Like any great artist she works with meticulous strokes of the hand, light touches, and attention to every fine detail, only Zoë Franklin works with a living canvas: the human face. Seeing her apply makeup on an Armenian model you get the sense that she’s in a constant state of meditation, focused entirely on the moment, each brushstroke posed with grace and fluidity.
Zoë Franklin, a Hollywood makeup artist for film and television, wears her craft modestly in that perfect complexion that graces her youthful features. She’s artist in the truest sense, with the constantly transforming canvas of the human face. She describes herself as a typical American mutt, with ethnic heritage from around the globe including Greek, Italian, Irish, Pilipino, but her true beauty may not come from her soft and subtly beautiful features, but her skill of enhancing the natural beauty of a subject hailing from any origin or background. She seems surprised when someone complements her on her very unique ability to work with skin tones form such ethnically divergent backgrounds, explaining modestly that it’s an inherent part of the job.
Zoë was born in New Jersey, picking up and moving around the country throughout her childhood to places such San Francisco and Colorado. Traveling throughout her childhood proved an inspiration for her future career, being exposed to so many people and so many different types of faces.
She recalls being a young girl and picking wild flowers amongst the mountains of Colorado, playing mad chemist in her kitchen and developing perfumes and lipstick. The mad chemist never trained formally in her art, but rather got started in the industry through acting in theatre. When she moved out to California she made money doing makeup jobs here and there, revealing her inherent talent that has blossomed into her current passion and career.
She works mainly on commercials, but has worked in film and fashion. She has even done a web series with Anthony Anderson and Jenna Elfman and done work at the Mercedes Benz fashion week. She describes the fashion world as very fast-paced, the difference between living in New York and LA. Although she enjoyed the experience she embraces the film community and would enjoy continuing to work in Hollywood.
She humorously relates that she cannot recall any horror stories that you might imagine in the world of film and television and feels privileged to work with so many wonderful and inspiring people. As a true artist she only wishes that her work goes unnoticed on the screen. She believes that makeup should ring true to the story and bring alive the characters natural features.
She describes herself as team player, a humanitarian artist with a predilection for hard work. It seems clear that with her buoyant personality, unchallenged talent and an undoubtedly strong work ethic that Zoë Franklin will be painting beautiful faces for a long time to come.
Zoë Franklin: Makeup Artist
written by Timothy J. Fuller // photography by Michael Hallstrom