‘Euphoria’ Makeup Designer Doniella Davy on Favorite Season 2 Looks
Table of Contents Season 2’s makeup on “Euphoria” is “Season 1’s introverted sister,” explains the…
Table of Contents
Season 2’s makeup on “Euphoria” is “Season 1’s introverted sister,” explains the show’s lead makeup designer Doniella Davy.
As “Euphoria” fans everywhere gather to watch the latest chapters of Sam Levinson’s gripping fever dream on HBO Max (leading up to the Season 2 finale on Sunday), they are mesmerized by the both glam and gritty special effects seen in the world of East Highland. While Season 1 featured faces adorned with endless rhinestones, glitter and more, Davy notes that Season 2 stepped into a quieter (but equally-stunning) approach.
“I didn’t want to continue with the exact same MO as Season 1. Part of me wanted to, because people were loving that, but… broadly across this show, there were stylistic, aesthetic changes and shifts,” Davy told Variety. “I think the main point, in a one-liner, of Season 2 makeup is to showcase that… a bold makeup look doesn’t have to be a huge look. You can do smaller details, and create something bold and something expressive without seeing it from a mile away.”
As all of “Euphoria’s” characters evolve throughout the series, Davy stresses that the makeup department tries “not be too prescriptive” in terms of constructing signature styles for each individual. Still, there are some overarching trends.
Maddy’s (Alexa Demie) looks, for example, are focused on “structure — like wings structure, less bells and whistles” with room for color; while the makeup for Jules (Hunter Schafer) “got less feminine this season” and Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) is “easily influenced” by the people around her (notably Maddy and Jacob Elordi’s Nate). Kat (Barbie Ferreira) is “still new to makeup… so she’s still trying on different looks in my mind,” said Davy — all of which contrast to characters like Rue (Zendaya), who has almost “no ‘beauty’ moments” in Season 2.
Not all of the makeup on “Euphoria” is used for glam. Davy, who has worked on a range of projects including “The Underground Railroad,” “Under the Silver Lake” and “Moonlight,” noted that “Euphoria” allowed her team to blend very vocal makeup with “invisible” work.
“In those past projects, the makeup has to remain invisible and be like an undetectable part of the story. But much of that we do on ‘Euphoria,’ too. There’s a lot of special effects and character works: scars, tattoos, cuts, bruises, heroin track marks, the fake arm that the morphine needle went into… fake penises,” she said. “That collides with a sort of glam of ‘Euphoria’… [It’s] my ideal combo.”
When reflecting on Season 2’s makeup, Davy also shared some of her favorite looks with Variety.
Jules’ New Year’s Eve Eyes (S2 E1)
Season 2 of “Euphoria” begins with a climactic New Year’s Eve party. Jules wears striking black makeup on the insides of her eyes — with small, graphic shapes reaching towards her nose. The look strongly contrasts to the colorful shades and playful shapes (including hand-drawn clouds) that Jules used in Season 1.
“Those dark shapes draw you into her gaze… It kind of scared me. I was like, ‘Oh, this look weirdly is suiting this moment,’” said Davy. “It wasn’t some big, crazy, transformative look. So that was the perfect example of a bold look that is not even really that bold — small shapes can have a great impact.”
Maddy’s New Year’s Eve Long Wings (S2 E1)
Also at the New Year’s Eve party, Maddy sports a signature wing — which is especially stunning thanks to its bold length.
“I wanted to see how long we could make that wing without it looking ridiculous. At one point, I wanted it to go into her hairline — but then I was like, ‘That’s too much, let’s hang out right on the edge of almost two much,’” said Davy. “I just died for how that looked on screen — and her profile [when] she’s banging on the door.”
Davy added that Demie “had her own vision for [Maddy’s] makeup this season. And we just went with that because… she knows her character better than everyone else.”
Nate’s Face After Fezco Beats Him (S2 E2)
At the end of episode one’s New Year’s Eve party, Fezco (Angus Cloud) beats Nate in retaliation for blackmailing Jules and Rue, threatening his drug-dealing business and putting his livelihood on the line. In Episode 2, viewers see Nate’s face — which is left extremely bloody, bruised and swollen.
“A lot of prosthetics were involved,” said Davy, adding that her team outsourced and collaborated with effects artist Vincent Van Dyke. “Also fun fact about that [Nate look], the whole left eyebrow is completely fake. It’s all fake hair punched into the silicone.”
