Special Effects Makeup Artist Taylor Vigneux
Story by Michael Seguin
Photography by Taylor Vigneux
For makeup artist Taylor Vigneux, it’s all about sharing what’s in her mind with the world.
A modern Renaissance Woman, Taylor seems to have done it all. She started training in gymnastics when she was two years old, before going on to compete as a National Gymnast for 12 years. After an injury, she shifted over to National Springboard and Platform Diving—even training at the Eastern Michigan University!
“I was training over in the States six days a week,” Taylor recalls. “All throughout high school.”
After graduating secondary school, Taylor studied Hairstyling at St. Clair College. She plied her trade at a hair salon for about five years before deciding that she felt called to do something else.
“I wanted to do something bigger,” Taylor admits. “I wanted to do big crazy runway hair. At the time, my cousin was a model in Toronto. She told me about this makeup academy up there called College of Makeup Art & Design (CMU). So, I decided to enroll.”
At CMU, Taylor expanded her personal repertoire. She learned everything from wig knotting to creature design to special effects to prosthetics. And while attending postgraduate school in Toronto, Taylor came to an uncomfortable discovery about herself.
“I realized that I liked the gory stuff,” Taylor laughs. “I liked the makeup. I liked the special effects. Don’t get me wrong, I love high fashion equally as much. But working on special effects in film really did something for me!”
According to Taylor, she credits that love with the artistic freedom involved with special effects.
“I’m able to open up my mind a little bit more when it comes to special effects,” Taylor states. “There’s a bit more room to be creative! You’ll read the script and get to come up with the vision with the director. And it’s all your work. You get to create it out of your mind. It gives me the free range to follow what I’m being inspired by at the time.”
But, Taylor admits that there’s a certain other appeal to the whole process.
“I like to gross people out!” Taylor laughs. “I like seeing the reactions on their faces!”
And the industry seemed to take to Taylor just as quickly as Taylor took to the industry. Right out of college she was hired onto a Space Channel British science fiction show, SOS: Save Our Skin.
“I literally got hired the week I graduated,” Taylor explains. “I actually got hired to run the Hair and Makeup and Special Effects department. I was able to create my first monster alone out of school! He was 6’4” and 210 pounds. He just towered over me.”
SOS: Save Our Skin did exceptionally well, winning several different awards. After the show, Taylor was pulled in several different directions. She even began running Hair and Makeup on the Miss Universe Canada preliminaries in Windsor (and then later helped out at the finals in Toronto!).
However, when trying to narrow down her favorite projects, Taylor mentions a currently unreleased film she worked on called Afterward.
“I worked on it about two-and-a-half years ago in Huntsville,” Taylor explains. “That was the hardest shoot I’ve ever done. It was a lot of night shifts, in the woods, in negative forty degree weather. And we were out there for 18 hours a day in the snow. It was a huge challenge, just because of the conditions.”
That said, Taylor maintains that all that pressure did create a diamond.
“Some of the best work I’ve ever done was for that movie,” Taylor stresses. “I had full range to do whatever I wanted. I was running Special Effects and Hair. And I got to create this monster with a group of people out of Toronto. It was this Dracula-bat creature! Very demonic looking. And it looked great! And that doesn’t even mention all the prosthetics and blood! At one point we were standing on the lake, in Huntsville, just pouring gallons of blood all over the ice! It was awesome!”
And in the high fashion side of things, Taylor was honoured to be able to work with Canadian fashion model and public spokesperson for vitiligo, Winnie Harlow.
“She’s a famous supermodel from Toronto,” Taylor explains. “She has a skin condition called vitiligo, where patches of skin lose their pigment and turn white. I got to do her makeup for a runway show for Fashion Art Toronto. And now she’s a huge success! She’s been modelling for the Kardashians. She’s been in a Drake and Eminem music video. She’s been on America’s Next Top Model. She’s doing very well.”
Taylor is proud of having been able to work with such a meteoric success, so early in both their professional careers.
“It was amazing to work with her so early in her career,” Taylor states. “And I was just starting out at the time, too.”
In terms of recent assignments, Taylor has not let the pandemic slow her down.
“I did Sean Paul’s new music video, ‘Bust a Bubble,’” Taylor explains. “I ran the Hair and Makeup department for that. And then I shot a new music video for Dvsn, which is pretty cool!”
And when it comes to future projects, Taylor has already secured work on a couple new feature films.
“I’m working on a couple features being shot in Miami,” Taylor states. “Those are being shot in the next couple months. It’s completely safe—we’re following strict COVID protocol. I’m really excited!”
Because, for Taylor Vigneux, it all comes down to fanning that creative spark within her.
“My focus right now is just to find as much work as possible,” Taylor states. “To be able to express myself as much as possible. I really have a passion for what I do. I’ve been so fortunate to be able to focus on this area of my life. I’m excited to keep learning and growing.”