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Macee Barry loves her career as a makeup artist–but not applying the makeup you’d think. Right, she is using “dirt spray” to one of the “background talent” actors in one of the films she worked on, “The Last Son.” Macee credits Melissa Oteri, pictured with Macee at left, with helping launch her career. “Melissa took a chance on me without question,” said Macee. “She has taught me everything I know about makeup. She got me to where I am now and I couldn’t be more thankful for her.”

On a movie set, makeup is not just about the right foundation and eyeshadow, many times, it is so much more. Macee Barry, daughter of Walter and Charlotte Barry and 2019 Cut Bank High School graduate, is learning first-hand how makeup works its wonders on a movie set. Not only is she watching and learning the “how-to’s” of that world, but she is also actually doing the work and loving it!

“My start in movies was a little unconventional,” admits Macee, “but I am so grateful for the people who got me into it.”

When the movie Sooyii was being filmed on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Macee heard they needed extras. “There was no way I wanted to be in front of the camera, but I knew that I would love to work behind the scenes. I reached out to a few of the people who I knew, and they got me the email of the producer and after a few emails, she wanted me to come meet the crew and help out for a few of their busier days.”

At the time, they were filming at Swift Dam, which is located at the southern end of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. When Macee arrived, she was introduced to the assistant director, who then took her to the head of the makeup and hair department.

 “She didn’t even know I was coming that first day, but she put me straight to work and taught me so much. I knew three hours into the day I wanted this to work out and I wanted to make more out of this,” recalls Macee.

She did so well, Melissa Oteri, the department head asked Macee to come back every day for the rest of the shoot. “I thought after the film wrapped that this was going to be a once in a lifetime experience. But about a week later, I got a call asking if I was going to be free to assist in a short film in Virginia City and I happily accepted.”

So far, Macee has worked as the assistant hair and makeup artist on the sets of Sooyii, Chief Tendoy, The Last Son, Broke, Murder at Emergent Gulch, The Old Way and Butcher’s Crossing, the new Nicholas Cage film. All of these films have been shot in Montana.

“I don’t see a reason to leave Montana to fight for work right now when everyone wants to come film a western in Montana,” she said.

These films have needed makeup artists for three different areas–hair, makeup and special effects.

“Most of the films I have done have been period pieces, so I have had to learn the correct hair styles and makeup for those time periods, mostly the 1800s. It has quickly become my favorite. I have also learned how to do throat slits, smallpox, bullet wounds, frost bite, ice effects, beatings which includes, puffy eyes, split lips, swollen cheeks and bruises.”

Macee has always had a passion for all things cosmetic. She started college at Montana State University-Bozeman with the intent to study business management and get a job “on the business side of the cosmetic world.”

However, halfway through her freshman year, COVID-19 became a reality, and she was sent home from college.

“I did not enjoy online school, but I thought college was the only way to have a successful career, that is until I began working on films and my perspective on school changed. I realized college isn’t for everyone and with a strong work ethic, you can make a career out of your skill set,” she shared.

Macee admits she has not been in the movie “biz” for very long and yet, she can say without hesitation, “I love just about everything about my job! I am able to do makeup, which has always been my goal. I get to work under some amazing makeup artists who have taught me so much and have become my really good friends. I get to travel around Montana, seeing some of the most beautiful landscape in remote areas. When I was in high school, I loved art class and the creativity it gave me. Being a makeup artist allows me to use the skills I have learned in art to be creative every day.”

Even though college did not work out for Macee, she still held on to her big dreams. The drawback, she thought was there, growing up and living in a small town, turned out to be the asset for getting the job she wanted.

“I always had big dreams for my career, but I always thought that in order to achieve them I would have to move to New York or Los Angeles. I never thought my first job would be less than 40 miles from the place I went to high school,” she said.

“Growing up in a small town helped me so much to get where I am. I was pretty driven in high school and playing high school sports showed me if you don’t put in the work, you won’t get better,” said Macee.

“I can thank my family and growing up on a ranch for a lot. Even though I will not admit that to my dad. It gave me the ability to learn skills quickly and to think of unconventional ways to fix things in a high-pressure situation. My dad always made a point to see the next step before you were told to do it. I didn’t realize that I had retained that skill until one of the artists I was working for mentioned that was one of her favorite things about me,” she shared.

Macee feels like this could be her career, her passion, the one thing she will love doing every day. “I am excited to go to work every day and at the end of a crazy long workday I was still excited to go to work the next day.”

Macee credits Melissa Oteri for the amazing opportunity she received on the set of the first movie she was involved in. “Melissa took a chance on me without question. She has taught me everything I know about makeup. She got me to where I am now and I couldn’t be more thankful for her.”

No future is a for-sure-thing and Macee is the first to admit that. However, what she learns every day and what she gets to do on a movie set, is what she wants to continue doing for as long as she can.

  “This whole experience has taught me that sometimes opportunities come along that don’t exactly fit into the plan that you have made for yourself. But you have to take a chance on yourself sometimes and hopefully it is successful. Maybe it won’t be, but you can still learn a lot from a failed experience,” she concluded.

For more local news, pick up a copy of this week’s issue or subscribe to the Cut Bank Pioneer Press,  Shelby Promoter, Browning Glacier Reporter and The Valierian newspapers at http://www.cutbankpioneerpress.com/site/services/

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