ' s Black Bottom " made history at the 2021 Oscars . Hair department head Mia Neal, celebrity hairstylist Jamika Wilson and makeup artist Sergio Lopez-Revera took home the gold for best makeup and hairstyling at this year's Academy Awards. The 2020 drama also stars the late Chadwick Boseman who could become the third actor to posthumously win an Oscar . In addition to best makeup and hairstyling, " Ma Rainey ' s Black Bottom " has five additional nominations including best costume design, best actor, best actress and best production design.

Viola Davis as Ma Rainey © Photo: Courtesy of Netflix Viola Davis as Ma Rainey

During the wardrobe fitting for Netflix’s adaptation of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, lead actress Viola Davis challenged her glam squad to remove vanity from her transformation into becoming the legendary blues singer. She encouraged them to “do it scared.”

That tip from the Oscar winner paid off. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’s hair department lead Mia Neal, Davis’s personal hairstylist Jamika Wilson, and Davis’s makeup artist Sergio Lopez-Rivera are up for one of the film’s five Academy Award nominations this year. As Davis earns her fifth career nomination for portraying “the ugliest woman in show business,” the most ever for a Black actress, Neal and Wilson are also the first African-American women to get nominated in the hair and makeup category.

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Ma Rainey ' s Black Bottom has had an impressive award season. The Netflix movie, starring Viola Davis as the titular character, was nominated for five Oscars at the 2021 show on April 25th and ended up making history with its wins. The makeup and hair team of Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal, and Though all three took the stage in L.A. to accept the award, Neal spoke for all of them, using her speech to highlight those who came before her and the power of inclusivity. Neal spoke of her Black ancestors who paved the way for her and Wilson's historic win, saying, "Thank you to our ancestors who put the

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“Viola gave us all permission to just really focus on the character, not on Viola,” says Neal, a Juilliard alumna like Davis. “She wasn’t worried about how she personally appeared on camera. She wanted us to give the same experience to our audience that Ma Rainey had.”

Everyone doing the How to Get Away With Murder star’s hair and makeup started their individual research on “the Mother of the Blues” after costume designer Ann Roth’s team shared the fewer than 10 photographs that exist of the feisty, openly lesbian 1920s-era entertainer. Because information on Ma Rainey was scarce, each team member relied on details and facts about the roaring ’20s to accurately depict the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson’s singular work from his Century Cycle plays that chronicles a real person.

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Black women define beauty. Just take one look at the runways or red carpets or scroll through Instagram. There you’ll see their profound influence on trends, style, and culture. Tonight, the Academy finally recognized these trailblazing achievements for the very first time in the event’s history when Ma Rainey ’ s Black Bottom won the Makeup and Hairstyling Oscar . The history - making team includes hairstylists Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson, the first Black women to win in this category.

The hair and makeup trio helped Viola Davis transform into blues singer Ma Rainey in the Netflix drama, which also won for best costume design. It was the last film that Chadwick Boseman starred in before he died of colon cancer last August. He was nominated for best actor but lost to In December, Lopez-Rivera shared a behind -the-scenes Instagram pic of himself and Wilson styling Davis during filming. Reflecting on their win, Neal said that it paves the way for other Black artists to be recognized for their talent. Related: Hopkins made sure to honor the late star, whom he beat out to win best actor.

a woman posing for a picture: Viola Davis getting a hair touch-up from Mia Neal © Photo: Courtesy of Mia Neal Viola Davis getting a hair touch-up from Mia Neal

Neal found out directly from Roth, another Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Oscar nominee this year, that Ma Rainey wore horse hair wigs during her performances. The wire-like strands had to get imported from England, shipping to Neal covered in manure and lice eggs. Making matters worse, the follicles were too thick to fit through more than one lace: doubling the amount of time it normally takes Neal to make her fully ventilated, finely hair lined signature pieces by hand.

a close up of a colorful background: A straw wig perm in the works. © Photo: Courtesy of Mia Neal A straw wig perm in the works.

The Drama Desk Award winner for hair and wigs in Shuffle Along covered herself and her work area completely in plastic, oiled the hair numerous times, and used every cleaner she could get her hands on to sanitize the coarse mane. Later, she boiled it. The strands softened and held their curl once Neal dried them off, indicating to her why Ma Rainey wore horse hair wigs during performances. “It’s like today’s synthetic hair because it holds a set,” says Neal, who also worked on Broadway productions like Julius Caesar, A Raisin in the Sun, and The Iceman Cometh. “She was a Black woman traveling during the 1920s. She couldn’t get serviced in every salon, so she had to have something in her bag that was ready to go for her performance.”

