Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin, made its debut over the weekend with a great reception at the box office. Coming in number 4 at the box office, the film, directed by Liesel Tommy, follows Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to the rise of her international superstardom as the “Queen of Soul.” Being able to capture the moment and time of the period was incredibly important to the director and producers of the film, especially through glam.
“Arthea Franklin’s makeup style was minimal but impactful,” makeup artist Stevie Martin shares with ESSENCE. “She was recognized for plenty of staples that included blue eyeshadow and winged eyeliner.”
The Miami native—known for her work on the sets of P-Valley, Greenleaf and Claws—was commissioned to design makeup looks that truly embodied the musical legend. Hours of research and creativity surely paid off. “Since Hudson does not look like Aretha, I had to find the balance in her makeup without the look being too distracting,” she tells us. “Her brows were not super polished—as we do them today—so I had to find the right balance to compliment her facial structure.”
When asked about her favorite makeup moments from the movie, Martin revealed to us that Ms. Franklin’s performance glam was at the top of her list. “I got to play around with the shadows a little bit,” she says. “She didn’t wear a lot of makeup often, but during her performances, she had a signature look that included frosted gold lipstick, winged liner, and unique brows.”
To achieve the performance look, Martin says that she used NYX liners to make her client’s eyes really stand out despite sweat. “I used the NYX liners in vinyl and matte because it was very shiny and played into the moment while Hudson performed under hot lights,” she says. “We had to make sure that the liner did not compromise the integrity of the makeup because once it was wet, there was no going back.”
The Emmy-nominated MUA adds she turned to MAC gold lipstick for the perfect finish. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have the exact colors of lipstick tones; however, I was able to create some lipstick colors that were similar to that period of time,” Martin says.
Despite being in the business for 11 years, the talented artist highlights this experience as one she’ll “never forget.”
Check out Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson, in theaters now.