Graduate Spotlight: Angel Radefeld-Wright



Angel and MUD go way back. Back to the beginning. Angel took a chance and left her life as a cosmetologist in Kansas to attend the brand new Make-up Designory school which was then based in a tiny space in North Hollywood, California back in 1998. 

Since graduating from MUD, Angel has been riddled with success in the industry for the past 19 years, most recently and notably, serving as the assistant make-up department head for LaLa Land. Over the years, Angel has always worked on projects such as Little Miss Sunshine, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Hangover. Angel is currently the make-up department head for Showtime’s series, “Ray Donovan.” (For a full list of credits, visit her IMDB.)

MUD: Tell us a little bit about your background. Where are you from? What did you want to be when you grew up? What led you to MUD?
Angel: I’m a Midwest girl! Drove to LA with my car and cats behind a U-haul. Growing up, I always knew that Los Angeles was where I would end up. It wasn’t until I was in high school, during our plays, that I realized make-up was and always had been a passion. I can’t sing very well so when our school would do the musicals, I volunteered to be the backstage make-up artist.


MUD: What are you doing now?
Angel: Currently, I’m the Department Head on Showtime’s Ray Donovan. We’re on our 5th season and I’ve been fortunate to be a part of it since the pilot. I’m currently living in Los Angeles with my husband and our 2 beautiful kids. (Along with our dog and a couple of desert tortoises.)

MUD: What did you do RIGHT after you left MUD?
Angel: Right after I got out of school, I hit the pavement hard. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. My first “job” out of school wasn’t even doing make-up, it was getting it put on! I wanted to get on a set and didn’t have ANY connections. I signed up to do background work and got on a movie. I didn’t realize that it would employ me for 3 months solid! Every morning at 4am, I had to show up at Universal and go through hair & make-up for about an hour. There were over twenty hair & make-up artists there. I learned a lot about being on a set. I learned good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s all come full-circle and I have had the pleasure of working with some of those artists as peers to this day.

MUD: What do you remember most vividly about your time at MUD?
Angel: I remember being excited to create on our classmates everyday. I also remember being frustrated at certain lessons that I thought I could never master (like laying beards). I also had NO money and that gave me the drive to never give up — I had left everything back in the Midwest for this! I felt there were no other options. Not to mention I LOVED BEING AT MUD!


MUD: Do you/will you stay in touch with the friends you made at MUD? Why do you think that is important in your line of work?
Angel: I can’t say that I’m in contact with anyone from school these days. A few of us did for awhile, but as time moved on, so did our interests. I am, however, still in touch with my mentors and teachers. I’m forever grateful for them. When I taught at MUD, that was another big influence in my career. I’m still very much in touch with my fellow instructors from that time. Keeping connections in this business is a must. There are people that I talk to on the phone or shoot an email to that I physically haven’t seen in years. But we recommend each other for jobs all of the time.

MUD: Tell us about your best day at MUD?
Angel: My best day at MUD was the first day and my last day doing our final projects. I was excited to start this journey.


MUD: What are some lessons you learned at MUD that you think will be most beneficial in the “real world?”
Angel: When I was at MUD I was fortunate to have the director of the school’s father Byrd Holland give us a lesson in “set etiquette.” He was a retired master of the craft and had been on more sets than I was old. He gave us a brief look at what to do and what not to do while at work. His ways today would be considered “old fashioned” & “dated.” Not as far as I’m concerned. I believe those words he said are the golden rule book. I try very hard to make sure the people I surround myself with at work believe that as well.

MUD: Would you have done anything differently?
Angel: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! (Well, maybe have a little more money in savings.)


MUD: Do you have any words of encouragement for those considering applying to MUD?
Angel: Learn as much as you can. Take all of the programs and ask all the questions you want. It’s a forever learning industry and you never know which direction you’ll go.

MUD: Lastly, what advice to you have for today’s MUD students?
Angel: NEVER GIVE UP! No job is too little and no position is too small. You never know who’ll you meet on that job and where it could lead you.


