True to the script! Jessica Chastain transformed her look for The Eyes of Tammy Faye with the help of a lot of prosthetics, hours spent in the makeup chair, and countless hours of work.
The 44-year old actress wasn’t content to channel the evangelists’ bold and bright style of glamour. Linda Dowds, Faye’s makeup artist, ensured that her lipsticks, eyeshadows and lashes were exact replicas of the looks she wore throughout her life.
Dowds exclusively stated that authenticity was crucial for the preacher. To achieve this end, Dowds analyzed interviews, photos, and TV segments over the years in order to identify the “colors or tones” the preacher wore. She said, “We wanted it to match it as best as possible.”
These photos were not only used to recreate Faye’s image, but also helped Chastain, a long-time Dowds employee, get in the right mindset.
Chastain shared that working with Linda Dowds for the film projects helped her to find the characters she plays. Her makeup choices are influenced by her attention to detail and her preciseness in terms of each character’s emotional state. “It makes me happy when people don’t recognize me as the character I play.”
Dowds’ dedication to honoring Faye and her intense research made it possible to create a lifelike recreation of the character. She even used the exact same drugstore products that the preacher used to treat herself.
Dowds explained “I’m aware that people refer to her as wearing a mask. But I don’t believe this about her. I believe she loved makeup. She said it to herself: “You don’t need to be dowdy in order to be Christian. No one said you couldn’t use mascara to make fake lashes.” She said that she spends about $25 per month at Target or swap meets to enhance her makeup kit. If she felt low, she would add more.”
Dowds went to the drugstore with this in mind. Faye’s ‘old’ mascara was available in a duplicate that Dowds purchased. She also purchased since-expired products that she used in her everyday life on Ebay. They were put in Chastain’s bag as well as on her dressing table. To find the exact shade Faye wore through different decades, she even used the Revlon Bible to locate the correct color.
She loved the selection of Revlon and L’Oreal eyeshadow quads. “Those were my go-to. I used a lot of the pinks, purples, and blues. I also used the little spongy brushes, which I haven’t used in real makeup in a while. These shadows tend to be more flaky because they are so frosted. These little sponges are a great way to hold the color and give it depth.” Dowds stated that they wanted it to look authentic.
These products are affordable, which is a good thing considering the amount of makeup they used. They used up to six tubes of mascara and five tubes each of eyelash glue every day while sitting in a glam chair for four to seven hours.
Dowds stated that there was plenty of makeup available, but it was difficult to strike a balance between the “tattooed lips” look and the appearance of a caricature. This was something they tried hard to avoid.
“It was a huge look. It was crucial to stay within the line. It was even more important to not cross it. Sometimes, you just can’t see past the trees when you are in it. Sometimes, we need to take a step back and sometimes work together.” Dowds stated that she loves working with Jessica because of this reason. “We talk about it. It would be difficult at times to say, “What do you think?” That was extremely helpful.”
She explained that her role as a makeup artist is to bring Chastain’s character alive. Dowds explained that Jessica was always listening to Tammy Faye. She spoke Tammy Faye and sang Tammy Faye. She wanted to honor Tammy Faye and to show people a different side. “This project was one of the thing she wanted.”