Monday, August 24, 2015

My interview with Make Up Artist Cathy Highland.

"The truth is, the cosmetics industry is not regulated.  Cosmetics companies don’t have to disclose what is actually in things... and they will say it is a ‘trade secret.’"

Cathy Highland is a Hollywood makeup artist who has remained humble although she's been at the top of her game for years. She has a team of makeup artists who work with her as she travels around the world. And although she doesn’t ordinarily discuss her clients or give out their names, I did get the list from her private website. Born and raised in Iowa, she moved to Los Angeles 25 years ago; since then, she has worked on over 300 of the most famous faces in the world.  

Anne Hathaway, Annette Bening, Carla Gugino, Catherine Deneuve, Chloe Sevigny, Claire Danes, Glenn Close, Heidi Klum, Helena Bonham Carter, Hilary Swank, Julianne Moore, Katherine Heigl, Marcia Gay Harden, Melanie Griffith, Miley Cyrus, Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman, Robin Wright, Scarlett Johansson, Uma Thurman; Adrien Brody, Antonio Banderas, Christopher Walken, David Beckham, Dennis Hopper, Ed Harris, Ethan Hawke, Gary Oldman, Jamie Fox, Jet Li, Jimmy Fallon, Jim Caviezel, Mathew Broderick, Mel Brooks, Ralph Fiennes, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Tommy Lee Jones; Anita Baker, Bonnie Raitt, Jimmy Page, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Sting.
Cathy Highland has worked on 59 national commercial campaigns. She has been on tour with Janet Jackson and with Michael Jackson. Her print work has appeared in Allure, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, In Style, NY Times Magazine, Shape, Cosmopolitan, Detour, Esquire, Jane, Life, Maxim, People, Playboy, Self, Town & Country, Vanity Fair, and Vogue. 
Recently, Cathy has become more aware of the ingredients in makeup products, many of which are chemicals known to be harmful. As a result, she has started using Beautycounter products on herself and some of her clients. Beautycounter is a product that has removed all toxic chemicals from makeup and skin care. Skin is our largest organ, and for those who apply makeup or have it applied regularly, some have begun to develop an awareness of what they are putting on their skin. 

The Interview
Corey: Can you talk a little bit about what you’ve experienced as a makeup artist in Hollywood, and the changes you have seen in the past twenty-five years?

Cathy: It’s very different and it is becoming harder for me to help younger artists navigate their careers because there are so many more people doing it.  When I started, there were only a handful of agencies in town, and I don’t even know how many there are now. I have an agent who has represented me for over twenty years.  Some of the changes have to do with make up artists becoming public figures, with the attention to what goes on with reality shows,  with writing their own books and doing talk shows.  The red carpet coverage now involves hair stylists and make up artists as part of the commentary.  I remember getting people ready for The Oscars and there wasn’t nearly the red carpet sensation that goes on now.  One of my clients, Glenn Close, was talking about what she has seen in her career.  She said you used to just put on a pretty dress and go, now it’s a whole thing. If I have an Oscar nominee client, my agent can get me corporate sponsorship and I have been lucky enough to be sponsored by Chanel.  They ask you to post/tweet and to do online interviews with magazines about what products you used and what was the vibe in the room.  It can be a lot more pressure for you and your clients. 

Corey:  How did you become aware of Beautycounter products in your work in Hollywood?

Cathy: Benedict Cumberbatch asked me to find him a skin care line that was paraben free.  I went looking for those products and found Beautycounter, they also had a high performance make up line and it was safe and toxin free.  I had to educate myself and felt that I should have known this. I had been using really high end products and thinking it was fine. The truth is, the cosmetics industry is not regulated.  Cosmetics companies don’t have to disclose what is actually in things and they will say it is a ‘trade secret’--this way we don’t actually know what is in the products. The lobbying for the cosmetics industry is huge. Beautycounter is trying to ignite change in Washington. I can feel good about representing a company who is doing all of the hard work for me and the consumer.  Beautycounter has a banned list of over 1500 toxic chemicals and they are transparent about every item that goes into their products.  They will not put out a product that does not meet their high safety and performance standards.  They don’t have a full line yet, for example they don’t have mascara yet, but it should be out around the end of the year.  It’s a life style brand, not a make up artist brand, so sometimes I will have to make brand choices outside of Beautycounter for the items not available yet, but my team and I use different apps available to see the health and safety ratings and to make better choices. One popular app is Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep (  Sometimes the database is limited on apps, but the goal is to use products that are as safe as they can be and that makes me feel good.  I have people on my team helping me put together the greenest kits we can.  We take other things to work, but we try to use Beautycounter products wherever possible.

