From stage to screen: Make-Up and Wig Design alum shares work on Paramount+ series "Evil"

Claire Mahony says CCM gave her the foundation she needed for success in the entertainment industry

University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music alumna Claire Mahony (BFA Make-up and Wig Design, '08) is the hair department head on Evil, an original series on Paramount+. The creative artist works throughout the entertainment industry on stage and screen projects, and is hoping that her work on Evil will lead to a nomination in the ninth annual Make-up Artists & Hair Styling Guild Awards; nominations will be announced on January 11.

Mahony has been a part of the hair department on Evil since the beginning of the show and describes it as an incredible experience. It originally aired in 2019 on CBS before shifting to Paramount+ for the second season in summer 2021. The supernatural drama stars Hollywood veterans Mike Colter (Luke Cage, Jessica Jones) and Katja Herbers (Westworld, The Americans). A season three renewal was announced in July.

She credits CCM for preparing her to work in TV and film. “The rigorous curriculum at CCM helped me better manage my time," she says. "I think the script analysis and research we were pushed to do gave me an upper hand. I understand how to break down the material, see what every department would need, and design the hair looks accordingly."

During production on Evil, they would often shoot a scene and then return to the same episode months later — meaning that creative artists behind the scenes would need to match the actors hair and make-up to make it look exactly how it did in the original shoot. 

“Kelly Yurko definitely helped keep me on track," Mahony adds about her time in college. "CCM was truly an amazing experience. So happy I studied there.” 

While studying at CCM, she experienced internships at the Cincinnati Opera and Glimmerglass Festival. She graduated from CCM Theatre Design and Production's Make-up and Wig Design program, which has since updated its curriculum to offer a MFA degree instead of a BFA degree.

After she graduated, Mahony moved to Macau, China to work on ZAiA for Cirque Du Soleil where she met her husband. She relocated to Las Vegas for The Beatles Love Show at the Mirage and later landed in New York for another Cirque show, Zarkana. After joining the Make-up and Hair Stylists Guild, IATSE Local 798, Mahony worked on Cinderella and An American in Paris on Broadway. She then moved from stage to screen, working on The Woman in the Window and the Sophia Coppola feature, On the Rocks. She has also served as the hair department head on independent film Puzzle, and on comedy shows including Difficult People, The Other Two and Saturday Night Live for three seasons. View her credits on IMBD and follow her Instagram to view her work.

She is currently working on a movie, Players, which is slated to premiere on Netflix in 2022. She is also working on a Ryan Murphy production, The Watcher and hopes to do a third season of The Other Two on HBO. 

“Keep in mind the connections you make over the years; I am truly successful because of the company I keep," Mahony says. "CCM undoubtedly gave me the foundation I needed to make it in the entertainment world.” 

Feature image at the top: A screen shot from the first season of Evil, originally aired on CBS.

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Jaime Sharp

CCM Graduate Assistant, Marketing + Communications

Jaime Sharp is a master's student studying Vocal Performance at CCM. She serves as the Vice President of the CCM Graduate Student Association and Student Liaison for the CCM DEI Committee. Jaime holds a bachelor's from the University of Michigan.