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I am a theatrical makeup artist: Dublin’s Hailey Lampi on Bringing Oz and Neverland to Life

August 3, 2015

Hailey LampiFor Dublin High School junior Hailey Lampi, helping actors ‘get in character’ takes on a whole new meaning. As a makeup artist for a local theatre company, Grand Performing Arts (GPA), Lampi’s job is to make sure that actors go onstage with their makeup and costume complete, ready to captivate the audience.

Doing crazy things with makeup has been one of Lampi’s favorite hobbies since middle school. However, since not many of her friends wanted to come to school looking like a zombie or Darth Maul, there weren’t as many opportunities to hone her skills as she would have liked. However, this changed when Lampi learned that her family friends – and the owners of GPA – Kristi Grand and Ryan Joslin had an open spot for a makeup artist.

Although Lampi is volunteering with a theater company, her original inspirations came from the big screen.

“Growing up, my brother never wanted to watch any girly Barbie or princess movies. I also grew up with a lot of cousins. Because of this, I watched a lot of action and adventure movies. My favorites were Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, things like that. We would also watch TV shows as a family and when we started The Walking Dead, I was fascinated by the walkers (zombies) in the show. The special effects artist was Greg Nicotero and he became my inspiration.”

Although the characters’ makeup and costumes are not necessarily what most people think of when acting comes to mind, Lampi believes that they are some of the most important parts of creating a character, whether on stage or in a movie.

“You know how you see Johnny Depp and he looks different in all of his movies? You never see him as Johnny Depp, you always see him as Jack Sparrow, or as another one of his characters,” says Lampi “You see the same thing with Jennifer Lawrence. Everyone sees her in Hunger Games and then  in X-Men and she doesn’t look the same at all.”

Rittmuller Photography_The lion's makeup as done by Lampi

Lion’s make-up by Hailey (credit: Rittmuller Photography)

With the right ensemble, it’s easier for the audience to suspend reality and truly believe in a character’s existence. Wardrobe mishaps that end with a pretty wicked witch or an elderly Peter Pan can totally throw off an audience, even when the part is acted superbly. This ability to manipulate the audience’s perspective of a character is one of the things Lampi likes best about her work as a theatrical makeup artist.

“[Doing stage makeup] is like using the same canvas for different paintings, wiping it off and starting over again so that it looks completely different. It’s a way of creating a different reality out of the same tools.”

And, at GPA, she gets to do just that. After helping with both their productions of Peter Pan and The Wizard of Oz, Lampi has gotten used to GPA’s schedule and feels more comfortable helping the cast members get ready both before and during a performance.

“On a typical performance day, I get there about an hour before the play starts. Before they go on stage, I have to make sure that all the leading cast has the makeup done, that no one’s costumes are malfunctioning, and that everyone has their stuff together. And then during a show, I have to make sure that everyone gets to their spot on time and with their correct costume or makeup and that nothing goes wrong in that category.”

Despite how hectic backstage can be between scenes, Lampi loves volunteering at GPA and finds that it is “always fun and exciting.” Some of her favorite characters to date include the mermaids from Peter Pan and the lion and monkey from the Wizard of Oz.

Even though she’s not an actress herself, Lampi likes watching the play from the wings. Her makeup creations help the cast make the audience gasp, laugh, and clap, pulling them deeper into a story as it seems more and more real.

Lampi is one of the many talented artists to be featured in OneDublin’s Arts & Humanities: I Am series, a project meant to celebrate the growing artistic talent in our Dublin community. If you know anyone with a passion in the areas (including yourself), please email so we can do a feature!

Alexandra Stassinopoulos is a Dublin High School junior, and a writer for the Dublin Shield. She is the president of the Young Writers Club and enjoys writing short stories. In her free time, she is an avid reader and is on the school swim team.

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