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“It’s so crazy,” enthuses makeup department head Eryn Krueger Mekash of the upcoming girl-powered flick Whip It. “It’s like a John Hughes movie…with more of an edge!” And no, the film isn’t a tribute to ’80s New Wave group Devo; rather, it’s about small-town girl Bliss Cavendar (Ellen Page) and her journey of self-discovery. While on this road, Bliss unexpectedly finds her voice amongst an eclectic group of tough-chick, Roller Derby darlings known as the Hurl Scouts.
Because of the film’s large ensemble cast, Mekash notes, “before I could really begin my job, I had to stop and think: ‘What would be good for each character?’ ‘How would she wear her makeup?’” Smashley Simpson (played by Drew Barrymore—who also produced and directed the film) is “a funky, free-spirited hippie,” explains Mekash. “I wanted to keep her look very natural and simple. Yet, to give her a roller-girl edge, I added a bold red lip for just a touch of dramatic flair.” Malice in Wonderland (Kristen Wiig) dons a Blade Runner-inspired look on the rink, with pearl and black eye makeup extending from her temples to her hairline.
For Mekash, Whip It proved to be the perfect fit. She says that she and husband/key makeup artist Mike Mekash “have always been big fans of the Roller Derby. I’m a close friend of Buckingham Malice [of Sirens Roller Derby Squad fame], so I’ve gone to a bunch of the Los Angeles Derby Dolls’ games and truly ‘looked’ at the players—their hair, their makeup, their clothes.” And, it appears, their wounds. The makeup team spent countless hours applying gobs of special effects makeup on the girls—bruises, broken noses—the works! “These women are fierce,” shares Mekash, “and I wanted the characters in the film to reflect that.”