Interview: Molly Hanley – Part I

I am excited to share yet another great interview with a local talent!  I had the chance to meet Molly Hanley a few months back when she provided makeup assistance on a photo shoot.  I quickly learned that there was much more to this fresh young face than skills with a makeup brush and thought you would all enjoy getting to know her a little as well!

Photo by Mark Brosius

So let’s start off with the basics…. How old? Where did you grow up? Schooling? What part of the region are you in now?

I’m 19, and I was born and raised in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. I’ve never lived anywhere else and I’ve only moved once, (just up the road) so the roots are purely PGH & I bleed black and gold! I graduated from Peters Township High School and I’m currently living in Upper Saint Clair.

So I know that you are both a local model as well as makeup artist. Not sure which makes more sense to discuss first, so why don’t you tell me briefly how you got involved in these two areas.

Well, makeup was something that I just picked up, really. I never had any formal training or anything like that…I was actually the biggest tomboy growing up and hated makeup, dresses, tights and all that girly stuff until the end of middle school. My mom worked as a Mary Kay consultant at one point and I liked to go into her makeup closet and use the blue and purple eye shadows to make it look like I had a bruise and trick her. I also liked to dress my younger brother up in play clothes and make him up to look like a girl (he’ll be so pissed if he sees this!!! haha) …and the rest is history!

An example of Molly’s special effects work from her high school theatre days. Under all that makeup is a 16 year old!

When I went into high school, I became the chief of the makeup crew for the theater troupe and ended up designing and applying all the makeup for over 20 productions in the 4 years I was there. As a senior I was actually awarded the PA State Hall Of Fame Technical Award for makeup which was pretty cool. My passion in makeup is prosthetics and special effects…LOVE that stuff. But I also love high fashion and glamour makeup. I think people are simply beautiful. I can find beautiful features on virtually anyone. My motto in makeup is “Beauty is not something of which I claim to create, I merely enhance something already beautiful”…and that is truly how I feel.

I do model as well, here and there. That kind of came into play from working with photographers as a makeup artist, and getting asked to shoot with them as the subject. I think it’s fun to make art with creative minds so I’m always open to trying new things. Actually pursuing a career as a model is not really a priority of mine because there are so many other things I want to dedicate myself and my time to, but it’s fun to shoot 🙂

Do you tend to be in front of the camera more or behind the scenes these days? Which do you like better?

Recently I’ve been in front of it! Which is a change from the last few years! And I can’t lie, I’m likin’ it! I honestly love both. I hope that I can be both in front of and behind the camera in my future endeavors, because as much as I love to perform, I also like being part of the direction. I do it all. I’m a makeup artist, singer/songwriter/recording artist, model, actress, dancer, and I’m not a bad photographer either! 🙂

In regards to makeup and modeling, how would you describe your preference of style?

Creative. I don’t like to do what everyone else is doing… I love color and attitude. (I would love to be Lady GaGa’s personal makeup artist 🙂

What do you think of the landscape of modeling opportunities in southwestern PA?

The thing about modeling in Pittsburgh, is that there is an industry..but it’s exclusive, and not all that ‘big’. There are many talented photographers and gorgeous models, but I have to wonder sometimes what they’re actually DOING with the images from the shoots. New York, Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles are really where these models need to be sending their shots and networking if they are considering a serious career in that field. Sure, it would be great to try to establish a more solid entertainment industry in Pittsburgh, but that is definitely not happening overnight. There are opportunities here that can start people off on the right track though.

Molly applying makeup to a model on a photo shoot in studio with me in early August. Photo by 412foto.

Any insights on the additional training you have with makeup or brands/tools of the trade?

Products don’t need to put you in debt. For example, I LOVE Maybelline foundation products. You can buy it at CVS. You do not need to go out and purchase all the department store makeup to achieve professional results. Almost any makeup brand can make you look amazing if applied correctly.

I am intrigued by how intertwined fashion and music are with each other either from the aspect of artistic expression or influencing each other in profound ways. Any thoughts or insights on how music, modeling, fashion, and makeup artistry all come together in today’s world?

They are all one in the same, joining together to create entertainment. Each aspect captures the creative minds behind the projects and relays them in different ways to viewers/listeners. Once again look at Lady GaGa, she is a well rounded performer and she will be around for a very long time because she conquers every aspect, from being a talented singer/songwriter/pianist, to a fashion/makeup icon, and a dancer. I think that woman is brilliant. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks, she is herself. And that got her where she is today. I would like to do the same. 🙂

Much much more from Molly in Part II of her interview.  So make sure to check back later this week to learn about yet even more talents and some exciting things on the horizon for Molly!!