Learn, Adapt, and Stick to Your Gut: Local Hairstylists, Make-up Artists, and Photographers
Taking the concept from a screenwriter’s pages—or, more common these days, from the pages of Marvel—to the big screen, depends on make-up artists, perhaps some of the least-sung heroes of cinema. Patty Wheelock and Pam Danielle can tell you that. Both have extensive and impressive resumes as professional hairstylists and make-up artists in the film industry.
Wheelock grew up in LA, but three years ago, moved to the small town of Jacksonville; she goes back to her home city often for her job. “I started doing hair and make-up for print,” she says. “I worked for various photographers on ad campaigns such as Macy’s, Mercedes Benz, and Marshal Fields. I also worked with the iconic portrait photographer Dan Winters for various magazines such as Vanity Fair, Esquire, and GQ with celebrities such as Matthew McConaughey, Anthony Hopkins, and Ewan McGregor.”
In 1995 she met well-known commercial director Kinka Usher and quickly established a professional relationship with him. “We are close in age and understood each other’s references making the collaboration seamless. After that I never wanted to go back to print.” Her work in commercials includes the first iTunes and iPod ad, as well as Mountain Dew commercials. “As far as my biggest challenge, I would say having to work under a time constraint has been difficult. However, it forced me to be hyper-organized and very prepared, and quick with decision making, consequently giving me a great reputation as such. Being good is one thing, but being good and fast is mandatory in my field. One week I would do Mountain Dew with a cheetah and the next a McDonald’s commercial with a family.”
Pam Danielle, another local make-up artist, also hails from a large city—Honolulu—but has chosen small-town living (in Ashland for two decades); yet, she also still manages to work with international companies. “I started out with Japanese production companies in Honolulu and did hair and makeup
and hair for many Japanese clients from the Dentsu ad agency out of Tokyo,” she explains. Some of the companies she’s worked with are Cup of Noodles, Yamaha (motor cross and gear), a Japanese cruise line, Northwest Orient Airlines, Japan airlines, Canon, Nikon, and Jantzen swimwear. Not only has she worked with large international corporations, she’s also worked with Japanese celebrities.
Soon after relocating to Ashland, most of Danielle’s work consisted of photographing high school seniors throughout Oregon. “Treating each session like a full blown modeling job, I enjoyed being creative with hair makeup and wardrobe,” she says. “Also getting to direct each person putting them at ease to get what I want out of each shot. What interests me most about this job is engaging with new people and watching them discover the newness in themselves!”
Throughout her career, she’s learned “to stick to my gut feelings.” Pulling her inspiration from fashion photographers Richard Avedon and Francesco Scavullo, she hopes those who experience her work are inspired and encouraged by it.
“As to who inspires me,” Wheelcock says, “I would say it was the first director with whom I worked and did the majority of my work throughout the years, Kinka Usher. I owe him a lot as if was not for him giving me a chance, I would not have had the career that I had.” Being able to work with award-winning cinematographers such as John Toll (Braveheart, Iron Man 3), Allen Daviau (E.T., Empire of the Sun), and Janusz Kaminski (Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan). “I learned so much from all of them,” she says.
If learning from the experts, working in fast-paced environments, and sticking to your gut is what it takes to be a professional hairstylist, make-up artist, and photographer, Patty Wheelock and Pam Danielle can be considered experts themselves.