Minx’s makeup artist details the show’s prosthetic penises
Makeup department head Carleigh Herbert has always been obsessed with vintage pieces, and the ’70s has always been a favorite of hers. “There was so much self-expression,” she says. So when the chance to work on HBO Max’s “Minx” came up, she took it.
One particular scene, midway through the series’ first episode, posed a unique challenge for Herbert. Ophelia Lovibond’s Joyce is in charge of casting models for Minx, the first porn magazine designed for women. What follows is a parade of male models showing off and strutting for the cast.
Herbert, whose credits include ‘The Sex Life of College Girls’, ‘Ratched’ and ‘American Horror Story’, said director Rachel Lee Goldenberg and show creator and writer Ellen Rapoport were thrilled to have her on board with his experience in prostheses.
“They said, ‘It’s great that you’re doing prostheses because we’re going to have them,'” Herbert said. “I asked, ‘What are we going to do? “”
The makeup head has run the gamut of prosthetics — from slit throats to bleeding body parts. She had even made a penis, but, says Herbert, “I never made a full prosthetic penis.” With that, she happily accepted the challenge.
The prosthetic penis trend, Herbert notes, is something that has seen a surge in recent years with shows such as “Scenes From a Marriage”, “Euphoria”, “Outlander” featuring full frontal nudity.
“We are still determining the penis prosthesis,” Herbert says.
It started with Herbert’s script and the collaboration with Rapoport, as well as each actor. “It would depend on the character, the actor, and what they were supposed to look like physically,” she says.
Herbert relied on Jason Collins, owner of Autonomous F/X. He was shown photos approved by Rapoport and instructed to make the necessary prostheses.
“We had plastic parts and one character had an erection,” Herbert says of the different “looks, shapes, and sizes.” She then left it to Collins to sculpt and build what she needed.
Sometimes Herbert used glue during the application process and other times a belt. “It really depended on how we used the prosthesis,” says Herbert. She was also careful about dressing the pubic areas, she says. Through it all, Herbert discovered duct tape, which is used by drag queens and trans people. She found it useful and incorporated it into her application process.
Comfort was of the utmost importance to everyone involved. “A big part of the application was making sure the actors were comfortable and following the steps,” she says. “It’s a difficult prosthesis to wear 10 to 14 hours a day.”
As for that audition scene we’re talking about, Herbert says it wasn’t actually prosthetics: “It was everyone’s penises.”
In addition to prosthetics, Herbert was able to indulge her love for ’70s makeup. And while old makeup lines from Max Factor, Revlon and Yardley were key to the feminine look, she had just as much fun do male makeup.
“We would shave them and do their faces differently,” says Herbert, who is used to minimal makeup for men.
For “Minx”, facial hair was important. Bottom Dollar Publishing’s world had a funkier look. This meant giving the men of this environment grumpy beards and longer sideburns to reflect the times. In contrast, Glenn’s (Michael Angarano) world is conservative. “He’s clean-shaven with sideburns hidden in the middle of his ear,” Herbert says.