Makeup designer Melanie Hughes-Weaver talks about working on Charlie’s Angels

Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska and Elizabeth Banks star in Charlie's Angels.. Photo Courtesy Nadja Klier / Sony Pictures
Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska and Elizabeth Banks star in Charlie's Angels.. Photo Courtesy Nadja Klier / Sony Pictures /

There are many people who help bring a movie to life. And on Charlie’s Angels, Melanie Hughes-Weaver, the film’s makeup designer is one of those people.

We all know that there are a lot of people who work to bring a movie to life. And while much of the attention tends to be on the actors and actresses (with some attention placed on the director and writers), there is an entire team that is required to give life to a project like Charlie’s Angels. One of those people is the makeup designer, and in this case Melanie Hughes-Weaver, who worked on the reboot of the long-running franchise.

As part of the press leading up to the release of the revived Charlie’s Angels, we had the chance to talk to Hughes-Weaver about her work on the popular movie, what goes into the design aesthetic for a movie like this, and even her own path to get where she is today.

And no, it’s not all about the makeup, even though that certainly helps when it comes to the design work. Honestly, getting to talk to Melanie Hughes-Weaver was like chatting with a friendly mentor who wants what is best for you and all of the people she works with.

Not only did she answer our questions about her inspiration and goals for Charlie’s Angels, but she also discussed why she wanted to be a part of this project, what she loves about being a makeup designer, and even the moments that stood out from the set.

One of the first questions I asked was about what was the inspiration for the looks in this new Charlie’s Angels. According to Hughes-Weaver, “there was a lot of inspiration that came from the original Charlie’s and some of the franchise. It’s so fun, the glitz and glosses of the whole creative process, in looking back on all of these films and the television series. I think with this, you know, globe-trotting high-octane, spy franchise, I think it brings a wide range of artistic beauty Intel. And I think that allowed us to do bold choices with shadows and liners, lashes, no lashes, natural lip, raw, organic mediums.”

Beyond the actual beauty aesthetic, as an artistic designer, it was all about making sure that the women were the star and showcasing things like the “power of women from all walks of life and intellect… And I think we really tried to create an aesthetic that was based on the authenticity of each woman and her strengths really.”

It was not just the inspiration that we discussed, as we also touched on the goals they had for Charlie’s Angels in terms of making looks that popped on the screen. And it seems that it was about creating , “an aesthetic beauty that was based on the ground level and the authenticity of each character that didn’t make them all look-alike. You know, obviously, there are times they’re in disguise, but it was developing their own strengths, visually, and smartly and contemporarily from that base.”

As the makeup designer for Charlie’s Angels, of course Hughes-Weaver enjoyed seeing the glitz and glamour that she knows so many of us expect to see in this franchise. However, she also appreciated the fact that there were moments when the characters were able to be “really raw and natural looking. They’re not in complete costume and glamour constantly.”

Beyond the design and makeup of the movie, another question we wanted to know more about, was what was it about this project that made her want to be a part of it. And it seems that a big draw was Elizabeth Banks, whom Hughes-Weaver has worked with an amazing seven times.

But it was not just working with Banks that drew her in, as she was also interested in helping to add to the franchise in her own way. This was about working with the classic from the 70s and helping to “inspire the hero in all of us and the strength in all of us.”

When asked if she was a fan of the original Charlie’s Angels, Hughes-Weaver explained that she was, while also saying “you couldn’t wait for it to come and look at these smart and clever women.” (We totally understand that, and think it applies to the entire franchise as well.) She also said that “it was fun and you really just got to enjoy them being these women that knew what they wanted. So stimulating.”

Even creating looks for these new Angels is about giving the focus to these strong women so that shine just like those original Angels did. And that was a big thing that Hughes-Weaver wanted with every design and look they worked on while on-set. Each of these women need to be able to stand out on their own, showing off their uniqueness, even as they may sometimes have to blend in as spies.

Beyond her work on Charlie’s Angels, we also wanted to know more about Melanie Hughes-Weaver and what it is that she enjoys about being a makeup designer. And she was quick to tell us that, “I love the visual and artistic impact, especially assisting a director in a creative vision and bringing it to life. It’s very important for an actor as well, and I love being a collaborator and a part of that process.”

One of our final questions is one we love to ask, which revolves around what woman (fictional or nonfictional) that Hughes-Weaver looked up to growing up. Her answer was Barbara Streisand. (And we love this answer, because who doesn’t love this icon.) In her answer she explained that Streisand, “was such an unusual beauty for that time period on camera, [and] she had this touching and powerful voice, just incredible range. She was vocal about her beliefs and the empowerment of women. And she could allow herself to portray a girl of vulnerability and a strong woman.”

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With Charlie’s Angels in theaters now, this is a perfect time to see exactly what kind of magic Hughes-Weaver was able to create with the stars of the movie. And while we may sometimes forget about the makeup designers and artists and the work they do to make every single character stand out on our screens, looking at this project makes it hard to forget just how much glitz and glamour goes into making our Angels pop in all the best ways.