Defying stereotypes: Male senior does makeup design

February 9, 2017 — by Daniel Bessonov and Esha Lakhotia

Stereotypes are broken in new waves of men. 

Senior JT Hulme remembers standing backstage during a performance of the fall play, “The White Snake,” feeling pride as he watched his creations step onto the McAfee Center stage.

Hulme, however, is not an inventor — rather, he is one of the state’s premier makeup artists, having won the Southern California State Championships for Makeup Design and Art, competing as one of only two males in the predominantly female competition.

Kelly McLaughlin, a makeup artist that works with JT in the drama department, said that she thought it was “very cool” that JT was getting recognition for his outstanding work.

“Seeing him win was awesome to see. Not only were his designs amazing, but he truly deserved the win,” McLaughlin said. “Especially in a community like Saratoga, where we’re kind of in a bubble, it’s really amazing that we can still embrace people who defy the stereotypes, or who go against the social norm.”

According to Hulme, his passion for makeup design surfaced in seventh grade, sparked by the Sci-Fi television series “FaceOff.”

“I’ve always been interested the idea of creating monsters and other similar things through makeup,” Hulme said. “However, after I watched ‘FaceOff,’ a show where people compete to do exactly this, I decided that I wanted to learn and gain the skills necessary to be able to do what [the contestants] were doing.”

When he reached high school, Hulme became active in the school’s drama department, doing makeup for a majority of the department’s shows.

“Mostly when we need any type of makeup I am the first person the drama department asks,” Hulme said. “I’ve helped out on all sorts of productions, ranging from ‘Guys and Dolls’ to ‘The White Snake,’ a personal favorite of mine.”

In pursuing this interest, Hulme has found that the greatest obstacle is finding the resources to train.

“It’s really hard to find good training, as most of the classes that are offered for makeup are either horrible, expensive or reserved for adults,” Hulme said. “Also, buying makeup, especially special effects, is very expensive, as it’s a relatively small market.”

Although Hulme considers makeup design a true passion, he said that it is unlikely that he will be pursuing it as his full-time career, due to the lack of makeup-related classes at most four year universities.

Nevertheless, Hulme said that he does not plan dropping makeup-design any time soon, and he will continue to assist those who need his help whenever he can.

“I definitely know going forward, I’m going to continue helping out with productions, continue refining my skills and just generally help out those who need my skill and creativity,” Hulme said.

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