ABOVE: Nolan Robert. BELOW: (Top) Carter far left; Homme center, bottom; Lewit center, top; Maxi far right. (Bottom) Robert at work.
Photos courtesy of Lifetime TV
Posted: Tuesday December 23, 2008
Nolan Robert Mourns Friend/Finalist While Celebrating Win
What should have been a celebratory time for the cast and crew of the reality show Blush: The Search for the Next Great Makeup Artist became a time of mourning instead. Todd Homme, the third runner-up, was
found dead in his apartment on Dec. 13. Toxicology reports came back
negative and the cause of death had not yet been determined at press
The Los Angeles-based show, which premiered Nov. 11 on
Lifetime and ran for six weeks, featured nine make-up artists sharing a
house and competing for $100,000, a contract with Max Factor and a
shoot with InStyle magazine.
The finale aired on Dec. 16. The final three contestants were Homme,
Nolan Robert and Maxi (who used no last name). Their final challenge
was to create three different make-up looks for a Badgley Mischka
fashion show. From the arrows Maxi created on the models’ faces to the
wayward eyebrow feathers Robert designed, the contestants weren’t
afraid to express themselves. For each make-up look, the artists had a
quick turn-around time. According to professional make-up artist Joanna
Schlip, one of the show’s judges, they were given more time than they
would get at a real runway show. (continued below)
“It [the make-up] has to be perfect and fast. You don’t have a lot of time to go back and redo,” Schlip said.
When she and fellow judge Hal Rubenstein, InStyle’s
fashion director, visited the contestants backstage, Schlip looked for
focus, direction and creativity in the make-up designs. Having the
judges hover and critique wasn’t always easy for the contestants.
critique that Charlie [Green], Joanna or Hal did, I just stood there,
obviously in shock sometimes; as artists, we have our own point of
view. Joanna was definitely in my head most of the time. ‘What would
she think?’ I just have to learn from it without being angry or upset
and apply it to the next contest,” said Robert. For the Badgley Mischka
challenge, he said, “I really wanted to show the world and America what
I could do in 10 minutes.”
When the fashion show finished and
the judges cast their votes for the new make-up artist, Robert walked
away the winner. Schlip said Robert had the overall package: the
ability, the temperament, the discipline and the drive. The win became
33-year-old Robert’s Cinderella story.
“Things like this just don’t happen to me, and I finally made it after 10 long years,” he said.
According to Robert, the InStylephoto shoot for the Makeover issue will take place toward the beginning
of the year. He will create a makeover and provide make-up tips and
tricks. Robert is already working with Max Factor doing “lots of meets
and greets.” It promises to be a heavy workload, and Robert looks
forward to it.
“It’s going to be crazy; I hope it’s going to be chaotic. I like it,” he said. (continued below)
Todd Homme, 23, had a similar ambition and drive that Robert
was inspired to see in someone so young. “He is a pure soul. I would
want everyone to take from this [show] to be inspired by him as an
artist and a human being especially,” Robert said of his best friend on
Fellow finalist Maxi said that Homme had a love for
life and helped him “to become a better human. Todd was someone I wish
I could be more like—full of life.”
According to Maxi, Homme
was packing to move from New York to Los Angeles the weekend he was
found dead. Homme had plans to convert an L.A. loft into a space where
he and other make-up artists could teach make-up and provide
scholarships to people who couldn’t afford a traditional make-up
“We [the cast] were all going to teach at the school,” said Maxi.
Farah Carter has heard from several fans asking for tips on how to
become a make-up artist. She says she is heartbroken that Homme’s
school won’t happen now and feels the world was cheated out of that.
“He was so talented. He had such a flair for whimsical make-up that I hadn’t seen before in anyone his age,” said Carter.
and fellow contestant Mo Lewit recounted how Homme would lighten the
mood by putting on impromptu fashion shows using items from their
shared house, such as lampshades and pool sticks. “We would yell ‘Do
Dior!’ ‘Do Tyra!’ He would make a couture fashion show out of it; he
had a natural ability for couture fashion make-up—a great understanding
for it,” said Lewit.
Homme's love for life and ability to
remain positive affected everyone involved with the show. Crew members
told Schlip that if they were having a bad day, Homme would give them a
hug. “He went out of his way to make someone’s day a little better,”
said Schlip. “In a way, he was like an angel that came in.”
“He was so excited about what life had in store for him. He was so sweet. He wouldn’t judge a fly,” said Lewit.
enjoyed watching Homme’s happiness as he created the make-up for the
fashion show. She said she could see him “go to another place in his
head” and see that it was a joyful experience for him.
For the contestants, meeting one another was the best part of Blush.
They learned new ways of thinking and made solid friendships. Carter
and Lewit will start a side business next year creating a special
bridal make-up and hairstyling event.
The night the finale
aired, most of the cast and crew gathered at Saint Felix restaurant in
West Hollywood to celebrate Homme. They watched outtakes of him from
the show and shared their stories. “He was very happy to be in the
final three and genuinely happy for Nolan to win it,” said Schlip.
hopes to inspire other artists to follow their dreams, the way Homme
inspired him and his fellow contestants. “You have to believe in your
work. That’s what Todd was, he was a true artist,” he said.
A wake and funeral were held for Homme on Dec. 17 and 18 in New York. Participants said a second season of Blush: The Search for the Next Great Makeup Artistmay air next spring, although that was not confirmed at press time.
Representatives from the Lifetime network declined to comment.
London-based make-up artist Angela Holthuis and photographer Izabela Habur set a challenge for themselves: Habur
asked Holthuis, a fashion pro, to create “a small story with bold looks
within a small time frame, to test out how far we [could] push
ourselves creatively,” Holthuis said.
Make-Up Artist magazine is now accepting student competition
applications for the 2009 Los Angeles International Make-Up Artist
Trade Show. The themes for this year are Gothic and X-Men Mutants. The competition is open to students of a recognized make-up school and
to those who graduated 12 months prior to the competition. Make-Up Artist will only accept competition entries postmarked by May 22, 2009.
If you like Prescriptives products, you’d better stock up while you
can: On Sept. 17, Estée Lauder Companies announced it will stop
production and global wholesale distribution of the brand by Jan. 31,
2010. The brand will still be sold online at www.prescriptives.com
while inventory lasts.