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Local makeup artist preps talent

Posted: June 12, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 12, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Sally Van Swearingen touches up makeup on Liam McHugh, before Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Monday. McHugh is a host on “NHL on NBC.”

As if owning a local hair and makeup studio doesn’t put enough on Sally Van Swearingen’s list of things to do, last week she was called out to groom network broadcast announcers for the Kings Stanley Cup finals at Staples Center.

Also a working makeup artist in the entertainment industry, Van Swearingen, owner of The A List Hair and Makeup Studio in Santa Clarita, got called in to prepare sportscasters like NBC’s Al Michaels, Jeremy Roenick, Ed Olczyk and Liam McHugh to name a few

Prior to working the Stanley Cup Finals, Van Swearingen was asked to work with the on–air broadcasters for the Lakers playoffs running between the broadcasters booth and the announcers on the floor at half-time. She also manages the touch-ups during commercial breaks.

“We work very fast,” she said. “There’s very limited to groom them before they come back on the air. You have to be in good shape because you’re running from the main booth upstairs with the broadcasters and then you go down to somebody that’s working on the floor.”

In the world of live television broadcasts, makeup artists have to work and move very quickly to keep up with the pace of the broadcasts between commercial breaks.

Over the years, Van Swearingen has worked with many celebrities and CEOs, such as Paul Marciano, Dick Clark, Merv Griffin, Blake Lively, Alicia Silverstone, and CEOs for Princess Cruises and Amgen, she said. But sporting events, however, are a new venue for her.

And high-definition broadcasts have dramatically changed the way the makeup artist prepares her clients.

“In HD, everything you do has to be very, very minimal because everything gets picked up by the camera,” she said. “So you apply makeup less densely, not as heavy and allow some of the skin to show through. Before, you used heavy products. Now, the way you want your makeup to look on camera today is to look more natural.”

When preparing on-camera talent, you work to take the shadows off from under the eye, reduce redness and glare and smooth the skin, she said. An artist also adds a little bit of bronzer to someone who is fair-skinned, or tones the coloring down for someone who is not.

“If you don’t groom right, the person looks tired,” Van Swearingen said.

The other difference when working sporting events, she said, is that normally you have a central station and prepare all your talent in one main work area. In sporting events, the makeup artist has to carry all of their tools of the trade in one bag from place to place.

“In sports, security is extremely high,” Van Swearingen said. “Especially when I worked with the Lakers. I was carrying a big black back and even though I was on VIP list, just getting into the building with that bag was tough.”  /  661-287-5599


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