“Euphoria” makeup artist and assistant department head Tara Lang Shah carefully applied and painted the prosthetics onto Elordi’s face. It was a time-consuming task. “It would take anywhere from two hours to probably three or four hours the first time it’s applied. And then she had to do it so many times because we shoot out of order — we’ll go back to the same scene and shoot another piece of it months later,” Davy said.
Maddy’s Double Wing in Samantha’s Closet (S2 E2)
In Episode 2, we get a glimpse into Maddy’s new job babysitting. She works for Samantha (Minka Kelly), a chic mother who has a luxurious closet full of high-end, designer clothes. While Samantha and her husband are away, Maddy makes a habit of trying on gorgeous outfits — notably in a fashion montage where she wears a lovely double-wing on her eyes.
“I love when she’s on the phone and she’s like, ‘No.’ She’s just being future Maddy — a badass boss, fashion editor at some magazine Maddy of the future,” said Davy when reflecting on the scene — adding that the double wings required very “technical” work. “Those looks just took a really long time. They’re all about creating that wing that’s perfect from all angles. Sometimes it’s impossible to make it perfect… [but] I’m proud of how those looks turned out.”
Cassie Trying to Be Maddy (S2 E3)
In Episode 3, viewers watch Cassie perform an extensive ritual each morning to get ready for school and attempt to get Nate’s attention by looking like Maddy.
“She comes to school and looks disturbingly like Maddy, and it’s totally wrong for Cassie,” said Davy. She added that it’s “always fun” to create “character looks slash beauty looks — they’re not just meant to be cool looks, there’s something deranged about the look… Part of that is in the makeup itself, and part of that is the way Sydney, or any of the actors, bring it to life.”
When Cassie isn’t trying to fully morph into her (ex-ish) best friend, she often wears shimmery and “youthful” pinks and blues. “Her looks generally are softer glam looks than Maddy… always with the dewy, flushed cheeks and all that to sort of show her anxiety and emotion burning through the makeup look,” said Davy. Still, “she uses makeup the most this season… to try desperately to hold on to Nate and transform herself — and just be these different versions of what she thinks he’s looking for.”
Rue’s Fake Arm for the Morphine Needle (S2 E5)
Throughout Episode 5, Rue goes through the devastatingly painful effects of withdrawal. Out of desperation, Rue goes to drug kingpin Laurie’s (Martha Kelly) house — where Laurie later injects morphine into her arm. It’s difficult to watch the numerous poke-attempts, but (thankfully) a fake arm was used to film the shot.
“Zendaya is not on camera at all during that part, but she’s sitting in the bathtub and she was holding the fake arm. And she was making it quiver a bit — the arm shakes because she’s supposed to be scared,” said Davy, who added that the fake arm, made of silicone, had a reservoir of fake blood inside for the needle to bring to the surface. It “was this whole operation that goes into something that’s on screen for maybe three seconds.”
Davy also touched on Rue’s general, “invisible” makeup looks for Season 2. “We just tried to make her look as bad as possible. And [Zendaya] is totally game for it, which is cool,” said Davy, adding that she would trace the actor’s veins with a watered-down “greenish-blue pigment” and apply pink and red-like longwear cream shadow around her eyes. “Not to look like makeup — just to… add some color so she’s not a blank slate.”
Kat’s Look During Rue’s ‘Intervention-Gone-Wrong’ (S2 E5)
Earlier in Episode 5, an unsuccessful, last-minute intervention for Rue takes place at the Howards’ home — which includes Rue revealing Cassie and Nate’s affair in front of Maddy. Kat, who is also in attendance, wears a blue color-block shape on her eyes.
“For the intervention gone wrong… I love Kat’s look there. It’s so simple [and] so easy to recreate. It’s like a modern 1960s look where it’s just the big blue color-block shape and the Twiggy lashes on the bottom,” said Davy, who added that there was no other eyeshadow, contouring or mascara on the bottom lashes. “That’s my favorite kind of look… I love when it’s just like, ‘use three ingredients’ — that’s what makes the looks approachable.”
For Kat’s makeup style overall in Season 2, Davy noted that we still see the character experimenting with how she expresses herself. “Her big school transformation in Season 1, in ‘Euphoria’-world, only happened a couple of months prior to where we see her now,” she said. “That’s why whenever we see her, she’s trying out a new color or a new graphic wing look… So she really dabbles across the board.”