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Interview With Hair & Makeup Team of Netflix's "Blonde" Jaime Leigh McIntosh and Tina Roesler Kerwin

By Tammy Reese

From director Andrew Dominik, and based on the bestselling novel by Joyce Carol Oates, ‘Blonde’ boldly reimagines the life of one of Hollywood’s most enduring icons, Marilyn Monroe. From her volatile childhood as Norma Jeane, through her rise to stardom and romantic entanglements, ‘Blonde’ blurs the lines of fact and fiction to explore the widening split between her public and private selves.

Tammy Reese of Heart of Hollywood Magazine obtained an exclusive interview with the Hair & Makeup Team of Netflix’s “Blonde” Jaime Leigh McIntosh and Tina Roesler Kerwin.

Jaime Leigh McIntosh (Hair Department Head)

Please tell us about your role and experience working on the film BLONDE.

My role as Head of the Hair department is to oversee anything hair related for our cast and background talent. I was responsible for designing the wigs and looks for Ana de Armas’ character Norma Jean in the film. As the head of the hair department I worked closely with our director, Andrew Dominik, to understand how to help facilitate his vision for all the characters in the film and to then oversee and help my team bring that to fruition daily.I then worked closely with Tina Roesler Kerwin, the Makeup Department Head, and Jennifer Johnson, the Costume Designer, to make sure we were all on the same page and that our respective work complimented each character.

My experience working on Blonde is one I won’t forget any time soon. It was a massive undertaking. On one hand, I felt the responsibility to do Norma Jean and Marilyn Monroe justice while also making sure I delivered work for Andrew and Ana that they were pleased with and then of course hoping die-hard Marilyn fans are happy with what they see. On top of that we had an incredibly limited budget, tight schedule and so so many different iconic images and film clips to recreate, so it was a huge challenge but lucky for me, I love a good challenge especially when given the chance to work on a project as exciting as Blonde.

What was it like working with Ana de Armas who plays the role of Marilyn Monroe?

I had previously worked with Ana on Bladerunner 2049 so I knew going into this that Ana was going to come to set ready to give this role everything she had with a smile. I know I needed to come into this doing with the same attitude. Ana was incredible to watch in action. She was being pulled and pushed in every direction with wigs, partial bald cap prosthetic transfers, makeup and costumes, and always under a time crunch but she always showed patience and kindness. She helped us any way she could while also giving the performance of a lifetime that really blew our minds. I will always think of her as “Our Marilyn.”

Why do you think it’s important for audiences to see this film and what makes BLONDE different than other Marilyn Monroe films?

I think it’s important for movie lovers to see this film because it is art. It is not your run of the mill film. It is thought-provoking, unsettling, beautiful yet brutal, and shot in the most exquisite way. Blonde is different from any other Marilyn Monroe film in that it’s based on a novel. It’s not a biopic. This allowed Andrew, as a Director, and Ana as an actress, to go places others have not. This is what really drew me to wanting to work on this project in the first place. Not only is Blonde a period film which gave me the opportunity to recreate Marilyn Monroe’s most iconic looks but the script itself was raw and dark in a way that really intrigued me.

What do you enjoy most about your career and what keeps you motivated to stick with it?

I enjoy the variety of projects I work on and the challenges I face within my career. I love that a project may only last 6 weeks and that you’re then off on a new adventure, working with different people, facing a new set of challenges and creating completely different hairstyles. It is not a career for someone that does not love what they do.

What other projects have you worked on that you’re proud of and what can we be on the lookout for from you?

I currently have Don’t Worry Darling in theaters. This Christmas, I’ll have Damien Chazelle’s Babylon hitting the screens and then next year. Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer will hit theaters.

Keep up to date:

Emmy Award-nominated hairstylist Jaime Leigh McIntosh knew very early on that she wanted to be a hairstylist, which was confirmed after watching Sarah Kelly's behind-the-scenes documentary Full Tilt Boogie, about the making of the 1998 film From Dusk to Dawn.

