In promoting the movie, Providence, TBAP is hosting some interviews. Last week, actress and filmmaker, Irene Santiago, visited our corner. Today, TBAP is hosting Jennifer Whitus, the makeup artist that worked on the characters on the Providence set. Follow our chat below!
Me: Hello Jennifer! Delighted to have you visit TBAP today! Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Jennifer: Hi Miranda, thank you for interviewing me! I was born and raised in Nashville, TN, and live with my husband and our pets. I attended Lipscomb university in Nashville and received my bachelor of science degree in Psychology. I have been a freelance makeup artist since 2008.
Me: How did you become a Christian? Tell us your story!
Jennifer: I was born and raised in Church of Christ, and was baptized at our church camp when I was 14 years old. My parents raised me as a Christian, and have continued to live as one. I always believe in trying to do what is right, and enjoy working in faith-based environments.
Me: What led you to become a makeup artist? Why work on film sets and not anywhere else like say, fashion?
Jennifer: My first gig on a set was for a music video in 2007 as a production assistant, which was hard work. I saw the makeup artist on set and wondered how she started her career. At the time I was working at Sephora as a makeup artist, and decided to quit in 2008 to pursue my freelance makeup career.
Me: How brave!
What led you to choose to work on Christian sets? What’s the story?
Jennifer: I was hired on my first faith-based film in 2010, and really enjoyed the messages given in the film. Also, in 2010 I started freelancing at the TBN network on their various shows filmed in Hendersonville, TN, such as Praise The Lord, IShine Knect, The Lads, and Joy in our Town.
Me: How many film sets have you worked on? Can you also name some actors/characters that you worked with?
Jennifer: I have worked on 11 film sets, 7 of them faith-based. I am currently working on the film Silver Twins, which is an amazing faith-based film. Some of the actors/musicians are: John Schneider, Larry Gatlin, Joel Smallbone, Billy Ray Cyrus, Jennifer Taylor, Natalie Grant, Jenn Gotzon, Jason Crabb, The Oak Ridge Boys, just to name a few.
As you work, what do you hope to achieve? What is the principle behind your work ethic?
Jennifer: I believe in trying my best to achieve what the director envisions for the character’s look, whether it be aging a character, special effects, or beauty makeup. I always welcome feedback, and enjoy working with new and familiar actors.
Me: How has been a makeup artist helped you become a better Christian/artist?
Jennifer: In my line of work, I get to work with many different religions, and I always want to be respectful of their beliefs. I enjoy faith-based sets because we get to pray before we start the day, and that is such a positive beginning to a full day!
Me: It truly is important to be respectful of other people’s beliefs no matter what. We’ve been called to love, not judge. Thank you for that!
Looking back, is there anything you would do differently? Any regrets in your journey so far?
Jennifer: I just wish that I could be in two places at once, I hate turning down work!
Me: Ah! I know the feeling.
How would you compare makeup artistry in Christian film to the one in the secular entertainment? How can we make it better?
Jennifer: I have worked on several secular sets and faith-based sets, the major difference to me has been praying before we started filming.
Me: You worked with Irene Santiago who played Edith, a character that ages forty years in the movie, Providence. How did this character inspire you to become better at what you do? Also, how did she inspire you from a spiritual point of view?
Jennifer: I really enjoyed working with Irene. She’s a pleasure to work with and so talented. While watching her act, I believed that she had suffered a stroke, and I could tell she gave it her all. I liked working with her on the aging makeup, to see each step completed, and to then see the finished look.
Me: Actors who make believable characters always inspire. As a writer I hope to accomplish the same with my work. Thank you for that, too!
What drew you to the Providence story? Why did you accept to work on this set?
Jennifer: I was thrilled when Sharon contacted me for the movie. I first met her while teaching a makeup workshop for her film Flowers For Fannie. I just couldn’t say no!
Me: How has the movie as a whole impacted you?
Jennifer: That’s a great question, I cannot wait to see the film!
Me: As a contributor to the art in this film, what do you hope viewers will walk away with?
Jennifer: I hope viewers will understand the heart of the movie, and believe in the power of God.
Me: Yeah. The heart of a movie, like any story, is very important. I pray with you that the intended message is passed across.
In a quick summary, describe what it’s like to be a makeup artist. Is the dream to be one very different from the reality?
Jennifer: I enjoy working with new actors and crew, as well as my regular clients. It takes a lot of hard work and networking. I believe in working hard and using set etiquette always.
Me: What word of advice would you give to anyone who chooses to venture into makeup artistry in film?
Jennifer: Work hard and network to assist makeup artists on set and, never give up!
Me: Ah! Networking. Of course. Great advice!
THIS or THAT
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Heels or Flats? Flats
Boots or Sandals? Sandals
Lipstick or Lip gloss? Lipstick
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
Ice cream or Shakes? Shakes
Cakes or Bread? Cakes
Rain or Snow? Snow
Spring or Fall? Spring
Summer or Winter? Summer
Cooking or Cleaning? Cooking
Breakfast or Dinner? Dinner
Books or Music? Books
Gym or Outdoor? Outdoor
Leather jacket or Blazer? Blazer
Thank you, Jennifer, for your time today!
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Since 2008, Jennifer Whitus has worked for TBN, CBS, A&E, 48 Hours, Golf Channel, and on sets for faith-based feature films, just to name a few. It has been said by countless producers, directors, and crew that Jennifer is a pleasure to work with due to her talent, professionalism, her ability to make everyone (including the guys) feel comfortable wearing makeup, and never-quit attitude on the toughest of sets. Jennifer resides in Nashville with her husband, dog, and cats. She enjoys reading, flea markets, vintage decorating, and volunteering at animal shelters/fostering homeless animals. Find Jennifer on LinkedIn.