This post contains spoilers for Euphoria.
Even the least relatable and realistic teen TV shows — Gossip Girl, Riverdale, and Pretty Little Liars included — tend to have makeup that isn't all that out of the ordinary. The precocious cool-girl might favour a bright red lip, sure, while the goth girl favours a thick layer of black eyeshadow, but understated eyeliner, mascara, and blush are the usual go-tos.
HBO's Euphoria started in the UK this week on Sky Atlantic and stars Zendaya as a teenager battling drug addiction. The idea of typical "high-school makeup" is being turned on its head — with makeup becoming a character unto itself. From the jump, the show's lead makeup artist, Doniella Davy, knew that this would be a series like no other.
"When I first met with the creator Sam Levinson, he was like, 'Makeup is part of the show,'" Davy tells Refinery29. "He said, 'I want you to push yourself and push the norms of beauty and makeup.' A lot of times, high-school makeup is based in reality. In Sam’s version of reality that he wants to depict, intense self-expression through clothing, hair, and makeup is very much the ultimate reality."
In the world of Euphoria, that manifests as girls gluing rhinestones onto their eyebrows — when they're not wearing five different eyeshadow colours at once, green lipstick, and glitter over the entire eye. With that level of creativity, the makeup Davy is creating is indisputably some of the interesting on TV right now.
"Most of my inspiration came from what kids are doing right now," Davy, who also worked on Moonlight, says. "I believe these Gen Z kids and artists are coming up with a new language of self-expression through makeup. It’s so brave and bold to me that I really fell in love with what I was seeing on Instagram."
Ahead, we talked to Davy about some of our favourite characters' makeup aesthetics, that lip tattoo scene, and how she manages to make Zendaya look like she hasn't slept in days.