updated: 06/12/2006

look-alike makeups: Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo (1907–1954) was a Mexican painter of the indigenous culture of her country in a style combining Realism, Symbolism and Surrealism, an active communist supporter, and wife of the Mexican muralist and cubist painter Diego Rivera; much of her artwork is a reflection on the life she lead and the suffering she endured. In 1925, a trolley car collided with a bus in which Kahlo was riding; she suffered multiple fractures (spinal column, collarbone, ribs, pelvis), a shattered right leg, a crushed and dislocated right foot, and a dislocated shoulder. She survived her injuries and eventually regained her ability to walk, but she would have pro-longed relapses of extreme pain for the rest of her life. She underwent some thirty-five operations in her life as a result of the accident. Despite her pain, Frida Kahlo was a vibrant, extroverted character. She was noted for her unconventional appearance, declining to remove her facial hair – she exaggerated her small mustache and uni-brow in self portraits – and for her flamboyantly-styled clothing, drawn largely from traditional Mexican dress.

Modigliani: coming soon …

Frida: Salma Hayek won the race to get a Frida Kahlo biopic produced and I really enjoyed it. It’s good when an artist is committed to a movie and it works. The makeup in the movie was excellent: as you might guess given that it won both an Oscar and a BAFTA. But Frida’s look reflects some studio demanded compromises of the ‘you don’t have a beautiful star and then turn her into a freak’ variety: Frida’s trademark unibrow is retained (though perhaps not as luxuriant as the original) but she’s lost her moustache. John E Jackson and Beatrice De Alba were awarded the Oscar: Judy Chin, Beatrice De Alba, John E Jackson and Regina Reyes were awarded the BAFTA. Matthew Mungle claims credit for prosthetics design on his website. In an interview Salma Hayek said:

Frida and I have the same facial structure which is the most important thing and the hardest thing to alter with prosthetic. We have the same mouth and same eyes. Of course Frida didn’t wear the makeup I wear and she had one eyebrow and her hair was different. She also has a different nose and her ears were bigger. We have done some prosthetics for the ears and the one eyebrow, but Miramax doesn’t want me to change the nose and they don’t want me to wear the mustache, though I want to wear the mustache. The similarities though are really scary.

Cradle Will Rock: Frida Kahlo was played by Corina Katt Ayala. Linda Grimes was key makeup artist and Eva Polyka was makeup artist on the movie).

Diego Rivera: I Paint What I See: if anyone has any images of Rosanna DeSoto as Frida from this drama-documentary, please email themakeupgallery.

Frida, Naturaleza Viva: Ofelia Medina starred as Frida in this Mexican movie: if anyone has information on the makeup credits or better images, please email themakeupgallery