Makeup goes from glam to gunshot wounds

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Maggie Slaughter is more than a makeup artist; she’s a magician of sorts, transforming ordinary people into mystical creatures and stage characters, or turning run-of-the-mill medical simulations into dramatizations featuring realistic trauma victims, using her makeup brush as a wand.

Slaughter, who comes from a family of actors, began her journey as a makeup artist at age 12 by taking a summer camp special effects class offered by the Arts Council of Wilson. At that point, Slaughter, now 23, already was a seasoned ACT! for Youth performer. However, that initial class led her to start working more behind the scenes within the Wilson theater community, providing her services for various ACT! for Youth and Playhouse productions.

“Particularly with the ACT! for Youth kids, I really enjoy teaching them to nurture the next generation of theater makeup artists,” Slaughter said. “It’s fun to take one person and completely transform them into a totally different person with makeup.”

Over the years, Slaughter, a 2013 graduate of Fike High School, has sharpened her skills through experience and countless YouTube videos.

“There was a lot of trial and error. I would try something, and it wouldn’t look right. I’d keep trying it until I almost perfected it. Now, nothing’s perfect, ever, but it does the job.”

Her persistence and dedication to her craft allowed her to expand her horizons. She now also does makeup for shows in Rocky Mount and across the Triangle. In 2017, she received an award for Outstanding Hair and Makeup for Theatre Raleigh production of “Rock of Ages” from the well-respected website, triangleartsandentertainment.org.

Always eager to embrace new challenges, when Slaughter was approached by a friend about using her services for an EMT active shooter simulation, she jumped on the opportunity.

“I made about 40 gunshot wounds, entry and exit wounds, for them to use. They bled, so they could bandage them up and be more prepared in case something like that happened.”

Since then, she’s done a number of medical emergency simulations, including a simulated rave explosion and fire at Edgecombe Community College.

“People had glass sticking out of their necks, allergic reactions, drug overdoses,” Slaughter said. “It was interesting. There’s a whole different side of makeup that can help train first responders. I really didn’t think about it.”

Although Slaughter enjoys working in her hometown and surrounding area, she is open to turning her makeup artistry into a fulltime career.

“I think Broadway would be a lot of fun, or a touring show so I could travel with the cast,” Slaughter said. “Right now, it’s just a hobby, but I’d love to do that.”