MUD Talks: Fred C. Blau


We recently had the honor of having Fred C. Blau speak to our students at our LA campus in Burbank. Fred has worked on such legendary films as Apocalypse Now, Planet of the Apes, Charlie’s Angels, Armageddon and Con Air. During his career, Fred was even challenged with the task of creating realistic looking artificial blood which led to his company, Reel Creations.

Battle of the Brushes Competitors

Battle of the Brushes Header

BOTB_collage.jpgBattle of the Brushes brings makeup artists together who share the same passion. What inspires me the most about past competitions is the amount of talent that participants display as well as the amazing judges participating in the event.”
— MUD graduate, Jerry Noriega

Battle of the Brushes is upon us once again! In a few short days, MUD graduates from Los Angeles and New York will be heading to IMATS New York to compete in this exciting event! Students who have graduated within a year of the competition date are encourage to apply. The competition is broken down into two categories — one portion is character/prosthetics and the other is beauty/fantasy. A different theme is selected for both categories each year. 2017’s themes will be Guardians of the Galaxy for character/prosthetics and International Beauty for beauty/fantasy.

We’re so proud of our MUD grads who will be competing! A total of eight MUD grads will be competing this year and we wanted to see what was on their minds as they prepare for battle…of the brushes.

What made you decide to enter Battle of the Brushes?

Korbyn Rachel: I decided to enter Battle of the Brushes because I thought to myself, “what do I have to lose?” I entered the competition with the mindset of “everything happens for a reason,” so whether I got in or not, I would be proud of myself for entering.

Jerry Noriega: The one thing that made me decide to enter Battle of the Brushes was the love I have for this industry and for what I create, along with the support of my friends, family and mentors throughout my career. I think the challenge and having this new experience out of my comfort zone drove me to enter in this competition.

Lacey Buccina:  I entered Battle of the Brushes mainly for the experience. My Beauty 101 teacher, Lisa Leveridge, always pushed for us to compete. I applied for the first time to the NY location and got in and I am so honored!

Crystal Gomez:  I wanted to enter Battle of the Brushes to push myself into creating and designing more make-ups on my own. I also saw it as a way to have my makeup viewed by amazing artists and the people I’ve looked up to for years!

Shideh Kafei: Battle of the Brushes has always been a dream of mine. I attended MUD where my amazing professors encouraged students to enter. My mind was set when Michael Key came in to speak to the us. Now, not only am I super pumped about attending IMATS for the first time, but also to say that I will compete for the Battle of the Brushes!

Chelsea Nowak: I was entering my last leg at MUD, focused on graduating with some awesome final projects and an invaluable wealth of knowledge, when some former students started coming into MUD to practice for Battle of the Brushes LA. They were producing some pretty cool work and I didn’t really consider that I could be ready to do the same thing in just a couple short months. Once the buzz started around MUD about the NY competition, I couldn’t come up with a good reason not to apply. I realized that if I didn’t dive in right then, I would never get the same opportunity again, and I knew I needed to put myself to the test.

BrittanyRose LaFemina: I knew that I was going to apply for Battle of the Brushes the second I learned about it and IMATS. I found out about it when Michael Key came to MUD to talk to us about IMATS and the industry; I was immediately inspired. I had multiple friends that had been in BOTB (and won!) and I had helped them through their preparations, so when it came time for me to apply, they were super supportive and helpful. They still inspire me while I prepare for my own makeup; I always go back to their make-ups for inspiration because if they can do it, I know that I can do it, too.

What was the process of entering like?

Rachel: The actual process of entering was super simple and easy. The prep to enter though, was stressful (yet exciting and fun, of course), but totally worth it. I stayed after class many times during the week to plan out and apply make-ups, and went to the Saturday photoshoots as well.

Buccina: You have to submit 8-10 photos of what you think is your best work. This doesn’t need to be anything like what you will be executing for the competition. I submitted mainly beauty pictures from by Beauty 301 class and one avant garde photo.

