Look into those eyes: Runaways makeup artist offers some tips

March 18, 2010

In the film The Runaways, lead makeup artist Robin Mathews went for a mix of punk and glam-rock for Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning, who portray Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, the best-known members of the all-girl band.

“During that time period, punk rock was just beginning,” Mathews says. “It was all about Suzi Quatro and the Ramones’ pale skin, heavy black eyeliner and hair, which was followed by ‘80s glam glitter and stripy blush. It was eccentric and over the top. Nothing was subtle.”

Mathews pored through thousands of photos and video footage of the Runaways, as well as makeup ads from the 1970s, to capture the look down to the tiniest detail. “We really delved into the research,” says Mathews, who discovered quirky cosmetic habits, including the fact that Jett and Currie each painted just one of their fingernails red.

Mathews eschewed any soft-lighted perfection when it came to getting Stewart and Fanning into character. “It was important to keep it true to life, realistic and not glossed-over Hollywood,” she says. “The Runaways were teenagers, so if we needed to add blemishes or to make them look like they had been out on the road, we did that. It wasn’t always dewy, beautiful skin. It was all about the eyes.”

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