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Living Art

WEB-EXCLUSIVE: Laguna Beach's famed Pageant of the Masters would never happen without the dedication of teams of volunteer makeup artists, turning people into pieces of art history.

Rose Palmisano/The Orange County Register

Pageant of the Masters
July 7-Aug. 31, 2011
650 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach
949.497.6582 :: foapom.com

They are the magicians bringing artistic creations to life. The cast and crew of the world-renowned Pageant of the Masters are comprised purely of volunteers. They give their time and talent to recreate some of the most beautiful and astounding works of art in history.  

Backstage, volunteer makeup artists swiftly paint up their subjects to resemble works of da Vinci, Michelangelo, Picasso, etc. These artists, in their own right, are superheroes in a way – they all have alter egos. They have a wide assortment of daytime occupations – special education teacher, flight attendant, criminal defense attorney, etc. – and at night, dash off to anonymously paint living pictures paying tribute to the most famous painters and sculptors in art history.

In order to get an idea of what it takes to put on a show of this magnitude year after year, we sat down with some of the key people helping bring the show to life – the makeup artists.
    
Hope Bosheff
Special education teacher for preschoolers
10 years at Pageant of the Masters


What's the best part about volunteering for Pageant?
I love the people I volunteer with. I have made some very dear friends over the 10 years I have volunteered. There are people from all professions and walks of life who volunteer. Knowing them is a blessing to me.

What's the hardest part of working at Pageant?
We have volunteers who perform in paintings who are as young as five years old. It can be challenging to paint a young child because they have to sit still for approximately 20-30 minutes. They are so cute and really do a good job for how young they are.

Does volunteering ever interfere with your day job?
I am lucky that with my job I have a summer break and the two months I happen to have off are July and August. It works out well.

What is the most rewarding aspect?
When I hear people say how good the show was or when I hear the audience applauding during the show. With the arts being cut out of school curriculums, it really is wonderful being a part of something that is all about the arts.

Kathy Brennan
Criminal defense attorney; retired public defender
10 years at Pageant of the Masters


What prompted you to join Pageant?
I became a makeup volunteer because I had a friend who was doing it and she spoke very highly of how much she enjoyed it. I wanted to expand my horizons and do something new. I have always loved artistic events and I live nearby so it seemed like a good idea.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
Friendships are absolutely the best part of working at the Pageant. It is also a privilege to be a part of such a fantastic show. The kind of people who are willing to give so much of their time to put on the show are very special and you don’t find that many wonderful people all in one place very often.

What's the hardest part of working at Pageant?
The most challenging aspect of our job is to get faster without sacrificing quality. Depending on the size of the cast, we might have to do 30 to 50 people in a night and that’s just one team. There are usually five teams working at once.

Has your day job helped you with your work in Pageant?  
Being a criminal defense lawyer hasn’t had any effect in any way. There are probably as many occupations backstage as there are people. We get trained by the people who are team leaders and by doing it for seven nights in a row under time constraints to get everyone on stage timely.

What is the most rewarding aspect?
Getting to know the cast members we’re painting throughout the summer, the fun we have with each other and hearing the audience’s reaction to the pieces. We take pride in our work and it shows in how fabulous the Pageant is every year.

Kathe Julian
Paraeducator working in special education at a high school
One year at Pageant of the Masters


What prompted you to join Pageant?
After many years of enjoying the Pageant, my friend saw an article in [The Orange County] Register about a casting call for volunteers to work behind the scenes. So we decided to go and see what it was all about. One of the best choices we have made.

What's the best part about volunteering for Pageant?
The great people. Everyone is there because they WANT to be there, the mood is always upbeat even when we are rushing to get the volunteers on stage.

Has your day job helped you with your work in Pageant?  
My job in special education has actually helped a lot because we once had one boy last year who was very, very wiggly and had a hard time relaxing his face, so it was very difficult to apply the makeup. I was able to distract him in ways I have distracted students who are off task and then focus back on the subject.

Madison Keyes
Studying to become a makeup artist for film, TV and theater
One year at Pageant of the Masters


What prompted you to join Pageant?
I knew I wanted to be a part of it as soon as the opportunity came. Makeup for live theater is something that I have always wanted to do, especially for something like this that is world-renowned. It was the perfect environment and opportunity for me.

What is the most rewarding aspect?
Being a part of the Pageant makes me happier than anything I have been a part of in my life. Just the makeup craft, in itself, is an incredible passion for me and to do that for this show is a dream come true. I feel very blessed to work here and meet all the people that I have and experience new and exciting things every year. I constantly have to pinch myself, because this is a show I truly believe in and getting to do what I love is so amazing. I hope to be a makeup artist for the rest of my life and work on shows as wonderful as the Pageant of the Masters.

Leslie Esponol
Flight attendant
One year at Pageant of the Masters

Has your day job helped you with your work in Pageant?   
If anything, my experience as a flight attendant has helped me with working with people and being comfortable around most any situation.

Does volunteering ever interfere with your day job?
It works out perfect for my schedule. Being that we rotate working at the Pageant seven days then have seven days off, I do my flying during those days off. I can select a schedule that works out with this rotation.

What is the most rewarding aspect?
The learning, seeing all the technical parts of this show – how everything is done and how they make it happen. Also, seeing the results of all of our work – it gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment. Another one of the biggest rewards is the friendships, fun and laughter you experience by being a part of this show.

Tina Aust
Retired USDA food inspector; volunteer producer at Los Angeles Zoo
Seven years at Pageant of the Masters


What prompted you to join Pageant?
Seven years ago, my husband was finishing up his bachelor's degree and his professor happened to be a makeup artist at the time.  He told this professor my love for the show and she [asked] if I would like to volunteer for the show. We lived in Apple Valley at the time, drive time was two-and-a-half hours one way. I didn’t care. I was honored to be a part of such an amazing experience.

What's the hardest part of working at Pageant?
The most challenging aspect of my job is making sure every artist and cast member has everything that is needed to do their job in a quick and efficient way. Some cast members get allergic to the makeup at the last minute, eyes are watery and makeup is running. So I have to be quick to fix these issues as well as setting up the next member. I have between 35-45 cast members and 10-12 makeup artists to make sure they have everything they need and the show runs on time.

Has your past career ever helped you with your work in Pageant?    
I do believe that my past job as a food inspector and my current one definitely have helped me at the Pageant. I had to be very detailed as a food inspector and currently as a producer, so it makes my job at Pageant of the Masters easier. It has come as second nature to me to take care of my makeup artists and cast members.



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