Therese Sandersson gives an insiders look into the life of a makeup artist on a film set

Therese Sandersson gives an insiders look into the life of a makeup artist on a film set
The article gives a peek into the life of a film makeup artist (Getty Images)

Therese Sandersson began her career in hair and makeup design in 2001 and has worked mostly in films. She has also worked in TV series and commercials as well. She has received high-praise such as the comment from an actor on one of the film sets: "Sitting in her chair is like taking an elevator directly to the character you play".

The talented makeup artist has been described as one of the most helpful people on a set and the one who is always quick to find solutions to different problems. She is an organized person and extremely ambitious when it comes to her profession. Sandersson has an easy going attitude and is said to have a laugh that could brighten the whole room. 

Meaww decided to catch up with the makeup artist and find out what is going on in her life:

1. What inspired you to get into this line of work? 

It was a coincidence; a friend applied for a film school and I thought it sounded fun. This school was for all kinds of occupations within films. When I realized they also had a makeup and hair course I went for that. And it turned out to be perfect for me. I haven’t worked with anything else since then and it was now 18 years ago. 

2. What was it like working on the sets of a relatively big series like the 100 Code?

We had a lot of fun working on the 100 Code. Even though it might seem like a big series when you watch it, it was a normal Swedish production in terms of size of the team and budget and so on. The only difference from other jobs for me was that some of the actors and a few members of the crew where Americans. And it was such a pleasure to work with all of them.

3. You worked as a makeup designer for 6 episodes of the 100 Code and worked as a makeup artist for 1 of them. Can you explain what the difference between the two roles is?  

I was the makeup and hair designer for all of the episodes actually. I don’t really know why it says on IMDB that I was makeup artist on one of them. In Sweden, we don’t separate makeup and hair, we do both. On the 100 Code it was me and one assistant on a regular basis, and additionals if we where shooting with a second unit for example. A lot of hard work and long hours for a small makeup and hair department.

4. Do you have experience with FX prosthetics and did you use any in 100 Code?

We didn’t have a huge makeup budget on the series, we had to more or less work out of the kit. We didn’t use any prosthetics but a lot of sculpt gel which is a two component silicon you can sculpt straight on to the skin. We had to be very inventive with solutions that was cheap and fast. We where on a very tight schedule as well. For example if I had asked for one hour for a specific blood and gore makeup I would get 15 minutes.

5. Have you ever have any clients on a shoot who was absolutely impossible to work with? How did you deal with them?

I wouldn’t say that I’ve experienced that. There is always a way to get the work done. ;-)

6. You started working in 2002, tell us what your first few jobs on a film set were like.

My first paid job was as a makeup and hair assistant on a feature called the Invisible, shot in the summer of 2001. I had so much fun and of course learned a lot from the makeup designer. My goal as an assistant has always been to become the makeup artists' right hand and I think I was pretty good at it. I actually still collaborate and work with a few of the designers I was assisting in the beginning of my career. 

7. How much of training did you receive before being able to handle an entire production's needs by yourself?

The first production I did by myself was a mini series for Swedish public service TV in 2003. I had about three years of training and assisting at that time.

8. If you had to pick any other career aside from makeup artist, what would it be and why?

I really don't know. I can't see myself working with something else.

9. What cosmetic products do you use on a regular basis?

For a work day I always use foundation, blusher and mascara. On a day off at home no makeup. Maybe a tiny bit of mascara.

10. When and how do you clean your makeup tools?

I clean them every day. Using bile soap or if I'm in a hurry Botanical brush cleaner with is a fast drying spray brush cleaner from Jane Iredale.

11. Out of all the projects you've worked on so far, which one was your favorite and why?

I tend to think that the project I'm currently working on is the most fun project of all times. At the moment we are shooting the third season of a TV-series called the Bonus Family with the most lovely cast and a great script. 
Artistically i would have to say my favorite projects has to be the feature film Becoming Astrid, because it's set in the period 1920's and I got to work with an amazing makeup designer and great team on hair and makeup. And the feature film Swoon which is set in the 1940s where I got to do the most beautiful makeups and hair I have ever done. And also because I love period pieces and I have a great interest in history

12. If you had to describe yourself in just one word, what would it be?


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