I’ll be honest I was never a huge fan of the original “IT”. The made for TV mini-series lacked the edginess I feel it need. I am sure people will disagree with me and that’s ok. Yes, we can all agree Tim Curry was great but in my opinion he was all the mini-series really had going for it. With that said I know people really love the original so when I heard they were remaking the movie I thought fans would reject it immediately. When I first saw the images of Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise I got excited. Not only did it hit the right tone I felt with the imagery but to me the makeup was instantly iconic. I still didn’t know if fans of the original would embrace the new IT. Maybe a month before the premiere I went to a horror convention and there was IT 2017 stuff everywhere and people were eating it up. There was even a guy walking around in full costume. The fever appeared to have hit strong with the horror community.
I follow a lot of makeup artists on Instagram and I started seeing a lot of different takes on the Pennywise makeup. They mostly leaned more in the clown, creature, and horror realm. I loved seeing everyone’s take on it and it made me want to do my own. I knew I couldn’t do a straight clown or horror take on it. As much as loved what I had been seeing from other artists I wanted to do something different. I decided I would do three beauty type makeups with a Pennywise twist. One would be a wedding theme, one dark and dramatic and the third just bright and colorful. I have a one track mind so once I had the Idea in mind I started building a team.
The first person I contacted was photographer Danny Alexander. He is always down to photograph my crazy makeup and he is damn good at it. I pulled in Michelle Villareal for hair because I knew something like this would give her a chance to flex some artistic muscle. With it being Pennywise wardrobe could be an interesting subject. I contacted my good friend and designer Kristina Kubrick. She and I decided on poufy clown style collars to pull the looks together. Then I just needed the right models.
With it being inspired by the Pennywise makeup I knew there would be a lot of focus on the lips since that is what the look is centered. Since I was doing more editorial beauty style looks, full lips were key to drive the look home. I know a lot of models with full lips so from that point I had to narrow it down to models I thought would be into this strange idea. I cast Amanda Terry, Katya Estes and Kenyatta Desha. Amanda is a huge horror fan so I knew she would be into it. With all of her tattoos and dark hair I knew people would expect her to be in the dark edgier look which is why I made her the softer wedding look. Well as soft as a Pennywise inspired makeup could be. Katya is a great friend and even if she wasn’t into the idea (which she was) she’d be down. I have done darker looks with Katya before and I knew she would kill it. Kenyatta with her her big eyes I knew she’d be perfect for a bright colorful look.
Wheels were set in motion and I was excited. A little more than a week before the shoot Danny posted a photo of himself where he did a light test mimicking the lighting they used in Blade Runner to denote the replicants. It basically forces red eye and makes the eyes glow amber. I thought it could mimic the Deadlights which are prominent in IT. I asked Danny if he would be down to give it a shot on this and in Danny fashion he was more than happy to. Knowing that this would be an interesting shoot I asked my buddy Louis Bowman if he would come shoot behind the scenes footage. He is great at filming and editing and being into horror himself I thought he’d be perfect.
The morning of the shoot Louis and I got there first and started blowing up balloons for the back drop until the first model showed up. Amanda showed up first and I made a template for the curled up smile on her face. I knew symmetry would be key with this look and eyeballing it wasn’t going to be an option. Luckily the template turned out to be one size fits all. With the amazing hair that Michelle was doing and the kick ass collars that Kristina had made I knew I had to turn in some good work. Katya was the first model completed in hair and makeup. Danny photographed here while we worked on Amanda and Kenyatta. He came over to show us a few of the shots and I was blown away. The lighting trick in the eyes worked perfectly. Everyone did a kick ass job making this vision happen and I am humbled to have been a part of such a talented team. I am so excited and proud with this shoot. This was truly all about team work. I think Stephen King would be proud.