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Go behind the scenes of the TV show Reign and learn about what happens in the makeup room with Linda Preston, head makeup artist.


Show enthusiasm for your work, be passionate. Wear comfortable shoes, find a mentor, and one day, pay it back.


Go behind the scenes of the TV show Reign and learn about what happens in the makeup room with Linda Preston, head makeup artist.

Go behind the scenes of the TV show Reign and learn about what happens in the makeup room with Linda Preston, head makeup artist.


Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career

Linda Preston: I have been a working makeup artist for 35 years. I trained with George Abbott and apprenticed with many great artists, Dick Smith, Greg Cannom, Craig Reardon. I got my first paying job on SCTV as an assistant makeup artist. My job was to maintain set and clean up the actors at the end of the day. It was a great training ground. I have worked mainly in television. I did take time off to raise my two boys. I was very fortunate to step back into my career after 15 years at home. I am presently the Makeup Head of Department on “REIGN”. I am now on my 3rd season. I have worked as HOD on “Hemlock Grove”, “ALPHAS”, “King” Season 1 & 2, “Covert Affairs” “Anne of Green Gables”, many more.

What is the premise behind the show REIGN?

Linda Preston: REIGN is a highly fictionalized historical romance series. It follows the story of Mary Queen of Scots during her years living in France 1557. It details the secret history of survival at French Court with her marriage to Prince Francis, and their rise to power as King and Queen of France. In Season 3 we also follow Elizabeth Queen of England and her court of intrigue.

Which characters/actors do your work with primarily?

Linda Preston: I work with Adelaide Kane/Mary Queen of Scots, Megan Follows/Queen Catherine, Anna Popplewell/Lola, Rachel Skarsten/Queen Elizabeth, Toby Regbo/Francis, Alan Van Sprang/King Henry, and some of the guest stars.

Walk us through some of the unique character points and how this extends to the makeup design

Linda Preston: When designing a makeup for each character I try to make each one very individual. Queen Mary for example in the first season, I tried to have her look innocent, young, and naive. Her eye makeup was rounded out to create a wide-eyed look, her skin dewy and flawless. As her character changed and experienced life, death, marriage, I strengthened her look. More defined brows, darker lip, a little contouring.

What products do you find are necessary to achieve these looks and effects?

Linda Preston: I love the MAKE UP FOR EVER Primers to set up a good foundation, Face and Body for the décolleté mixed with Uplight for a glowy look. I also use the HD Cream Blush in 330 and 210 swirled on with the cheeks Blended Blush Brush - 148. I love the brushes my favourites are the Foundation Brush - 106, Buffer Blush Brush - 154 for applying mineral makeup, the Precision Smudger Brush 212 for buffing shadow liner. I love the Special FX products, the blood is amazing, the colour is spot on and flows beautifully. I also like the Dust Grease for dirtying the villagers and guards.

What is your must-have MAKE UP FOR EVER product for this show?

Linda Preston: I cannot work without MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Microfinish Powder. It is magic, this powder is so fine that it doesn’t settled into the skin. It is great for all skin types and colours. I use it on all the actors

What do love about working on a TV show as popular as REIGN?

Linda Preston: What’s not to like about working in a castle everyday. Pretty people, little murder, little romance, some dirty villagers and the odd head chopping.

Walk us through your day on set

Linda Preston: Our days start early, it is not unusual to be up at 4:00 a.m. We are one of the first to arrive. I like to prepare the night before and lay out all my makeup products ready to start right away. Depending on the actor, they either go to hair or see me first. I usually take 30 minutes to do Adelaide’s makeup, 20 minutes for Anna, 45 minutes for Megan.
I breakdown the call sheet every morning, highlighting in colours which actor we are each doing and discuss with the AD departments any changes in makeup and how long each change will take. I read the day’s script to prepare what the dialogue reflects, for example tears, blood, dirt etc.
We have a team of 4 in the makeup department; I am the Head of Department. My duties include putting together and managing the team. I establish the overall look of the show. I do any of the research, historical looks, specific trauma looks, etc. Establishing continuity protocols and managing the departmental budget. I also manage and budget any additional labour. Delegate - work and responsibilities to assistants. As Head of Department I am responsible for the health and safety of the department. In my department I have Ashley Rocha as Key Makeup (my 1st assistant) and she is responsible for a number of actors Torrance Coombs/Bash, Rose Williams/Claude, Celina Sinden/ Greer and many day players. Also on the team is a new permit member Olga Kirnos, her responsibility is to watch set and to maintain the continuity book and log our time sheets. Olga also does makeup for the day players and helps out in background. Jane Meade is our Background Co-ordinator, she is in charge of processing the many background performers we have in, and numbers can reach over 100 some days. Jane also hires all the additional makeup artists required; again she might hire 8 artists for a party scene for example.
Our typical shooting day is 12 hours with a hour for lunch. But as makeup, hair and costume know that we are the first in 2 1⁄2 hours before everyone else and another 1⁄2 hour at the end of the day. Often we are there for 16 hours. We are mainly a studio show, and only go on the road a couple of days per episode. An episode takes 8 days to shoot with an additional 2nd unit day for pickups or inserts.
I try to make sure that everyone on the team knows how to do all the actors in case one of us is unable to make it to work.

What words of advice would you give an artist that is just starting out in the industry and has interest in TV/Film

Linda Preston: Go to an accredited makeup school and learn all that you can. Get as much experience as you can find. Work on independent films, commercials, webisodes, music videos, Film schools and courses. Practice, practice, practice. Keep learning, try to shadow or apprentice with an established artist. Work for free. Don’t hand out business cards or resumes on a job. Remain humble, nothing is ever beneath you - no job is too small. Enthusiasm for your work, be passionate. Wear comfortable shoes, find a mentor, and one day, pay it back


Photo: Sven Frenzel for The CW

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  • Makeup artist,
  • TV,
  • reign,
  • movie