“Changing people into another character is a collaboration of science and art”
Makeup artist, Merve Cangokce, describes herself as curious and never satisfied. She also believes that the key to a woman’s charm lies in her lashes.
But should we really take beauty advice from someone who enjoys creating monsters and who yearns to devise the ultimate alien?!
Please introduce yourself to our readers:
I am a freelance makeup artist from Turkey, based in Dubai, working in the media industry, films and TV commercials.
Tell us about your education:
I graduated in Astronomy and Space Science back in Turkey but wanted to change my career so later graduated from London College of Makeup, Val Garland Mastered Fashion, Shaune Harrison Prosthetic and Special Effects Makeup Academy.
What first inspired you to get into the world of makeup and special effects makeup?
When I was kid I was always amazed by fantastic movies, theatre characters and fairy tale stories. Since my whole family was in the film industry, I grew up with cinema knowledge and passion. When I was 5 years old I had the chance of a tiny role on a TV series. On that day I remember I was very impressed by the makeup artist. I think that was when I realized I really wanted to be a makeup artist.
How did you get your first professional gig?
I had the chance of a professional job as a makeup artist assistant training on a feature movie called Abu Dhabi to Beirut, directed by the first Emirati director, Ali F. Mostafa.
How and when did you come to UAE?
I came to UAE/Dubai in 2010. Let’s say I followed my heart!
Which is your favourite between sfx and editorial makeup?
I have to admit I’m in love with special makeup sfx. I feel that changing people into another character is a collaboration of science and art.
What are some of your favourite makeup products?
I love pro bono material when I do sfx makeup as preparation does not take so much time and the material is easy to work on the skin.
What kinds of looks do you prefer doing?
I prefer doing full transformations such as creating monsters or changing a person into something else entirely, playing with the structure of the face bones and shapes.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I can get inspired by a movie, a conversation, or a place that I travel. Also, life itself is full of inspiration, you only need to see it.
What is your signature look and what sets you apart from other makeup artists?
I think it’s too early to say that I have a signature look already! There is still such a long way to go but I can say that I always try to do my work in a realistic way.
What is your definition of beauty?
Beauty is all about happiness. If you are happy with wearing red lipstick do it every day, it will suit you!
Which movie has your favourite special effects makeup? Do you prefer the older ones or the CGI heavy ones?
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice! It’s directed by Tim Burton and the makeup artists are Ve Neill (she is still teaching in Cinema Makeup School in Los Angles) and Steve LaPorte. I prefer older ones because it’s only makeup, it’s not supported by digital visual art such CGI. They create incredible images but we cannot tell if it’s makeup work.
Typically, how long does it take you to create a look? How long has the longest one taken you?
Well, it depends which look has been requested. If I am going to create another feature or a monster the preparation process (life casting, sculpting, prosthetic preparation) can take between two weeks and two months. The application itself again depends on the amount of prosthetic pieces. For example, Gary Oldman’s makeup application on the Darkest Hour movie took a minimum of four hours every day.
Any makeup tips you’d like to share with our readers for the summer season in this region?
As we know, summer in this region is quite warm so moisturizing and hydrating the skin is a must. Foundation shouldn’t be applied more than the skin needs and should be blended evenly.
What are common mistakes women make while doing their makeup?
Again, skipping moisturizing and applying foundation straight to the skin without primer. That damages the skin and makes the skin look dry and patchy.
What is one look you are still dying to create?
The sfx look of the leader witch from The Witches movie, directed by Nicolas Roeg. Also, an alien that has never been created.
What is the look you created that you’re most proud of?
Almost none. I have no satisfaction about my work yet!
Any aspirations for your own makeup line?
An Oscar would be the best motivation!
What are the three tools in your makeup kit that you can never, ever be without?
Application brush, spatula, sponges.
What are the makeup products every woman should have in her purse?
Lip balm (I prefer Australian brand Paw Paw), blush (always give life to the skin), mascara lashes (the key to a woman’s charm).
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received from someone in regards to your work? Similarly, what advice would you give someone starting out in special effect makeup?
I have been advised to stay the same as I am, curious and never satisfied.
Sfx makeup should be realistic and very detailed. A beginner sfx makeup artist should follow the realism of their works.
Your message for us at CP magazine:
Thank you for having me on your pages. It’s very important to showcase talents from our industry. All the best to you and your readers.