It takes a village to “Abbott Elementary,” whether that means the incredible backgrounds of the students of the entertainment industry who create the art that hangs on Abbott’s walls or the department heads who collaborate to express how the characters are challenged by the situations they find themselves in. .
While contemporary series, especially comedies, aren’t often too stylized, that doesn’t mean character isn’t being expressed (and constantly tweaked). “Abbott Elementary” head of makeup Alisha L. Baijounas had a very specific season two trajectory for Janine (show creator and star Quinta Brunson), and at least the hope of where she would end up at the end of the season.
“I have a soft spot for Janine and Gregory’s relationship, so I kept hoping it would develop. And it was so much fun having Quinta in the chair because I could always give her my take on how I wanted it to go,” Baijounas told IndieWire. “Finding out what was coming and where she felt comfortable taking Janine, and what the her bow, being able to have that conversation with her — that was one of my secret weapons.”
With Brunson’s seasonal vision for Janine in mind, Baijounas deliberately chose pivotal points where Abbott’s second-grade whisperer could elevate her sense of self.
“Earlier in the season, his color theory is actually a bit off. So, her eye makeup is a little more orange and her lip is a little more blue-pink — generally these aren’t colors that you’re going to stick together to create a cohesive look,” Baijounas said. “They are very contradictory. But she’s a kind of Janine. She really doesn’t know how to navigate the beauty space.
Color theory, in makeup, is about how our brains assign meanings to colors when they sit next to each other on a color wheel, creating (or not) a strong sense of personality. Janine has a bit of a disagreement with herself when her colors don’t align. Meanwhile, Baijounas has made sure that Ava (Janelle James) not only has consistent color that expresses sharpness and luxury, but also the kind of sharp technical lip that puts her in a different weight class than Janine, which is important for someone who has a discreet appointment. Allen Iverson.
Someone like Barbara (Sheryl Lee Ralph), meanwhile, may vary her colors from day to day, but she always makes strong choices in the same color family. “We let Barbara, what I call her, dig the bottom of her purse for her lipstick every time we see her,” Baijounas said. “Barbara is the kind of woman who will never get caught without a lip. She says, ‘OK, well, today I’m starting with this mauve color.’ She digs in her drawer and takes all the mauve lipsticks, throws them in her purse or desk drawer, and then every time we see her she’s like, ‘Ooh, camera,’ and puts it on.
With Janine, Baijounas added a more consistent color theory for moments of maturity and especially for those moments of spark between her and Gregory. “Where are you like, ‘Oh, is this, is this the episode?’ I actually changed it from brown eyeliner to black. There are little cues that I hide in her gaze to indicate, oh, she’s about to have a growth moment with Gregory,” Baijounas said.
Baijounas is also clear why. “I think it’s the natural progression for any woman, especially if she’s in a great place, if she’s in love. Even though we don’t know until the end, when you have to make a lot of tough decisions, like she does at the end of the season,” Baijounas said. “I think it’s the most mature decision we’ve ever seen her make, especially considering the previous episode in where we meet his mother, I really wanted his makeup to reflect that his confidence is slightly derailed His mother is very.
The whirlwind arrival of Taraji P. Henson as Janine’s mom, Vanetta, was one of the best costume, hair and makeup collaborations, while Baijounas and costume designer Susan Michalek created a combination of Vanetta’s green plush jacket and intricately detailed gold and black nails that not only create an incredible contrast with Janine but also other style highlights in the second season like Ava, Erika (Courtney Taylor) and Krystal (Raven Goodwin).
“We really took (Vanetta) way above the top. Her makeup team, hair team, and nail technician really dug into that vision of hers for her. We wanted her to be jarring,” Baijounas said.“ And in that episode, we bring Janine back to her original pale pink-blue lip type and brown eyeliner because we want her to look smaller than she is. Her mother is a such great strength.
But Janine finds resolve at the end of that episode, and the ordeal of standing on tiptoe with her mother along with everything at Franklin Institute sets the stage for her final appearance in Gregory and Janine’s conversation. “I think she’s as mature as she looks. She is the cleanest. She is the strongest in her eyes. And it’s kind of the sweetest,” Baijounas said.
The change in Janine’s appearance is as much a transformation, and just as simple, as Janine’s realization that she has a lot to grow. A change in the shade of her lip pencil is all it takes to stop hiding from herself and project a more mature version of Ms. Teagues into the world. “That lip of hers really does so much to change your perception of that character, and it makes her look so much more grown up. She was literally just a Mac Torque lip pencil and NARS argon lip gloss,” Baijournas said.