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As a teen growing up in Venice, California, Doniella Davy never wore makeup. It's a surprising fact considering she's the magic-maker behind the otherworldly glam seen on HBO's shocking teen drama Euphoria. As she is Euphoria's Emmy award-winning makeup department head, we can thank Davy for helping usher in the bold-eye-makeup trend currently embraced by the beauty community.
Before becoming a makeup artist for TV shows and movies such as If Beale Street Could Talk and Under the Silver Lake, Davy graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in photography and worked in NYC art galleries. After moving to L.A., she contacted a well-established makeup artist in the film industry, and well, the rest is history. As Euphoria's second season wraps up, Davy will begin preparing for the launch of her very own makeup brand, Half Magic. In the latest episode ofWho What Wear With Hillary Kerr, you'll learn all about the meaning behind the makeup seen in Euphoria and how to re-create it yourself.
Scroll for some highlights from the episode, including Davy's most-used products in her makeup kit. For the scoop on which beauty looks to watch out for in the Euphoria finale, make sure to tune in.
One of the things that I love so much about your work on the show is the medium of sparkle, whether that's glitter or rhinestones. It always seems to be its own character in so many ways. I'm wondering how you think of that light moment and that texture moment as you're creating looks.
I love mixing different textures together, like a matte eye shadow with tiny rhinestones glimmering on top. In terms of filming and the storytelling aspect, I love this little, twinkly reflection that happens in low lighting and really shadowy situations. If it's done right on the right character and with the right kind of mood of the scene, it adds this emotional quality to me. I think rhinestones are sort of like a tension between childhood and adolescence and maybe also adolescence and adulthood. There's something very innocent and pure and almost heartbreaking when you see a character like Cassie going through this messed-up situation with Nate. And she went through the trouble to put on these little rhinestones in the moment. There's something about the backstory of putting on the rhinestones—like why they're there, if that makes sense. Also, the visual of something reflecting a little bit of light back in the shadows is beautiful to me and helps the makeup be seen.
For our audience at home who are inspired by your incredible work, what are your favorite products for achieving these Euphoria-level looks, and how do you use them?
My go-to for color for the longest time has been ColourPop. Their pallets are affordable and fun and bright. I always tell people who are starting off and who only own earth tones but want to get some bright stuff to just get a bunch of ColourPop and play around. But it could be any brand you could get at any Rite Aid or CVS. Get some bright-colored eye shadows, little rhinestones to play with—you can get them on Amazon. If you're not getting the kind that already has the sticky stuff on the back, just get lash glue. You use a gem applicator, which is like a colored pencil with a little piece of wax on the end of it, to pick up the individual gems and place them on. And if you're wanting to do winged eyeliner, I think it's really more about the brush, like a really skinny, little brush. I love using a pot of gel liner when I'm working on other people, but I think the pens are really great. I have more control on myself when I'm using the eyeliner pens. I like ones that are skinnier with a felt-tip point at the end. For the pots of eyeliner, Inglot makes a ton of different fun colors. They have this beautiful maroon color I used on Cassie for one of the episodes. Their black one was our go-to. That's the one we just have around. Super affordable and budget friendly, which we love.
What about makeup that has to perform and really has to last? Maybe not through real-life crying scenes, but if you want it to really go the distance, do you have any tips for that?
I love using a long-wear liquid eye shadow and then layering regular eye shadow or layering shimmer or even glitter and rhinestones on top of that. It's like long-wear lipstick. It's just really gonna stay. For a softer look, an eye shadow primer and powder eye shadow work too. But I always love using long-wear liquid shadow for a bold look that's gonna super, super last.
I know that dismantling norms and rules in the beauty industry is something that you care about. What has this experience been like, working on Euphoria?
Well, it's been a very unexpected turn of events. Since working on Euphoria, I didn't expect that I would have a legit platform on Instagram. I didn't really expect to be in the place that I'm at now. So I'm just catching up and figuring out … What are we doing with this? It's amazing being on podcasts and getting interviewed by magazines … and just getting to use other people's platforms to have this conversation to talk about fun makeup as self-expression and bringing that into the mainstream more. That's been the most meaningful part of all this—getting to change that notion where only certain people or certain occasions call for super-fun, bold makeup. That's what I really believe in the most. It's all for everyone. And that's coming from someone who was too shy to do any of that stuff growing up.