ELAC actor, makeup. designer enjoys doing what she does

By Steven Adamo

Actor and “Enfrascada” makeup designer Maribel Chavez uses historic events as inspirations behind her designs. “Every piece and every makeup look and hair design all had intention,” Chavez said.

Attention to detail is important to Chavez. “What I’ve been trying to learn as a designer is knowing the history and the detail of it,” Chavez said. 

“Why is this look important, why should she have these colored lips…it all makes a statement.” 

One example Chavez gives is from a character in “Enfrascada” with Aztec ancestry who wears turquoise eyeliner. “Turquoise is a very popular color for the Aztec tribe,” Chavez said.

Before entering the makeup room, Chavez requests the actors enter the room in character to help the process to move organically. 

She said that the actor’s character should be a part of the design decisions. “I basically tell them to get in that headspace,” Chavez said. “The minute you come in, get into your character and get ready like your character would for the day. Embody it.” 

By including the actor in the makeup design process, visual aspects of the play can remain true to the characters and story. “If it’s not working, that helps me as a designer to pick a better solution,” Chavez said. 

During the spring 2022 semester, Chavez worked as the assistant to theater department makeup designer Teresa Acosta for the production of Aristophane’s “The Birds. She’s super helpful and has a lot of ideas,” Acosta said. “She’s very well researched and she knows her stuff.” 

Chavez enjoys learning through observation on set and by networking with other artists. 

Alisha L. Baijounas, makeup artist for television shows “Abbott Elementary” and “This Fool,” offered guidance to Chavez on her career path, such as building a resume. 

During her junior year of High School, Chavez discovered her passion for makeup design through her love of acting. She has acted since the age of eight and moved to California from Utah in 2018 to pursue both acting and makeup design. 

“Coming here to ELAC and taking the classes, it definitely made me know that this is what I want to do aside from acting,” Chavez said. “If I’m not acting, then I’m doing the makeup; so either way, I’m doing what I enjoy doing.” 

Last semester, Chavez acted in the play “ELACtricity” as the role of the secretary. Her next role in “The Country Wife,” by William Wycherley and directed by David Laird Scott, opens in December. 

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