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Donni Davy Talks the ‘Emotional Glam’ Makeup in ‘Euphoria’ Season Two

The makeup artist talks about how the new season’s makeup continues the glitter and graphic looks fans expect while reflecting darker themes.

No recent TV show has had as massive an impact on beauty trends as HBO’s teen drama “Euphoria,” which after its summer 2019 debut influenced a new generation of teenagers to embrace bright colors, graphic lines and an ample amount of glitter for their everyday beauty looks.

The show’s second season — which stars Zendaya, Hunter Schafer, Sydney Sweeney, Alexa Demie and others as high schoolers navigating love, friendship, addiction and their identities — made its highly anticipated debut earlier this month after a more than two-year hiatus with a range of standout beauty looks that continue the first season’s aesthetic while playing a role in each character’s development, much in the same way as the show’s high-fashion costumes do.

“Similar to last season, the makeup designs are all coming from a place of what the characters are going through,” said makeup artist Donni Davy, who has worked on both seasons of “Euphoria.” “It’s sort of emotional glam, that’s what I’ve been calling it this season. The approach is always to work collaboratively with the cast members and understand where they’re coming from in a particular scene or episode and get their take on what their frame of mind is.”

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Davy said her strategy for the show’s second season was not to mimic what she created in the first, but to “continue that conversation in a way that’s appropriate with the stylistic changes that went on for season two,” meaning tackling the season’s darker subject lines and each character’s struggles and translating that into the makeup.

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Because “Euphoria” season two’s production was impacted by the pandemic — the season was scheduled to begin filming in mid-March 2020 and was delayed a year — Davy spent her time during quarantine “in a ‘Euphoria’ makeup world,” where she tested graphic looks on herself that she later used for the characters. She said her main source of inspiration was seeing what Gen Z was doing on Instagram and TikTok.

“The [makeup] I was doing over quarantine was a lot bigger, bolder and brighter,” she explained. “A more refined version of that is what we landed on for the actual season. A lot of that was based on the whole show being so stylistically different. I think all departments were approaching it in the same way where it’s like, let’s not match what we did on season one. Let’s not try to go bigger or bolder. Let’s do something different but continue the conversation of the entire aesthetic.”

Davy explained that the season’s makeup looks have a large range, with characters at times sporting a minimal look and then having a full “emotional glam” moment. She stated that among the “Euphoria” characters, she thinks Sweeney’s Cassie and Maude Apatow’s Lexi have the most striking beauty moments in the new season.

Cassie is perhaps one of the season’s most emotional characters, constantly in a state of panic and anxiety following her newfound secret relationship with Nate, played by Jacob Elordi, who is also her best friend Maddy, played by Alexa Demie’s, ex-boyfriend. Davy reflected the character’s internal crisis through “emotional glam” makeup.

“There’s just a lot to play with her because she’s always in this panicked, emotional state, yet she always has glam makeup,” Davy said. “That was really fun to combine those two elements of these glam makeup looks, but have them feel like they were applied with this desperation or anxious feelings behind it. She’s trying to get and keep [Nate’s] attention and she’s just slowly spiraling out of her mind.”

Davy also stated that Lexi’s character has one of her favorite beauty moments at the end of the season and that her beauty reflects how she “becomes more self-actualized this season in all regards, not just makeup.”

Schafer’s Jules has one of the biggest changes this season in terms of her beauty looks, seemingly abandoning her ultra feminine, pastel-colored makeup for more artistic-eyeliner looks and minimal moments.

“[Jules’ makeup] is a little more minimal and a little less colorful across the board,” Davy said. “But then there’s a couple moments of extreme color. I think it’s a little bit more unexpected, sort of manic maybe. It’s all about the details. The looks aren’t big. You won’t see a big colorful eye, but you’ll see these cool little details that are unusual.”

Coming from Jules’ bridge episode that aired last January, the character is in a place where she is questioning her femininity and sexual identity through her relationship with men and Zendaya’s Rue. Like her costumes, her makeup also reflects this struggle she’s having with her identity.

“She showed up in this season without her long hair and in that special episode she talks about peeling back these layers and questioning her femininity with her therapist, so the looks definitely reflect that,” she said. “Like the eyeliner shape on New Year’s Eve [in the first episode], it almost doesn’t feel like makeup. It’s more like an art moment on her face rather than makeup. You did see her channeling femininity a lot more in the first season with whimsical moments. Her looks are not whimsical or feminine this season.”

While “Euphoria” had such a large impact on beauty trends after its premiere, Davy said she was surprised at how much the show’s makeup resonated with fans and wasn’t anticipating the response.

“I just thought people might think the makeup was cool and maybe it would be mentioned in an article,” she said. “I didn’t expect [the response] at all, but I think seeing looks like that that you’re used to seeing more on models or in fashion, seeing them on these real characters on the show was kind of like the thing that made the makeup relatable and inviting for the audience to jump on board and recreate it because it’s attainable.”

Davy carried this ethos into the new season, with its makeup looks sure to inspire a range of beauty trends this year.

 

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