Makeup department head Carleigh Herbert has always been obsessed with period pieces, and the ’70s have always been a favorite.“There was so much self-expression,” she says. So, when the chance to work on HBO Max’s “Minx” came along, she snapped it up.
One particular scene, halfway through the show’s first episode, posed a unique challenge for Herbert. Ophelia Lovibond’s Joyce is tasked with casting models for Minx, the first porn magazine designed for women. What follows is a parade of male models baring and strutting their stuff for the casting call.
Herbert, whose credits include “The Sex Life of College Girls,” “Ratched” and “American Horror Story,” says both director Rachel Lee Goldenberg and the show’s creator and writer Ellen Rapoport were excited to have her on board with her prosthetics background.
“They said, ‘It’s great you do prosthetics because we’re going to have some,’” says Herbert. “I asked, ‘What are we going to do?’”
The makeup head has run the gamut of prosthetics — from slitting throats to bleeding out body parts. She had even done a penis, but, Herbert says, “I’ve never done a full prosthetic penis.” With that, she happily accepted the challenge.
The trend of penis prosthetics, Herbert notes, is something that has seen a surge in the past few years with shows such as “Scenes From a Marriage,” “Euphoria,” “Outlander” featuring full-frontal nudity.
“We’re still figuring the penis prosthetic out,” Herbert says.
It began with the script for Herbert and collaborating with Rapoport, as well as each actor. “It would depend on the character, the actor and what they were supposed to look like physically,” she says.
Herbert relied on Jason Collins, owner of Autonomous F/X. He was shown photos approved by Rapoport and tasked with making the prosthetics needed.
“We had plastic pieces, and one character had a hard-on,” explains Herbert of the different “looks, shapes and sizes.” She then left it to Collins to sculpt and build what she needed.
Sometimes Herbert would use glue during the application process and other times a belt.“It really depended on how we used the prosthetic,” Herbert says. She also paid attention to dressing pubic areas, she says. Through it all, Herbert learned about tucking tape, which is used by drag queens and trans folks. She found it came in handy and incorporated it into her application process.
Comfort was of the utmost importance for everyone involved. “A big part of the application was making sure the actors were comfortable and going through the steps,” she says. “It’s a challenging prosthetic to have to wear anywhere from 10 to 14 hours a day.”
As for that talked about audition scene, Herbert says that was actually not prosthetics: “That was everybody’s penises.”
Aside from prosthetics, Herbert got to indulge in her love for ’70s makeup. And while old makeup lines from Max Factor, Revlon and Yardley were key to the women’s looks, she had as much fun doing the male makeup.
“We would shave them and do their faces differently,” says Herbert, who is used to doing minimal makeup on men.
For “Minx,” facial hair was important. The world of Bottom Dollar Publishing had a funkier look. That meant giving the men in that environment scroungy beards and longer sideburns to reflect the era. In contrast, Glenn’s (Michael Angarano) world is a conservative one. “He is clean-shaven with sideburns hidden into the middle of the ear,” Herbert says.
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