LA Based Makeup Artist, ASHLYN MELANCON, Reveals What’s It’s Been Like Working With Artists Like CHILDISH GAMBINO, USHER and More!
Posted On 10 Jun 2015
Tag: #sober, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, Artist Interview, Ashlyn Melancon, Being Beige, Childish Gambino, Donald Glover, Dr. Dog, Epic Rap Battles of History, Eva Lohse, Gettin Jiggy With It, HAIM, Hands of Stone, Hozier, Jason Colon, Los Angeles, Makeup Artist, Microsoft, Modest Mouse, NINJA Entertainment, Panama, Pollution Films, Portugal.The Man, Roberto Duran, RxBandits, Smashing Pumpkins, St. Vincent, Sugar Ray Leonard, Sunset Boulevard, Uncross The Stars, Usher, Wes Anderson, Will Smith, Work Song, YouTube, Zankou Chicken
Just one look at Ms. Ashlyn Melancon’s website or her IMDB page and you’ll see that she stays incredibly busy here in LA doing makeup and hair professionally. Her most famous clients include many well-known musicians like Usher, Childish Gambino and most recently, Hozier.
Learn more about her in the following All Access interview:
Can you remember the moment that you decided you wanted to be a makeup artist? Has this always been your passion?
I grew up face painting my younger siblings and I always wanted to make movies. When I was in high school I was studying film editing but also doing everyone’s hair and makeup for all of the dances. Once I figured out that I could do makeup and make movies as my job, I dropped everything and started doing that.
What was your first makeup job?
A feature film called “Uncross the Stars”. The production came from LA to film in Arizona, where I’m from. I worked for free as an intern for a month and my Department Head, Eva Lohse, ended up bringing me to LA with the crew for the last week of filming. She let me stay with her in her apartment and years later when I moved to LA I actually eneded up taking over that same apartment from her. I attribute a lot of my start in film to Eva, she’s kind of my hero.
One of my favorites is a YouTube show I do called “Epic Rap Battles of History”. We turn our two main cast and guest stars into different historical and pop culture figures and they rap battle each other. It’s really clever and they’re always challenging me to find different ways turn them into each character. Most of the time we don’t have the time or ability to get wigs made so I end up buying a few different things and piecing them together like a puzzle until we look in the mirror and go “that’s it!”
You recently caught my attention when I saw that you were part of the latest Childish Gambino music video released for his song, “Sober”. Whose makeup were you responsible for during that shoot?
I was in charge of everyone on screen. Donald Glover (AKA Childish Gambino) was the priority since they wanted him to have an exaggerated “strung out” look.
What was that experience like? Tell me about Doomsday Entertainment. How did you get involved with them for this video?
Music videos are always crazy fun because you accomplish so much in such a short amount of time. I met producer Jason Colon on a Smashing Pumpkins music video called “Being Beige” I did a few months ago and after that he brought me onto the Gambino shoot. For “Sober” we spent all night in a Zankou Chicken and before the sun came up we had choreographed effects, Donald hanging from the ceiling on wires, pigeons, and made it snow on Sunset Boulevard. It was a great night!
What upcoming projects do you have?
We just finished up a music video for Hozier’s “Work Song” which was also a long night with a lot of choreography that really paid off. That was with “Pollution Films”. Next we’re doing a short film for Microsoft that is a really cool concept with NINJA Entertainment. It’s more of a film narrative which is one of my favorite things to do so I’m looking forward to it!
The last major thing you worked on was a feature about Roberto Duran called “Hands of Stone” that shot in Panama. What was it like turning pop superstar, Usher into Sugar Ray Leonard? Was he a patient subject?
It was one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. I couldn’t have asked for a more patient, dedicated, kind person in my chair. Usher spent 3 hours every day getting a combo of full body tattoo cover and character makeup. He even let me shave his own hairline back to match Leonard’s! What a guy!
A Wes Anderson project would be my dream job. I want to help create in that world. I want to live in that world.
Since this is a music publication, I have to ask you who your favorite musicians are?
Oh man, so hard! I just saw St. Vincent and I love a chick that can shred guitar. So obviously I love HAIM too. Some of my all times are Modest Mouse, Portugal. The Man, and Dr. Dog. I love a good live show. I’ve seen RxBandits around 20 times…they’re a great live show.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so, who do you usually listen to?
I almost always play my jambox while I work as it’s part of my kit. I have a few different Spotify playlists I bounce between depending on mood. I have a go to playlist my fiance’s brother made which is a super eclectic mix of every song you can think of. “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” It always gets the best response from everyone in the trailer!