Underpaid and Overworked, Hollywood Hair & Makeup Pros Are Also Demanding Change

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I also just got diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. I’m on medication for the rest of my life. If I don’t have health insurance, starting in January of next year, what is my medication going to cost me? What are my doctor follow-up visits going to cost? If I don’t have health insurance, I can’t afford it.

Mara Roszak, nonunion celebrity hairstylist, co-owner of Mare Salon and founder of ROZ Hair

We had [a press tour] for Zoë Saldana’s show, Special Ops: Lioness, leading up to the strike. Her makeup artist, who is in the union, and I were flying back from London. We were waiting to hear if the press was going to continue on or if it was going to end with London. We were continuing in LA and New York if SAG didn’t strike, but it was looking like it was going to come to that, so my work ended once we got back to Los Angeles.

The idea is that artistic contribution is replaceable, but the bottom line is that we’re not — actors, writers, hair and makeup included. We’ve already seen such a decline in our value as artists, and I see this strike as a fight for the human side of artistry, for the value humans bring to the creative process and the end result.

Our specific jobs are so much more than what is seen; they’re also the environment we create and the space we hold. This community is strong, composed of incredibly intelligent, talented creators who will persevere, but change is ultimately needed. I’m hopeful that [the actors and writers] will be successful, because it’s a long-time coming. It’s about the greater good.

Alexandra French, Emmy-winning makeup artist, member of IATSE Local 706

When I was on Euphoria, [someone] had said that she was hearing the [studios] were already working on AI. She was like, “They’re gonna scan actors, then they’re going to put them in, and then our jobs are not going to be needed.” For example, they’ll scan Zendaya’s face and take her words from other movies and make it into a movie and do hair, makeup, wardrobe, everything in post. I was like, “Oh, come on. That’s not gonna happen.” But this was before everyone was talking about AI and doing the [viral] AI pictures and stuff.

If we just let this go, it will never be the same. Most people who work in hair and makeup do background work. Not just actors! I think that’s why everyone knows, like, “Holy shit, our entire career is on the line.” It trickles down to restaurants and catering and laundromats. Anything you can think of. The whole city [of Los Angeles] runs on this industry.

Anonymous, makeup artist, member of IATSE Local 798

IATSE is not on strike, but it’s important to everyone I’ve spoken with that we support the workers who are. The strike has been a financial and emotional strain, but in a different way, uplifting.

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