Corey: Can you talk about the EWG ratings? How does it work?

Cathy: They give a rating from 0 to 10.  Sometimes you’re pretty surprised at how horrible things rate. Things I’ve been using. Products that my clients, friends and family use.  I’m not saying these products aren’t very high performance. I’m saying look at what’s in them. Is it something you need every day or is it something just for specific problems or a color for a special occasion.  I am very happy with the performance of the Beautycounter, the skin care line and the makeup line. What I have found is that my skin has never looked better.

Corey: Are actors and actresses receptive? Do they get it?

Cathy: I work with Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey, Ragtime), and I’ve been using it on her. I did her makeup first...and it looked beautiful, then I told her...and she was thrilled!  When it’s really healthy and it looks good, that’s great! I used it with Alexander Skarsgard. He was thrilled that it was toxin free and safe. He was really the first guy I did with the makeup. Because when I worked with Benedict, I was just using the skincare products. I work also with writer/ producer Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal) and I used it on her in the past couple of days. It works for all skin types too. I actually prefer it. It’s very high performance. I mean, you can go get something that is “natural” at Whole Foods or something, but most of those are not high performance—and just because they say ‘natural’ doesn’t mean that they are. In Europe, they have banned 1, 300 harmful chemicals from their products. In the U.S., only 11 have been banned! Beautycounter has banned 1,500. It’s taking it to a whole new level. 

Corey: What do you tell the actors?

Cathy: Usually people will ask about what I’m using, I tell them I’m going green and I’ve found something high performance that is toxin free and safe. It’s not chemical free, because even water is a chemical. But it’s free of toxic chemicals. Skin is our biggest organ. I can offer them that and they’re still going to look beautiful. I used to share technique with people, just use a cream liner and do this, get a dark shadow and do this. Now I tell them, you know you can have this and have the benefits without using harmful products on a daily basis. I mean why would you take care of your skin and then put on top of it a bunch of toxic chemicals? I have gone to clients’ houses and helped them clean out what they’re using and give them new product. This was before Beautycounter. And they would take their all their old makeup and give it to their kids to play with. I cringe when I think of that now.  Old dirty toxic makeup.  I didn’t know. And then there’s this awareness. So now I feel like I’m part of that mission, and I can’t not tell people. I feel a need to share and to educate.

Corey: So where do you go from here?

Cathy: I feel like this adds more relevance to my career. It makes it more important. I think in my career before, it was like, ‘oh, makeup artist doesn’t really matter.’ But I really help my clients feel better, and I can show up and I can identify with the meaningful side of my career. It’s really gone to another level.  It’s like I have a mission. I want people on shows to be able to request this. You can tell your makeup artist what you want when you are a series regular. I have met with the beauty supply store that I have been dealing with my whole career, Naime’s. I can’t get to every makeup artist, and honestly there’s a conflict of interest to be a Beautycounter consultant and sell to their show, so what I did was I met with the woman who runs Naimie’s Beauty Supply, Nicole.  And she will allow any makeup artist on a show to shop through Naimie’s and put it on their purchase order. People can say they want Beautycounter foundation for example and Nicole will shop it for them and add it to their purchase order.  These products are going on actors' skin every day that they work. I mean it’s a beautiful product. If they’re going to be requesting anyway, why not request something that’s safe. Because I know that makeup artists on shows have that problem, they can’t buy off a credit card and stuff like that on a purchase order, so Naimie’s said they’re willing to do that.  We’re trying to empower the people who are actually, like you, having someone work on their face and are really vulnerable. And if you ask for the product, you’re not asking for something unreasonable…$38 for foundation. When you ask for it, it’s not like your being a diva! Or people can buy their own and take it into production. I want people to feel empowered and have a resource. 

