Giving Ryza Cenon and JC Santos that golden glow of the islands
Last week, I talked about Beauty Resolutions. Things I have planned for 2018, things I want to achieve — future talk. But this week, I want to go back a bit into the later part of my 2017 to talk about one of the highlights of that year — shooting “Mr. and Mrs. Cruz.”
That project led me to work with a lot of new people I wanted to experience shooting with, and reunited me with a bunch of people I have always gotten along with work-wise and otherwise. It was the last film handled by Sarah Pagkaliwagan-Brakensiek, whom I fondly call Mama Sarah, before she migrated to the US. That alone made the project worth it for me.
It stars JC Santos and Ryza Cenon. It’s also directed by Sigrid Andrea Bernardo, whose previous film was the “Kita-Kita.” Our Director of Cinematography is the Boy Yñiguez. Our support cast included Lui Manansala, Dido de la Paz, Yayo Aguila, Dennis Padilla, Bong Cabrera and Sophie Rankin — mostly people I just used to watch on TV or on stage. People I never thought I would end up working with.
To top it all off, the shoot included almost two weeks in Palawan. What? That is like getting a somewhat paid vacation! At the time that it was offered to me, I was badly in need of a vacation but was reluctant to take time away from work. What great timing. Although, truth is, destination shoots are both fun and tiring.
Work days would start at 5 a.m. for hair and makeup so that we could make it to our 6 a.m. call time. Lucky for us, our location was only a few minutes away. I had a hairstylist and another hairstylist/makeup artist with me on the team, G and Trish. This was so someone could focus on the two main characters and the rest of the supporting cast while shooting. At first, I was confident that my hairstylist and I could manage the task — but when we got there and things started to get crazy, I was so thankful there were three of us in the team.
Most days we would spend a little over 12 hours on a boat. That was actually enjoyable for someone like me who likes being near the ocean. But, there was this one shoot day, which made me think otherwise. It basically combined seasickness with heavy rain and having to find our way back to the main island in the dark. Lethal combo, but surprisingly nobody in the crew got sick and we were all ready to shoot early again the next day.
Shooting at sea means spending the day in a bathing suit because you never know when you have to get in the water. To me, it meant having to find a way to make sure makeup and hair stay relatively consistent all throughout. Our director was very particular about it that we even considered perming the hair of our lead actor and actress just to make sure their hair would behave in the way curly hair does even without using hot tools. I’m thankful we agreed on keeping a no-makeup makeup look for the leads since that was more appropriate for the story being told. I like directors who insist on being realistic to the story when it comes to hair and makeup.
For Ryza, I sheered out foundation for some scenes, and on some days, depending on the sequences being shot, I skipped it altogether. This is actually a full Glossier face. I used the Lip Generation G in Crush, Cloud Paint in Haze and Boy Brow in Brown. Curled lashes, minimal mascara.
For JC, I would usually just use powder and a mattifier to help keep his skin from being too oily.
Other challenges I encountered were how to adjust skin color because we weren’t shooting in sequence. Some of the scenes, we shot a week after Palawan, in Manila. Or we decided to give one of the characters a henna tattoo and I had no idea how to make it stay the entire time we were shooting up until the Manila leg. I ended up using pentel pen to retouch it and prayed it would hold and not look too weird. I had to make do with what I had because we were on an island with limited resources. One of our actors had an allergic reaction too, and he ended up getting a slight breakout. He had to change his diet and avoid seafood for the rest of the shoot.
Shooting away from the comforts of the city is never easy. But I always jump at opportunities like it because the experience is rewarding. It’s tiring but somehow when you see the final output it’s worth it.
“Mr. and Mrs. Cruz” premieres this Wednesday, January 24, 2018 in cinemas. Hopefully people get to watch it and enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it. It’s one of the films wherein I really felt good about what we were creating. It’s the highlight shoot of my 2017, so I hope our work gets noticed. For makeup, I like that it deviated from the usual approaches I’ve seen wherein actors and actresses are so bent on looking pretty that authenticity suffers.