Meet the Woman Behind the Flawless Faces of Empire

EMPIRE: Cast Pictured L-R: Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon, Bryshere Gray as Hakeem Lyon and Trai Byers as Andre Lyon in EMPIRE. Season Two premieres Wednesday, Sept. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: James Dimmock/FOX.

Meet the Woman Behind the Flawless Faces of Empire

Key makeup artist Karen Lynn Accattato dishes on TV's hottest cast.

Published September 24, 2015

We know you’re spending your Wednesday nights glued to your television now that Empire is back. No judgment — so are we! Aside from the oh-no-they-didn't storylines, it’s all about how fly the cast looks, from their hair to their wardrobe and even their flawless faces.

Because we’re hooked on the hunky male cast, we did some investigating to find out just what keeps Bryshere Y. Gray, Jussie Smollett, Trai Byers and Terrence Howard looking so fresh and so clean. Karen Lynn Accattato is the key makeup artist on the smash hit show and she dished exclusively with B*Real about what goes down behind the scenes.

B*Real: Out of all the guys, who is the most particular about his skin/makeup?

All of the guys are great! I would say Yazz, who plays Hakeem, is probably the most into the skincare and has really cared for and embraced the routine outside of the makeup chair. He’s really understood what I’ve taught in terms of cleansing, shaving and hydrating the skin and has incorporated it into his daily routine.

What's the goal when you're putting makeup on men?

The goal for me on Empire is always to make sure my men look natural and makeup-free. On Empire, we aren’t selling makeup. We are trying to portray real people in the real world. I never want my guys to look shiny or oily, unless, of course, they are in a stressful or intimate scene and their character is meant to look that way. Typically, I always want my guys to have matte skin so they aren’t shiny or reflective on camera. The best way to achieve this is through hydration with moisturizers – Dove Men+Care makes an awesome Ultra-Hydrating Cream that will hydrate the skin for 24 hours, and the best part is that it will leave the skin with a matte finish so there is no shininess.

Who is the most laid back in the makeup chair?

Trai Byers is the most laid back. When he gets in my chair, he lets me do my thing and we have some great conversations.

Who has the best gossip?

Honestly, no gossip here! Our cast and crew all come from a place of love, support and positivity.

What's the vibe in the makeup room? Do you play music, dance, etc.?

So fun! I have to say, Empire is the most alive, fun and exciting set I’ve ever worked on. We’re always dancing, playing music and joking with each other. Everyone is a hard worker but we also like to have fun, and in-between takes you’ll see everyone dancing and twerking, gearing up for the next scene.

Whose makeup takes the longest?

Hmm, that’s a good question. I would say, sometimes the guest stars take the longest because we have such limited time with them. When Courtney Love was on the show, we had to do so many different looks in a very short amount of time. We had to transform her character from an addict to a woman who is clean and out of rehab, ready to get back into the music game – those are big changes.

How did you land your job as a makeup artist on a network TV show?

Well, I’ve been working as an artist for over 30 years and have done everyone from Michael Jordan to President Barack Obama. I started my career with Beverly Joe Pryor, who is now the head of the makeup department on Empire. When Lee Daniels asked her to lead the makeup department in Chicago, she thought of me and asked if I’d like to become the key makeup artist on the show! It’s great to work with Beverly again and the amazing cast – there is so much talent on set every day. always gives you the latest fashion and beauty trends, tips and news. We are committed to bringing you the best of Black lifestyle and celebrity culture.

(Photo: James Dimmock/FOX)

Written by Britt Middleton


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