Grin & Dagger: SFX Artist Chelsea Derber
Bouncing between snaps of high-fashion editorial makeup creations and out-of-the-box artistic explorations, Chelsea Derber really knows how to make her Instagram followers double-tap like fiends.
Determined to learn more about this self-taught—yes, really!—special effects makeup artist, we chatted with her about a few choice topics.
How did you first get drawn into the world of special effects makeup?
I got into it by accident! I was pursuing an acting career and had an audition with a physical theatre company for a work experience placement. I ended up walking into the wrong audition room, but didn't realise until I had gotten the job and found myself fully immersed in the Scare Acting Industry!
We had to apply our own makeup and I was absolutely awful, but it fascinated me, so I ended up practicing at home.
I bought myself four face paints (green, black, red and brown) and some fake blood and started from there. Eventually, I found myself working in a horror maze for a well-known attraction in the UK, where we had minimal makeup and little time to apply it.
People started asking me to do their makeup, complimenting me on my blending. I remember hearing one of my colleagues talking to a newbie, saying I was a makeup artist, and Newbie's response was "yeah, but can she do this?" Showing a photo of a gouged eye. The seed was planted, pride got in the way and I was hooked.
I practiced on my next day off and successfully gouged my own eye out, with liquid latex, toilet paper and a hell of a lot of blood! The photo of which is still on my Instagram.
Do you have any tips to make makeup stay put longer?
Depends on your skin type, but generically, clean skin is happy skin and skin care is really important. Cleanse, moisturise and exfoliate regularly. Otherwise, you'll have unwanted texture, which will be harder to conceal, which means that you will end up needing more layers of makeup and your makeup will be more prone to caking, melting, creasing, etc.
Also, a good base for your makeup! It doesn't necessarily have to be a primer; find something that is right for you and your skin type. Anything high in glycerin will work.
What products do you typically use to create over-the-top looks?
For SFX, it would be sculpt gel. Any kind of beauty-related makeup would definitely include metallic foil—or something shiny!
Which SFX makeup artists do you follow?
What is one thing that people should know about you?
I've been a horse rider for over 20 years and competed internationally in showjumping.
Anything else you'd like to add?
I can't whistle.