When SAG-AFTRA reached a historic deal to end the 118-day-long actor strike, it was in the nick of time for movies hitting theaters this November. One of those was Eli Roth’s anticipated holiday slasher Thanksgiving. While an intimate fan screening had been on the books for months, the momentous occasion called for bigger fanfare, resulting in a full-on premiere event held fittingly at Los Feliz’s Vista Theatre, owned by Quentin Tarantino. For the cast of the horror flick, it was a moment to celebrate their hard work and see the movie on film for the first time with an audience. For star Nell Verlaque, it was the perfect time to break out the vintage Vivienne Westwood number she picked up at a New York vintage fair this summer.
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“I’m a huge vintage lover,” Verlaque tells us the morning after the screening. “I saw this vintage Vivienne Westwood dress, and it was black and had this giant red lip on it and some teeth out, and the lipstick was sort of dripping.” From the moment the actress saw the black minidress while pursuing a vintage fair in her native New York, she knew she had to have it. The piece happened to be sourced by one of her favorite vintage stores, James Veloria, and felt like the perfect look for a press moment. “This was during the strike, so mind you, I was very depressed and trying to manifest that the strike would be able to end before [the film came out] or that we got a deal so we could promote it,” Verlaque says. “I saw it and thought, ‘I’m just going to get it, and if I get to wear it for something Thanksgiving related, then perfect, and if not, I’ll save it for the next one.’”
You could say Verlaque manifested her next red carpet appearance in that moment. When she got the call months later from Sony that they were moving ahead with a premiere, albeit with barely a week’s notice, she went straight to her closet. “It was great to have a special piece like that,” she says, referencing the dress. “I also like throwing things together myself, so I was quite happy with the way it turned out.”
In an effort to not overshadow the lip-emblazoned Vivienne Westwood dress, Verlaque kept the rest of her look fairly simple, opting for a pair of black suede pumps and no jewelry with the exception of big gold studs. For hair and makeup, she enlisted the help of Bridget Brager and Kate Lee, respectively. The vision for hair: a ’90s supermodel–esque blowout. To achieve the minimal-yet-vampy look, Brager prepped Verlaque’s roots with Rodan + Fields Densifying+ Treatment to help nourish the scalp and added Rodan + Fields Defrizz+ Oil to protect the strands from heat and shine. For that great volume and texture, Brager started by rough-drying the hair. Once it was 80% dry, she used a large round brush and T3’s StyleMax Blow Dryer to smooth and then set her hair in rollers for extra body and volume. Next, she tipped the ends off with a T3 1.5 SinglePass Curling Iron. Brager’s expert tip: To help open up the face, rock the curling iron back and forth in a C shape. To finish, she used Rodan + Fields Refresh+ Dry Shampoo to add additional texture and hair spray to set the look.
For makeup, Lee reached for a slew of Chanel products to achieve Verlaque’s rosy look. First, she prepped the skin with the Hydra Beauty Essence Mist Hydration Protection Radiance Energizing Mist and Sublimage Le Soin Perfecteur Ultimate Radiance-Enhancing Priming Moisturizer. The Les Beiges Sheer Healthy Glow Highlighting Fluid in Pearly Glow and the N°1 de Chanel Revitalizing Foundation Illuminates-Moisturizes-Protects in BD41 were used to create a smooth complexion. Lee then used a combo of Les Symboles de Chanel Le Lion Oversize Illuminating Powder in Precious Coral and Joues Contraste Powder Blush in Rose Bronze for the cheeks. Lee grabbed the Crayon Sourcils Sculpting Eyebrow Pencil in Noir Cendré to fill in the brows, topping them with the Le Gel Sourcils Longwear Eyebrow Gel in Transparent. For the eyes, a combination of the Ombre Première Libre Loose Eyeshadow Intense, Longwear Colour in Cèdre Cuivré and Chêne Brun created a warm, satiny finish. Lee lined the eyes with the Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner in Espresso and finished with the Inimitable Volume-Length-Curl-Separation in Noir Black. Finally, for the lips, Lee opted for the Le Crayon Lèvres Longwear Lip Pencil in Rose Naturel and the Rouge Coco Bloom Hydrating Plumping Intense Shine Lip Colour in Wild.
For Verlaque, who is a self-proclaimed “movie nerd,” it was a night to remember. Getting the call to do Thanksgiving felt like the 23-year-old’s first real opportunity to act. “I was crying in a dark room most days, but for me, that was so amazing,” she laughs. “It’s such a hard job, so I feel like when you actually get the opportunity to do what you want to do, it’s so rewarding.” Getting to work with Roth, who is considered a master of the horror genre, was especially exciting for Verlaque. “The whole trajectory of this idea coming from something they did with Tarantino 16 years ago and now coming to fruition is pretty great. I think it’s a cool thing to be a part of, especially if it becomes a classic, which Eli so hopes [it does],” she says.
Thanksgiving is in theaters now.