 Shonda Rhimes and CathyHighland

"In Europe, they have banned 1, 300 harmful chemicals from their products. In the U.S., only 11 have been banned! Beautycounter has banned 
1, 500."

I don’t have any advertising on this blog, but I do want to put out there any product that is relevant to the actor and may be a healthy alternative. In fact, my beautiful wife, Angela, has joined Cathy Highland’s team and is spreading the word about beautycounter. If you are interested in beautycounter, you can click here (  for more information.  

The Never List

Our Never List is a robust roundup of ingredients that you will never find in Beautycounter products. We have done our homework to make recognizing, understanding, and avoiding these ingredients easier for you. Print out an Always-With-You Never List and carry in your wallet for easy reference while on the go.

Animal fats, oils, and musks: tallow, rendered beef or mutton fat, oils or musks from animals like mink, emu and sharks that are procured after an animal has been killed. Found in: soap, salve, shaving products, lubricants, paints, and all types of cosmetics.
Benzalkonium chloride: a disinfectant used as a preservative and surfactant associated with severe skin, eye and respiratory irritation and allergies. Found in: sunscreens, moisturizers.
Benzophenone and derivatives: a possible human carcinogen and hormone disruptor used as a fragrance ingredient and to absorb ultraviolet light. Found in: nail polish, sunscreen.
Bisphenol A (BPA): a hormone disruptor that may also alter DNA, used in plastics and resins. Found in: plastic bottles, lining of aluminum food cans, possibly in eyeshadow and styling gel.
Butoxyethanol: a solvent used to control viscosity, or a “fragrance” additive. It irritates skin and may cause cancer and reproductive toxicity. Found in: fragrance, hair color.
BHA and BHT: synthetic antioxidants used to extend shelf life. They are likely carcinogens and hormone disruptors, and may cause liver damage. Found in: lipsticks, moisturizers, diaper creams, and other cosmetics.
Coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients: a byproduct of coal processing that is a known carcinogen. It is used as a colorant and an anti-dandruff agent. Found in: hair dye, shampoo.
1,4-dioxane: a by-product of manufacturing that is a probable human carcinogen (a known animal carcinogen) as well as toxic to organs and the respiratory system, and a skin irritant. Likely to be present where ethoxylated ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate, PEGs, and ceteareth are listed on ingredient labels. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA): a chelating (binding) agent added to cosmetics to improve stability. May be toxic to organs. Found in: hair color, moisturizers.
Ethanolamines (MEA/DEA/TEA): surfactants and pH adjuster linked to allergies, skin toxicity, hormone disruption, and inhibited fetal brain development. Found in: hair dyes, mascara, foundation, fragrances, sunscreens, dry cleaning solvents, paint, pharmaceuticals.
Formaldehyde: used as a preservative in cosmetics. A known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. Present where quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol) and several other preservatives are listed. Beautycounter does not use any of these formaldehyde-donating preservatives. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath. 
Hydroquinone: a skin lightening chemical that inhibits the production of melanin
and is a linked to cancer, organ toxicity and skin irritation. Found in: skin lightening creams.
Methyl cellosolve: fragrance ingredient and solvent that is an irritant and a possible neurotoxin, developmental toxin, and cause of DNA mutations that could lead to cancer. Found in: anti-aging creams.

Methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone: chemical preservatives that are among the most common irritants, sensitizers and causes of contact skin allergies. Found in: shampoo, conditioner, body wash.
Mercury and mercury compounds (also listed as Thimerosal): metallic element used as a preservative and antiseptic known to damage brain function. Found in: ear and eye drops; may be used in mascara.
Mineral Oil (also listed as liquid paraffin; liquid petrolatum; paraffin oil): a by-product of petroleum distillation that may cause contact dermatitis. Found in: baby lotions, cold creams, ointments.
Oxybenzone: sunscreen agent and ultraviolet light absorber linked to irritation, sensitization and allergies, and possible hormone disruption. Found in: sunscreen, moisturizer.
Parabens  (methyl-, isobutyl-, proply- and others): a class of preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Parabens are endocrine (or hormone) disruptors, which alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies. Specially, parabens mimic estrogen; they can lock on to our cell’s own estrogen receptors and mess with important natural signals. They may play a role in triggering breast cancer. Found in: shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, foundation.
Phthalates  (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others): a class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to skin. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and may cause birth defects. Found in: synthetic fragrance, nail polish, hairspray.

Polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds): PEGs are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which are both carcinogens. Found in: creams, sunscreen, shampoo.
Resorcinol: a colorant and fragrance ingredient that is a skin irritant, toxic to the
immune system and organs, and suspected to cause hormone disruption. Found in: hair color.
Retinyl palmitate and Retinol (Vitamin A): a nutrient that may damage DNA and speed the growth of skin tumors when used topically. Found in: moisturizer, anti-aging skincare.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES): SLS and SLES are surfactants that can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies. SLES is often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of a petrochemical process called ethoxylation which is used to process other chemicals in order to make them less harsh. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.
Synthetic flavor or fragrance: an engineered scent or flavoring agent that may contain any combination of 3,000+ stock chemical ingredients, including hormone disruptors and allergens. Fragrance formulas are protected under federal law's classification of trade secrets, and therefore can remain undisclosed. Found in: all types of cosmetics.
Toluene: a volatile petrochemical solvent that is toxic to the immune system and can
cause birth defects. Found in: nail polish.
Triclosan and Triclocarban: antimicrobial pesticides toxic to the aquatic environment; may also impact human reproductive systems. Found in: liquid soap, soap bars, toothpaste.

Beautycounter will never test our finished products on animals, nor do we ask others to.
Sources include: EWG Skin Deep Database, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, David Suzuki Foundation

Sunday, July 26, 2015

De Niro quotes from Harry Ransom Center

I read the biography on De Niro and have focused only on what is a direct quote of De Niro’s.  This includes notes on his scripts. All of his scripts with notes are in the archives at the Harry Ransom Center.

“There was a teacher who taught at Sarah Lawrence, and he said, ‘Just go on instinct.’ And it kind of frees you because you get distracted with, ‘What’s my character? What’s my motivation?...You forget in life, people don’t behave that way. They just do what they’re doing. There’s no thought behind it.”

Script: Wedding Party (1969)
Some notes: “Have certain things like rifle and fishing that I would like to use.”

“I have a disrespect for things like people’s clothes, so I keep touching people all the time, and the same with any and all objects…keep looking at all the nice broads that pass. Think which is good for a lay and which is not. Use napkin and don’t put it in lap, but finish and throw it on plate with rest of food. I bought my suits for $25 at Smith’s Bargain Hall. Do the whole thing with complete conviction and confidence.”

Script: The Gang that couldn’t shoot straight (1971)
Notes: “I make believe I don’t see where to pay or how. It’s like something that doesn’t concern me.”

Script: Bloody Mama (1970)
Notes: “To show what’s unlikeable about me. I do all the opposite things that people do (or are called to do) in certain situations. Like smiling when I tell Arthur Mamma died.”

Quote: “I didn’t play dumb. I just tried to play each scene for where it was. Some people are dumb, but they’re not dumb---I guess they’re insensitive, but they’re not insensitive to everything.”

Script: Godfather 2 (1974)
Notes: “Never show how you feel cause you never know how things will turn out.”
“Think of my father here. Don’t get too rash. Wait. Control yourself.”
“There’s a peasant shrewdness which I haven’t found yet.”
“Perfectly still like a cat ready to strike.”
“I’m a listener. I don’t have to move to do a lot…talking is really not that important. Don’t just answer. Think. Really think, weigh.”
“Don’t forget to get that serpent color.”

Film: Taxi Driver (1976)
Quote: “I got the idea of making Travis more like a crab. It’s a hot, sunny day. He’s out of his cab, which is his protective shell—he’s outside his element. He’s all dry and hot, finally he breaks down. I got the image of a crab moving awkwardly, sideways and back. It’s not that you imitate a crab, but the image gives you something to work with. It gives you another kind if behavior.”

Film: New York, New York
Quote: I thought of Jimmy Doyle as a fly stuck on fly paper, trying to get himself free.

