Recently, I got to catch up with Makeup artist Cool Benson, who has recently worked on two Disney+ Original series, “Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi” and “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series”. Cool shares some hints and tips, plus shares some inside information on doing the makeup for Moses Ingram and Dara Renee on those shows, plus much more.
Throughout his career, Cool has amassed an impressive resume of work and clientele, including Billy Ray Cyrus, Prince, Mike Tyson, Kendrick Lamar, John Stamos, Quentin Tarantino, and the Cheetah Girls.
Check out the full video interview below:
What did you work on for the “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series?
I was working with the department head, her name was Luisa Abel, and she kind of designed all the looks and my job was to make the Riva character, um, come to life. Cool. And uh, you know, that character was very specific because, uh, the direction was we wanted her to look beautiful, but look like she’s not wearing makeup and we really didn’t want any like feminine kinda attributes added to it. So it was that was, uh, you know, those are the kind of notes that, that you get from the directors and department heads when you’re making a show.
What’s the difference between working on a show like “Obi-Wan Kenobi” and “Dancing With The Stars”?
Oh, there’s a huge difference because that’s more character-driven when you’re working on something like Obi-Wan Kenobi and then when you’re working on something like Dancing With the Stars, it’s really, big and bold and it’s more beauty and you want the makeup to stand out, in a way that’s gonna showcase the dance. And then when you’re working on something like Obi-Wan Kenobi, you didn’t want the makeup to really overpower the character or their story or what’s happening.
And you also got to work on “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series”, what did you do on that show?
I was part of the makeup department. I was with the department head, Kim Colle. She called me in to help create the Kourtney character and work on lots of other different characters. To collaborate on the looks of the show and on that show was great because we had to be really creative on. Oh, and we did “Frozen” for “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series”. And that was a lot of fun.
Kourtney had a couple of looks and was also dealing with anxiety. How does that impact on the makeup used?
“Kourtney’s character is kind of a makeup artist actually on the show. Kourtney is a makeup artist, but she’s a makeup artist on a budget. So we actually incorporated a lot of budget makeup, or drugstore makeup into her looks to make it really authentic. Her character was one of the characters that was always in full face. Even if she was camping, she had it. This season was at Camp Shadow Lake, and she was fully done at Camp. It was amazing.
How important is diversity in your line of work?
Oh yeah, well, I really pride myself on being able to do all skin tones and, whatnot. It’s Hollywood it’s really diversifying their departments, so we really want representation in the trailers, and it was important to the department heads to have representation. Both department heads on the shows that we’re talking about to have representation in trailers. We were doing Elsa on High School Musical: The Musical: The Series”, which was sn African American character and it was gonna be like the first black Elsa, I believe, on Disney. I know there’s been one on theater, but on TV was gonna be the first black Elsa. So it’s really important to Dara that we portrayed her in that beautiful light and that it was executed perfectly. So between her, Kim and I, we all collaborated together and made this character, the black Elsa character, come to life, and I think she did a beautiful job. It looked really, really beautiful. I’m proud of it.
You can watch “Obi-Wan Kenobi” and “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” on Disney+ now.
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.