Costume comments: The most crucial costume pieces for Magenta are a black dress with white collar and cuffs and a white apron. A dress from the thrift store can easily be modified: put on a collar from a white blouse and cut "cuff" shapes out of a white sheet or cotton batiste. Magenta’s dress should button all the way down the front and be about mid-thigh length. Sleeves should end above the elbows. Authentic white cuffs will occasionally droop, but this is annoying, so tack them in place. Unbutton the buttons to about where your black bra starts (a little should show) and unbutton from the bottom of the dress up to about your crotch.
The most crucial makeup accessory for Magenta is fake eyelashes. Lucky you, they’re in fashion now and can be picked up at most drugstores (Osco, etc.) or at any Sally’s Beauty Supply. For real authenticity, line the hell out of your eyes and use a set of top lashes *upside down* for the lower lashes. This is hard to do, but they just don’t sell "undie-lashes" big enough for Magenta. If you have too much trouble doing this, buy "undie-lashes" (not available at most drugstores, but easily orderable from Sally’s).
The makeup is very simple. Cover your whole face with clown white, remembering you just want to look pale, not like a ghost. (It’s very easy to over-white.) I like Kryolan. It goes on easily and lasts forever. Contour with a dark brown eye shadow only if you are trying to modify your face to look like Pat Quinn’s. I’m a little on the fat side, so I draw in a stronger jaw line in brown eye shadow and blend, blend, blend. Put a little white on your ears, too, if you want. Don’t bother to white your neck: Pat didn’t.
You need a dark purple, "bruise" type eye shadow. These are also popular now. I use one from Mary Kay; Shaklee also has a nice one available. Cover your lids, using a little purple pencil to accent the crease before you put on the shadow. I find it helps to hold a tissue under my eyes to keep my cheeks from getting any excess purple on them. Cover the entire lid of the eye, and go nearly up to the brow bone, but not quite. The shape should be as follows:
_____ / \ / \ --------- <-- crease of eye
The purple should show when you open your eyes. If it doesn’t, add more. Then take a white lipstick and go from the inner corner of your eye, filling in the area between the purple and your brow, and go all the way to the outer corner of your eye, where the white should blend into your cheek white.
Then line your eyes in dark black. If you are using regular undie-lashes instead of upside down top lashes, you may find it helps to draw black lines, like long lashes, down from the edge of your eye. Do line the underside of your eye. Then apply false eyelashes and line again, as needed. Apply glue, (to lash, not to your eye), wait 30 seconds for it to get tacky, and apply. If it doesn’t look right, change it immediately before the glue sets.
Apply 2 coats of black mascara to help glue fake lashes to your own. Hold a clean tissue under your eyes to catch any loose mascara bits. Blink several times to make sure the lashes will stay on. Always apply lower lashes below your own; it doesn’t look as good but hurts a lot less. Always take extra glue to the theater; lashes don’t always stay put.
Now do your eyebrows. You’ll need a black eye pencil for this. The inner edge of the brow should extend just a little onto the part of the forehead above the bridge of the nose. Extend your own as necessary. Then pencil them in, using short strokes imitating the way the hairs in your own lashes lie. The tops of Magenta’s brows are pretty much straight, and extend down far enough that a line drawn from the outer corner of her eye would just touch the ends. Do not make brows too thick. Quinn only penciled in the top two-thirds of her own eyebrows.
Set the white (not the eye shadow or the brows; they’ll just fade) with a quick dusting of powder. I use a cornstarch baby powder. Pure cornstarch will lump; talcum powder is OK, but don’t breathe it. Brush off any excess with a brush.
Apply your lips in a reddish-orangeish (not too orange!) shade. Don’t forget to give yourself a cupid’s bow, exaggerating slightly the "M" shape at the top of your upper lip line. Apply one coat; blot and powder. Repeat.
If you have straight hair and choose not to wear a wig, I find I get best results by putting my wet hair into about 25 tiny braids, letting it dry, hair-spraying it, then taking out the braids and teasing the hell out of it.
For those final touches, don’t forget:
Magenta wears red nail polish. Apply the day before if possible, or as long as you can before you put on your costume. I’ve never been able to figure out how to put on a garter belt without chipping it. If you apply fake nails, do so *after* you have your garter belt and makeup on.
Magenta wears black stockings with seams. Very authentic looking Magenta boots can be bought at Sears (the "Poppies" line). Or if you have no money, Payless offers some boots that are fairly close. You want black lace-up grannie boots with a pointy heel. The Sears boots are about $40; the ones from Payless (which are sort of a faux suede and feature some black floral embroidery which thankfully the audience can’t see) are about $18.
A fairly authentic space ‘do can be made with your own hair if you’re blessed with long hair the right color (I am). Crumple a few paper towels and roll the front of your hair over them. Pin with about a million bobby pins (get the big ones). Repeat with the back of the hair. Apply white stripes with cheap white Halloween cream makeup. It’s much messier than using spray-in hair color, but it shows up (spray-in will not).
Oh, one last note—stockings with seams can be bought either from Frederick’s for $6 a pair if you buy two, or from Victoria’s Secret. Black garter belts can of course be found either place, or even at JC Penney’s (go figure.)