Film: Raging Bull
Notes: “The way I talk is like poetry. The energy is what conveys this. I slur the words but the energy coming through is important…Hated racket guys and tough guys…After I blew up, I’d suffer a lot with remorse—‘I don’t know how I could do that.’ My rage and frustration coming out through the drink…Never lay around, always doing something: shopping, golf, etc. ..Never confided in people. Work it out myself. Didn’t want people to know my real problems.”

“I know I’m a fighter. I have a right to be a fighter and act like one physically and in every other way…Remember during all fights, you’re not a fighter per se (or rather a fighter-fighter style-wise.) You can only do so much. But you must have that intention, that aggressiveness, and have fun with it, and it will give you what you need. Just concentrate on knocking the motherfucker out and keep watching him, for any opening and keep my block up…Remember, I just scare them looking at them…My humor doesn’t go too well with these people—or people in general. Except those who know me really well, I’m cold and distrustful with people I don’t know or am not close to but with family and friends a little looser. ..Remember I’m paranoid, DON’T TRUST NOBODY!”

QUOTE: When we got to New York ,we didn’t want him [LaMotta] around. He understood because you don’t want the guy to come over and say, ‘That’s not the way I did it.’ You feel his presence and all your energy is drained. You feel like you are doing it for the approval of someone else.”

“I just can’t fake acting. I know movies are an illusion, and maybe the first rule is to fake it, but not for me. I want the experience. I want to deal with all the facts of the character, thin or fat. …I needed to feel Jake’s shame at getting fat, to feel my feet hurt with the extra weight to know what it’s like to be short of breath and not be able to bend down and tie your shoes….It really made me feel a certain way and behave a certain way.”

Film: True Confessions
Quote: I talked to tons of priests. But then I realized I don’t want to complicate it and clog myself with the wrong choices. You can know too much.”

“You have to earn the right to play a character.”

“I really don’t like to be distracted when I’m working on these things. So maybe I sublimate my own personality to get the totality of the role…I try to make him appear as real as if I’d known him all my life. Therefore, it’s not easy for me to flip back out of character as I come off camera.”

“Technique is concrete…Acting isn’t really respected enough as an art. Your body is an instrument and you have to learn to play the instrument. It’s like knowing how to play the piano. There ought to be acting schools that take you in as children, the way it’s done with musicians. You don’t need experience to learn technique.”

Film: King of Comedy
Quote: “Jer—I need you to know that I really want to kill you in this picture, we can’t socialize, we can’t have dinner, we can’t go out.”
(to Jerry Lewis)

“on Rupert: “Chicken. Gawky. A bird whose neck goes out as he walks.”
“I knew that Pupkin ironed his clothes, kept an organized room, had been an English major, stared without meaning to, and was polite to almost everyone he met for fear of being disliked if he wasn’t” “A gentleman,…A little desperate perhaps, but still a gentleman.”

Film: The Mission
Notes: “tense like Mad Dog Kelly.”
“Remember, always relate, always relate, the key, the key.”

link: Robert DeNiro collection at Harry Ransom Center

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Charles Jehlinger

You may not have heard of acting teacher Charles Jehlinger. He was the head teacher at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts from 1923 until his death in 1952. He had been one of the first graduates there. He did not write a book and he refused to do any interviews. Those who worked with him considered him to be one of the great teachers. Charles Jehlinger taught Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Kirk Douglas, Hume Cronyn, Edward G. Robinson, Anne Bancroft, Robert Redford, among many others. 

If he wanted people not to know about him, he was successful. (His wikipedia page is in German:

He had a student, Don Richardson, who also became a teacher and then wrote a book (Acting without Agony) that is supposedly teaching the Jehlinger approach to acting. 

I have this book and have scanned a portion of it. Here is the link to the .PDF file of Acting without Agony

Below are a few stories about Charles Jehlinger from Kirk Douglas' autobiography 
The Ragman's Son:

That's all he wrote about Jehlinger, but this is a really good book. The next book is Hume Cronyn's autobiography, A Terrible Liar.  This book gets going halfway through. He really did accomplish a lot, and much of it with his wife, Jessica Tandy.

“There is no limit to the art of acting. You need the understanding of all human nature, the sense of beauty of the artist and poet, the sense of rhythm of the dancer and musician, the mentality of a philosopher and scientist. It is the universal art.”

Charles Jehlinger