Jaime Leigh instantly fell in love with the colorful world of filmmaking from her early beginnings as a Hair and Makeup artist for background talent on Peter Jackson's King Kong, where Jaime Leigh received invaluable wig training under the guide of Peter Swords King, to a decade of honing her craft on projects such as Peter Jackson's The Hobbit Trilogy and James Cameron's Avatar, both under the guidance and teaching of Hair & Makeup supervisor/designer Rick Findlater.

Projects as head of the department include Damien Chazelle's Babylon, starring Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Diego Calva; Taika Waititi's Next Goal Wins, starring Michael Fassbender and Elizabeth Moss; and Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer, starring Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt and Robert Downey Jr. Jaime Leigh will also be Ana de Armas' personal hairstylist on Len Wiseman's upcoming film Ballerina, which starts shooting in Prague fall 2022.

Notable credits include being the head of department on Andrew Dominik's Blonde, starring Ana de Armas, Olivia Wilde's Don't Worry Darling, starring Florence Pugh, Harry Styles and Olivia Wilde; and Joe Berlinger's Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, starring Zack Efron and Lily Collins; personal hairstylist to Michelle Pfeiffer on Showtime Network's The First Lady, which earned Jaime Leigh an Emmy-nomination for "Outstanding Period And/Or Character Hairstyling"; key hairstylist on Jay Roach's Bombshell, for which the Hair team won a Make-Up and Hair Stylists (MUAH) Guild Award for "Best Contemporary Hair Styling"; and hairstylist on Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049, for which the Hair team received an MUAH Guild Award-nomination for "Best Period and/or Character Hair."

In addition to her head of department and personal hairstylist credits, Jaime Leigh was co-head of department on films such as Jordan Peele's US and Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's Captain Marvel.

Tina Roesler Kerwin (Makeup Department Head)

Please tell us about your role and experience working on the film BLONDE.

My role on Blonde was the Makeup Department Head. Basically, that means everything to affordably, efficiently and creatively provide Makeup Design and Makeup FX Design for the film. Director Andrew Dominick had a very clear vision of the looks he wanted to recreate. Ana de Armas who played Norma/Marilyn and Jaime Leigh McIntosh, Hair Department Head, were both fully on board with the collaboration to find our Marilyn.

The experience of working on Blonde was different from any other film I’ve worked on before. Transforming someone into a well-known Hollywood icon in of itself is a big responsibility. With so many famous looks, so little time and money, this task was enormous from the very beginning and never let up. With the help of Andrew, Ana, Jaime Leigh, Costume Designer Jennifer Johnson and the Cinematographer Chayse Irvin, I feel like we have created something very special and very beautiful. I’m proud and honored to be part of this new classic film.

What was it like working with Ana de Armas who plays the role of Marilyn Monroe?

I had not met Ana before Blonde. She was patient and very engaged in the process of finding our Marilyn. Ana, Jaime Leigh and I spent lots of time together every morning while we went thru the daily task of prepping her hair with treatment, putting on the wig cap, applying the custom silicone prosthetics and all the makeup, lashes and lips and then the wig before heading to Costumes and finally set. Once on set it became very clear, on day one, that Ana had done her own extensive prep as she mesmerized us day after day with her talent and commitment to this film. Ana and I have since worked on a few other films with another one starting in October. I’m so grateful for these opportunities.

Why do you think it’s important for audiences to see this film and what makes BLONDE different than other Marilyn Monroe films?

Blonde is a film that is visually beautiful and emotionally challenging but it’s not a biopic. Audiences will be confronted with someone trying to balance the effects of childhood trauma in private life and relationships with a very different public persona as well as the challenges of a male-dominated industry. It’s not for the faint of heart.

What do you enjoy most about your career and what keeps you motivated to stick with it?

The film/television industry is not a business for just anyone. You must embrace change, uncertainty, long hours away from your home and family, a freelance lifestyle and income. But for me, I will never get tired of the creative environment and collaboration to reach an end goal. Films like Blonde, or any project that provides new creative challenges, will inspire me to keep going. I’m an Artist at heart and will always look for something to inspire me.

