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From L.A. to LA

Photo courtesy of Megan Hebert

SEA CREATURE - Ruggero Caccamo models as Pichon, a creature designed, sculpted and painted by makeup artist Megan Hebert.

by Connor Raborn reporter@hammondstar.com

A career path that started in event planning has led New Orleans native Megan Hebert from wedding venues to international destinations to the film industry.

After living primarily in Los Angeles for a time, Hebert was brought back to the Boot by its budding film industry. Now, she goes wherever the work takes her, sometimes living in Los Angeles, sometimes living in New Orleans, where her parents still reside.

Last year Hebert was working on a set in Seattle. Last month found her based out of New Orleans but staying for a while with friends in Baton Rouge while working on "Christmas Cars" at John Schneider Studios in Holden.

"The hardest part is really maintaining stability," Hebert said. This includes having to support herself when she's between projects and knowing where she'll be staying, but having connections around her various work sites helps. "I have friends all over the place really," she said.

Making friends is facilitated by her job. When actors spend six hours in her chair getting their hair and makeup done, they often open up to her about their lives, one of Hebert's favorite things about being a makeup artist.

"I like having that personable relationship with people," she said.

She also described it as an easy-going, go-with-the-flow job, which is suited to her personality. It can also be meditative for her, requiring her to focus solely on fixing an actor's hair and makeup.

Hebert learned her trade at Cinema Makeup School in Los Angeles, where she honed her skills in special effects makeup. Horror and sci-fi projects are among her favorites to work on, and she has designed and fully realized some creatures of her own.

Among her recent supernatural projects are the movie "The Purple Iris" and "Ghosts of Morgan City," a new paranormal investigation show premiering on Travel Channel on Friday, June 21, at 8 p.m.

She also enjoys doing music videos, as they're quick and easy but "a good way to think outside the box a little bit," she said.

However, Hebert's first college experience was at University of Louisiana at Lafayette where she studied hospitality management. After working for two years as an event coordinator marketing manager at a wedding planning venue, she used money she'd saved to travel to Guatemala and India.

She returned to the U.S. but soon found herself in France volunteering at the Cannes Film Festival. Hebert said she basically just showed up and started working, then did the same at South by Southwest, where she was able to get sponsors for the event and plan an afterparty.

This led to a job as production assistant on the show "Underground," which led to connections with reality shows around south Louisiana. Then she moved to L.A.

"It's always been my dream to move to California since I was in high school," Hebert said. Once there, she worked at the L.A. International Film Fest, and an interest in makeup soon became a new job in the film industry.

Hebert had considered going to school for cosmetology at one point.

"I was kind of one of those people that always went all out for Halloween, making my own costumes and doing my own makeup," she said.

Increased interest in Louisiana as a filming location eventually allowed Hebert to blend her work with time back home in her native state.

"The industry started picking up back here, so here I am," she said.

Many of her projects thus far have been independent productions. Hebert said these create a unique experience where cast and crew on those sets wear multiple hats and become close quickly.

In her downtime, she enjoys outdoors activities like going to the beach and just being in nature. Work in Louisiana has made that easy, as well as offering a varied lineup of festivals in the spring, which Hebert has recently attended.

Her side job is working concerts as a VIP host with Live Nation, a job that actually has overlapped with her main job. It allows her to network with movie producers and still use her original college degree. She has an eye toward the future as well, on something that would allow her to flex her imagination even more.

"I have the artistic, creative side when I'm doing my makeup, but I still utilize my event planning skills," she said. "Eventually I would like to start doing my own creative projects. I really like character creation."