Makeup artist to the stars helps put best faces forward – East Bay Times
DISCOVERY BAY — She was the first makeup artist for the first two seasons of “Ugly Betty,” did makeup for Dick Clark Productions and Martin Lawrence movies — and Judy Twine Brinn does makeup for average folk like us too.
However, before lipstick and foundation, Brinn started out with police work and modeling in San Francisco. Born in Michigan and raised in South San Francisco’s Westborough neighborhood, she graduated from South San Francisco High in 1979 and joined the San Francisco Police Department in 1982.
“At the same time, I worked as a runway and prestigious in-house model for I. Magnin at Union Square,” Brinn said. “As well as various modeling assignments through Elite Model Management.”
Seven years as a police officer for the SFPD, the last five of them undercover with the Intelligence Division, Brinn had compelling reason to pause and rethink her future.
“I was concerned because I was being assigned to very dangerous assignments and did not want my daughter Monique (5 at the time) to have to grow up without a mother as I had to,” said Brinn. “I lost my mother and father by age 7.”
As a model, Brinn found herself doing her own makeup and the faces of others, when she was asked by a top photographer for a major agency to work with him on a regular basis as his makeup artist. Flattered and honored, she said she declined, but for good reason.
“I wanted to have the proper training and really make this my career; my true calling,” she said. “I took a leave of absence from the SFPD and immediately enrolled in cosmetology school, Universal Beauty Academy’s esthetician course.”
Winning first place in the school’s makeup competition, and later, trade show awards with first- and second-place awards, she decided to move to Hollywood, where her husband of 13 years was not on board, as well as friends she considered close. Once in L.A., without knowing a soul in the entertainment industry, Brinn scoured trade magazines to find work as a makeup artist.
“Phone call after phone call, I finally spoke to a casting agent who was willing to have a face-to-face meeting with me,” Brinn said. “This meeting launched my career.”
To date, the Emmy-nominated Discovery Bay resident has done makeup for celebrities in music videos, television and film and everyone else in between.
She’s worked at all major studios, including Paramount, Sony, 20th Century Fox, Disney, Warner Ranch and Radcliff, just to name a few.
“I’ve worked with legends like Dick Clark and Don Cornelius, which allowed me to work one-on-one with major celebrities like Martin Lawrence, James Earl Jones, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Diahann Carroll, Michael Clarke Duncan, Taraji P. Hensen, Laurence Fishburne, Usher, Ritchie Sambora, Dennis Hopper, Burt Reynolds, Dave Navarro and William Shatner,” she said.
Her secret to long-standing success as a makeup artist since 1995 is about branching out.
“Do not to limit yourself to only working on a certain group. My makeup kit contains makeup for all ethnicities,” she said. “I also have advanced training in special effects from Joe Blasco Makeup School in Southern California.”
Her daughter, Monique, was her assistant on most productions, touching up talent before going on camera, and her husband of four years, Michael, helps as well, especially with loading and unloading equipment and set-up. Brinn’s mantra in life is about putting yourself out there.
“Just do it,” she said. “If I hadn’t just gone with my dreams, I would not have received an Emmy nomination or won ‘Best of Weddings’ with the Knot Magazine or various other accolades. I hear quite often how I have influenced someone’s life and encouraged them to take that next step that allows them to fulfill their dreams.”
Visit her website at www.judithtwinebrinn.com.