Industry Spotlight: Doniella Davy
Max Ingleby shares his love for Doniella Davy’s makeup work on HBO’s Euphoria.
Euphoria, HBO’s dazzling new teen drama, has caused a huge splash in America with its highly aestheticised take on the Gen Z experience, tackling sex, drugs and relationships in what could be a Skins for the Instagram era. Alongside solid performances by the ubiquitous Zendaya and newcomer Hunter Schafer, the standout, most eye-catching part of the show has to be the incredible makeup by Doniella Davy.
Davy has collaborated with celebrated director Barry Jenkins as head of makeup for If Beale Street Could Talk and Best Picture winner Moonlight, both of which are serious dramas that required restrained and subtle looks to preserve a sense of immersion. On the set of Euphoria, however, and with director Sam Levinson’s encouragement, she went all out.
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If Rue had the chance….Episode 8, Euphoria. This was pure fantasy. I wanted Jules’ eyes to look like they could actually injure Nate. It had to be visceral for the audience, and a little bit cheeky too, just shy of funny. I was trolling @face_lace and fell in love with these eye spikes for Jules. I wanted to find something similar for Rue, but more fitting for her. I chose these bandit-reminiscent, kinda feline shaped black eye frames with just a hint of iridescence. FUNNY STORY: the very next weekend the Met Gala happened and I saw a handful of very similar eye spikes — there must have been something in the air! 🤷♀️ P.S. Anyone know of any other awesome face sticker companies that I should know about? #euphoriahbo #euphoriahbomakeup #facelace #eyespikes #facestickers
Every single look crackles with unbridled creativity – hundreds of rhinestones sparkle, eyebrows are tinted bright yellow, tears of molten glitter stream from despondent eyes, silver clouds and streaks of crimson and smudges of lilac intertwine and explode in a firework of maximalist, kaleidoscopic, unapologetic fun. Davy has achieved something groundbreaking with Euphoria. She has dragged the artform often overshadowed by acting or cinematography out of the shadows and into the limelight, making it a scene-making, irreplaceable part of the production.
Each look is intimately tailored to the carefully fleshed out characters, to their specific mood and emotional state in every scene
The commitment and thought behind each look is remarkable. Davy goes into detail on her Instagram account (@donni.davy), explaining the striking black spikes that frame Jules’ (Schafer) eyes as she confronts the antagonist, Nate (Jacob Elordi) – “I wanted Jules’ eyes to look like they could actually injure Nate”, or reflective eye stick-ons inspired by “iridescent shiny black beetles”. She makes it clear that these extravagant looks go deeper than surface level; “I questioned myself. Is this serving a purpose? Is this telling the story[?]”.
Each look is intimately tailored to the carefully fleshed out characters, to their specific mood and emotional state in every scene, and I mean every scene. As Davy explains, “If there are 15 quick clips of Jules, there are 15 different makeup looks”. The sheer number of looks on Euphoria is in itself pioneering, and has inspired a tidal wave of tributes – there are 33,000 posts under #euphoriamakeup on Instagram. Davy has captured the essence of a generation of YouTube tutorial watchers, Instagram obsessives and ambitiously experimental artists with her work. On a recent post she remarked “I can’t believe I got to put a look like this on TV”. Well, thanks to her, you can too.
All quotes from this interview: https://www.vogue.com/article/euphoria-hbo-gen-z-makeup or from her Instagram account @donni.davy