Missy Elliott is re-introducing herself to the younger generation with her latest video Throw It Back. Even in the lyrics she says, “I did records for Tweet before y’all could even tweet.” The beat is banging, the visuals are vivid and we couldn’t get over the plethora of beauty looks in the video! We caught up with lead makeup artist, Alexandra Butler and her core makeup artist, Danielle Henry, who gave us all the details (and BTS photos!) on the beauty looks that you saw in the Throw It Back video. Henry has done makeup for 911 actress Aisha Hines as well as Dear White People actress Nia Jervia.
Missy Elliott has not released a new song since 2018, so she came with the fire. This was undoubtedly one of the opportunities where hairstylists, makeup artists, stylists, and more would want to get involved. Butler shared, “The experience was beyond amazing. Having the task of being in complete control of all the creative for makeup was liberating and inspiring so I knew I needed talented MUAs who could carry out my direction flawlessly.”
NYC based makeup artist, Danielle Henry was one of those makeup artists. “She is a good friend of mine and a mentor and someone I look up to. I met her 7 or 8 years ago right before I decided to get into makeup. When I was starting off, I would always send her pictures of my work for critique. She would give me advice. She also used to do these nationwide classes. I would assist her in the NYC classes – handing out different tools and absorbing information.” This is a testimony illustrating how putting in the work and offering your services can lead to major opportunities down the line. Butler reinforced this concept by adding, “The makeup artists I selected are makeup artists I’ve either known for years or who I have mentored.” When it’s a major job, people need to know the job can get done efficiently and effectively.”
There were three overall beauty looks to go with the various looks throughout the video. Henry assisted Butler by doing the makeup for the core dancers. Several Black owned makeup brands were utilized to create the For the pink look, Henry shared that the dancers have a pink hombre lip. To achieve the look, she used The Lip Bar Playmate ($13.00, thelipbar.com). She applied “hot pink deeper at the edges of the lip and lighter at the center.” This is also an example of how one beauty product can be used multiple ways. She used The Lip Bar Playmate for the eye. She shared, “I packed on a Juvia’s Place pink on top of that.” This bold eye, Henry dubbed “a graphic cut crease wing”, because “the whole eye is covered in pink and is just winged out at the end.” The bold eye will be a trend you will continue to see for the next few seasons. Henry predicts that she sees the trend “getting bigger, people are going bolder and wanting to have more fun with their makeup.”
The blue color scheme with the MCM outfits were a standout in the video. Henry explained, “In order to get the blue to the right blue, we were mixing and concocting. We ended up going with Fontella Cosmetics ‘Resilient’ Lip-Powerment ($16.00, fontellacosmetics.com) and then ‘Pristige’ ($10.00, fontellacosmetics.com) and then black. After we packed metallic blue eyeshadow from Juvia’s Place.” With a strong lip, they decided to go with a chocolate smokey eye.
Henry shared, “Missy is very hands on. While we had mood boards, we were consistently creatively updating. We would do looks and submit them on set and them Missy would approve them through Alex.” This is illustrative of Missy Elliott’s visionary mindset. “The energy was amazing. The vibe was everything. We were on set for 6 days and did about 90 hours.” It takes time for the creative process to come fully to life!
In addition to the core dancers, Henry also did the makeup for the girl who played a young Missy Elliott. She revealed, “Missy is very particular about children. To my understanding, she likes them to look like children. I was instructed to do natural makeup on them.” In a society that’s constantly trying to have young girls grow up before their time, it’s great to have an artist advocating through her visuals for children to be children.
The yellow scene might have just been a blink, but it was impactful in the beauty world as well. What you see isn’t always reality. Henry spilled the details about the cheerleaders looks, “The girls’ pom poms are yellow afros.” True Missy fashion!
We love that the beauty featured beats made possible by Black women using Black owned products. We also love to see that Butler gave the oh-so-hardworking Henry an opportunity as well. This is #BlackGirlMagic in beauty form!
Check out more exclusive behind the scenes photos from the shoot!