A TV show about a 23-year-old virgin who mysteriously finds herself pregnant sounds like an over-the-top storyline that borrows a little too heavily from a very old, very famous text. But stick a predominantly Latinx powerhouse cast behind it and weave in real-life, everyday issues many face like racism, citizenship, and discrimination — and you get the brilliant Jane The Virgin.
The fact that it's loosely based off a Venezuelan telenovela would have you believe the series centers around stereotypical heated arguments in Spanish, love triangles, tears, big hair, and heavy-handed makeup. Which, yeah, there is a lot of that — this is a dramatization after all — but for the most part, Jane takes a pretty realistic approach to beauty. Still, when you're kissing, crying, or embarking on a particularly hot and heavy scene for The Passions of Santos, there are a few things to keep in mind. The show's makeup artist Shauna Giesbrecht is spilling her other spotlight-stealing tips to R29, below.
How To Make On-Set Makeup Last
One thing the hit series does have in common with its telenovela counterparts: There is a shit-ton of crying and kissing throughout. The first step to making it through unscathed? Reach for waterproof formulas — starting with your base. Giesbrecht says Temptu's Cordless AirPod System stays put all day, which is most definitely why it was the foundation the character Rogelio stole from his bride-to-be on their wedding day. (Not surprisingly, the makeup artist for The Bachelor and Bachelorette franchises uses the same thing.)
For the steamy makeout sessions, Giesbrecht swears by two budge-proof formulas: Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil and E.l.f.'s Essential Lip Stain (the latter of which goes for $2, by the way). Both products are key for holding up against the "countless kissing scenes," she says. And for those sad, sappy moments, she layers on Blinc Mascara followed by the L'Oréal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara to keep tears streaming down the actors' faces at a minimum.
Of course, anyone who's ever cried knows that it's not just eye makeup you have to keep under control while sobbing — your skin can flare up, too. "A new tool that got me through all of last season was the facial ice roller," Giesbrecht explains. "You put them in the freezer and literally just roll it onto the face. If anyone has swollen eyes or puffy cheeks, it takes away all of the inflammation without disturbing any of the makeup. Even Gina [Rodriguez] has said, 'That ice roller is the shit!'" (When there's not enough time to cool the roller, Giesbrecht uses Talika's Eye Therapy Patches as a back-up.)
About Those Flashback Scenes...
One of Jane's greatest triumphs is its ability to inject rich Hispanic culture from decades past into a present-day plot line — letting its regularly type-A heroine play femme fatale in a fantasy world. And that's exactly where the makeup department gets to have a little fun: Getting to bring to life the beauty looks for these "magical, realism scenes where we travel to 1970's Venezuela, 1960s Cuba, and turn-of-the-century Miami" is one of her favorite parts, Giesbrecht says.
The scenes are one way to show different sides to Jane Villanueva's character, adding a kind of depth and dimension that sets it apart from other "token" Latinx roles typically typecast in Hollywood. Usually, it's with a new era-specific hairdo or old-timey makeup, but the team does sometimes bring in the big (read: prosthetics) guns. "One of my most challenging, and also rewarding, episodes was when we aged the cast in the first episode of season three from the present age to four different ages — all the way through to their 80s," Giesbrecht says. "And we did it all in one filming day!"
Why Jane Is More Important Than Ever
At a time when diverse representation is needed across all platforms, having a show with mostly Latinx cast members matters. Despite the minority group being one of the fastest-growing populations in the U.S., it's still catastrophically underrepresented on the big screen. In fact, in a recent study published in the USC Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism, researchers found that from the 100 top-grossing films of 2016, only 3% of roles were occupied by Latinxs.
"Everyone should feel represented [and see] strong, intelligent role models when they watch television," Giesbrecht says. "People around the globe should see all races, genders, social classes, sexual orientation, and different viewpoints that will expand their horizons and show them they can be whatever they want in this world and be proud of their heritage."
With the CW show's alleged final season in full swing, it's safe to say this whole "breaking barriers" thing is working — and it doesn't take an overly dramatic telenovela narrator to tell you that.