What other projects have you worked on that you’re proud of and what can we be on the lookout for from you?

I’m proud of every project that I’ve survived because it is a difficult business. But a film I did many years ago that I’m still very proud of is Boogie Nights. Another opportunity to do period Makeup, which is always fun.

As I mention, Ana, Jaime Leigh and I will soon start a John Wick spinoff called Ballerina. This will be a very, very different look than Blonde and I’m looking forward to seeing what challenges that will bring!

Keep up to date:

Emmy Award-nominated Makeup Artist Tina Roesler Kerwin has been a painter her entire life. A part-time college job at a department store's cosmetics area would eventually lead Tina to a new way of channeling her painting skills: make-up.

From working with models, actors, and sport stars including the Texas Rangers and members of the political arena, to being a make-up artist on Richard Pearce's Leap of Faith, starring Steve Martin, Tina would go on to be the Makeup Department Head on three of Oscar-nominated director Paul Thomas Anderson's films: Boogie Nights, starring Mark Wahlberg and Julianne Moore and Phillip Seymour Hoffman; Magnolia, starring Tom Cruise and William H. Macy; and Punch Drunk Love, starring Adam Sandler and Emily Watson.

Tina recently worked as the Makeup Department Head on Andrew Dominik's Blonde, starring Ana de Armas, Adrien Brody, and Bobby Cannavale; and on Joseph Kosinski's Top Gun 2: Maverick, starring Tom Cruise; as well as the Personal Makeup Artist to Ana de Armas on both Adrian Lyne's Deep Water and Anthony and Joe Russo's The Gray Man. Upcoming projects include Len Wiseman's Ballerina, starring Ana de Armas, which starts shooting in Prague next month.

Notable Makeup Department Head credits include Phyllis Nagy's Mrs. Harris, starring Ellen Burstyn, Frances Fisher, and Mary McDonnell, for which Tina received an Emmy nomination for "Outstanding Makeup for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Non-Prosthetic)"; Mike Mills' Beginners, starring Ewan MacGregor, Christopher Plummer, and Melanie Laurent; Terrence Malick's To The Wonder, starring Rachel McAdams and Jessica Chastain; David Ayer's End of Watch, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena; Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Freidman's Lovelace, starring Amanda Seyfried, James Franco, and Sarah Jessica Parker; Nash Edgerton's Gringo, starring Joel Edgerton and Amanda Seyfried; Yorgos Lanthimos's The Killing of a Sacred Deer, starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell; and many more.

In addition to her Makeup Department Head credits, Tina has also been the Personal Makeup Artist to numerous actors including Nicole Kidman on Neil Burger's Untouchable and The Upside; Jim Carrey on Jeff Fouler's Sonic the Hedgehog; Christina Ricci on Scott Marshall's All's Faire in Love; Eva Longoria on Jeff Lowell's Over Her Dead Body; and more.

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Tammy Reese began her career as a theater actress performing in 60 live stage shows a year with The Media Unit TV and Stage Production Company. She also directed the weekly live TV show Rough Times Live.

Eventually, she went to Empire State College to obtain her degree in media studies. After graduation, she did more theater and wrote and produced her own videos to spread awareness on social issues through the arts.

Tammy is an award-winning journalist and is best known for her legendary interviews with Sigourney Weaver, Meagan Good, Laurence Fishburne, Jackie Long, Omar Epps, Joseph Sikora, Tonya Pinkins, Carmen Electra, Giancarlo Esposito, Leon, Patina Miller, Nelly, Essie Davis, Britt Lower, Bobby V, Geena Davis, Michael James Shaw, Dedee Pfeiffer, Courtney Kemp, Kathleen Robertson, Janet Hubert, Tom Arnold, Michole Briana White, Matt Cedeño, Raven Goodwin, Amber Riley, and many more.

Heart Of Hollywood Magazine Contributor

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