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As we've been saying, Oscar history was made last night but there was a special moment when " Ma Rainey ' s black bottom " won for best makeup and hairstyling. Hairstylists, Jamika Wilson, Mia Neal, the first black women to win this award and let's bring in the Oscar winning hair and makeup team . Sergio, did you tell me, did you all have some kind of, I won't say advantage, but you and the team have all worked with Viola Davis for years, as a team , so in working on the movie now, did that all give you some kind of advantage? You were all with a good squad that was establish requested?

Ma Rainey ' s Black Bottom won the Oscar for the best makeup and hairstyling, and its recipients Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson, are the first black women to receive the honor. Keeping up with the diversity trend is Nomland's win: the film's director, Chloé Zhao, is the second woman in Oscars history to take home the award for best director and the first woman of color to do so. "This is for anyone who has the faith and the courage to hold on to the goodness in each other, no matter how difficult it is to do that.

Neal, the designer of Oprah Winfrey’s wig’s for 2017’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, created 100 wigs for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in less than three weeks, including the two Davis wore. She also made sure the background actors maintained their hairline, hair texture and color to complement the period piece.

Autherine Lucy et al. posing for a photo: An inspiration image on Mia Neal’s hair boards compared with the real-life cast. © Vogue An inspiration image on Mia Neal’s hair boards compared with the real-life cast.

Wilson, Davis’s hairstylist since 2008 following her role in Doubt, styled and applied Neal’s wigs to the star each day while protecting the custom wigs from the humidity in Pittsburgh where the film was shot. “It was a team effort from everyone from the beginning to the end,” she says.

She considers her Oscar nomination an “out of body experience.”

“My mind is totally blown,” adds Wilson, who was the hair department lead for How to Get Away With Murder and has also styled hair for Rihanna, Taraji P. Henson, and Donatella Versace. “I really can’t believe it; it’s such an honor and blessing. It wasn’t my goal to be a nominee for an award. It was to go to work and do my best. I’m going to do my best to bring myself back into my body so I can just enjoy the moment.”

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a man and a woman sitting on a table: Sergio Lopez-Rivera and Jamika Wilson getting Viola Davis into character © Photo: Courtesy of Sergio Lopez-Rivera Sergio Lopez-Rivera and Jamika Wilson getting Viola Davis into character

Lopez-Rivera has been Davis’s makeup artist since How to Get Away With Murder premiered in 2014. He came up with her character’s gold teeth, runny eyeshadow, and smeared cheek rouge with lipstick. He had no idea who Ma Rainey was when Davis asked him to be part of the film.

Lopez-Rivera knew immediately he had to convey the lack of access that Black women had to cosmetics. “I had to go back to where Ma Rainey came from,” the Spanish makeup artist says. “Her training wheels on-stage were in vaudeville. I’m having to fill in the blanks for when and where this woman learned to do makeup. Because there was no access, she has to make a lot of her stuff and apply it herself.”

So Lopez-Rivera, who’s done the faces of Andra McDonald, Allison Janney, Anika Noni Rose and Reese Witherspoon, used his pinky finger to tap, rub and draw all over Davis’s face. He intentionally made one eyebrow higher than the other to avoid creating symmetry or perfection. The BAFTA Award nominee relied on oral histories his grandmother often shared with him about women during the Spanish Civil War using burned wine corks and grease to make their own eyeshadow.

diagram: Sergio Lopez-Rivera’s sketch for Ma Rainey’s makeup. © Photo: Courtesy of Sergio Lopez-Rivera Sergio Lopez-Rivera’s sketch for Ma Rainey’s makeup.

Ma Rainey, a wealthy woman who wore furs and jewels regardless of the season, did her own makeup at every tour stop. “I wanted to incorporate this DIY quality to Viola and her character,” says Lopez-Rivera. “Our job was to erase the 21st Century from Viola. When every department treats this material the same way with the same curiosity, authenticity and willingness to be very specific, this is what you get: a movie that’s so textured, authentic and beautiful.”

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Receiving the Oscar nomination is a shared proud moment between Neal, Wilson and Lopez-Rivera. They’re grateful that they trusted Davis’s request. The trio hopes the honor, whether they win or not, will inspire more Black and brown creatives and those from underrepresented communities to seek out the possibilities that exist behind-the-scenes in entertainment.

“The possibilities are endless, and this nomination proves that,” Neal confirms. “Evolution is inevitable, and it’s happening. Any African-American or young person of color going into this field should know people do want diversity. Erase your own fears, doubts, and preconceived notions. You are wanted, and you will be welcomed. Go in and work hard because there is space for you, and we’re living examples of that.”

a group of people posing for a picture © Photo: Courtesy of Netflix
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