Gomez:  It started with me making the initial decision of entering then, brainstorming ideas for make-ups that would showcase my makeup the best. I’m on a very tight budget so I knew it meant that my make-up should stand out and I had to keep wardrobe simple.

Kafei: When thinking about submitting for the Battle of the Brushes, I knew I had it in me, but that I wouldn’t make it with the portfolio I currently had. So when I graduated MUD in November, I put myself to work. I tested with as many photographers as I could, but knew I needed to do projects on my own where I could have creative freedom. I put together shoots with various models, stylists, and an incredible photographer. I did looks that I thought would stand out. I printed out more than I need to submit and only sent in my favorites. And then the hardest part…the waiting game until I found out I had made it!

Nowak: Another competitor and I actually spent a few busy weeks in January working through the entry process together, which definitely made for an exciting start to this journey. We put in some late nights brainstorming, sculpting, pre-painting, and applying make-ups in order to produce creatures and characters we were proud to submit. MUD has been very supportive of us both from the beginning, providing us with the means and guidance to do so to the best of our abilities. For me, it was a gratifying achievement simply to meet the challenge of applying, and being invited to compete was one of the proudest moments of my life.

What is your strategy going into the competition?

Rachel: While preparing for the competition, I will be studying the background of Guardians of the Galaxy. I really want to understand the environment the characters live in, and why they are the way they are. Practice makes perfect, so I plan on practicing many many times up until the competition to get everything in line — so I am mentally and physically prepared.

Noriega: My strategy going into the competition is to micromanage every step, and prepare ahead of time with exactly what I need to complete my character, paying attention to all of the categories that are going to be judged. Practicing a full run of my character and finishing in the amount of time given in the competition would be the best strategy.

Buccina: I have been speaking a lot with the LA IMATS winner, Kyrsta Morehouse. She gave me a lot of pointers on what I should do while I’m there. My strategy will be practicing as often as possible and just trying to keep calm. I am truly just honored to even be one of the 8 selected for the beauty/fantasy portion of this competition and I cannot wait for the experience.

Gomez: My strategy going in is to go to IMATS Battle of the Brushes, not with the idea that I MUST win, but to think of what an amazing opportunity it is to meet people I admire and to show them what I can do in the time allowed. I don’t want my time in NY to be clouded by anxiety and too much stress. I’m preparing myself as much as I can now with practice and design plans and hopefully everything will go well!

Kafei: My main strategy is to have a plan and be prepared. This competition has been on my mind since I submitted in January and even before that. I have made mood boards, have had mock trials, and have changed my mind on the look many times. I want the final look to be something I am totally confident in and passionate about. I think you need to be 100% into something for you to do the best at it. I also want to stay away for doing things that have been done in the past or that is expected from the winner. I want it to be different and unique.

LaFemina: As I prepare for BOTB, I have been doing a ton of research on my subject as well as styles of make-up from all over the world. I began with a fun/stressful trip to The Met to decide what part of the world I would be concentrating on for my makeup. There were so many wonderful pieces that I was flooded with amazing ideas. I was a little torn at first as to what part of the world I would be concentrating on, until I saw something in a store window that I took as a sign. It was perfect! Like a sign from the Universe that this was what I am meant to do.

How do you think winning Battle of the Brushes helps make-up artists in the long run?

Rachel: Battle of the Brushes is a great way for new artists to get out there. The competition helps in the long run by opening up opportunities for the artists that otherwise would take years to build up to.

Noriega: Winning in Battle of the Brushes helps in the long run and not just because you are exposing your work in the industry to makeup artists who can get in connect you to bigger job opportunities, but it challenges you to push yourself , grow and be better at what you do, and inspires people. When I watched past competitions, I see people who are just like me.

Buccina: I think winning Battle of the Brushes would help me to work better under pressure, with time management skills, concept development and hopefully it will gain me recognition from potential employers as well as role models.

Kafei: I would be so honored to win! It would be something I will remember forever and a great stepping stone for me. I will hopefully make a few connections that will open doors to bigger and better things in the future.

Nowak: Winning Battle of the Brushes is such an incredible prospect because of the experience and exposure it entails above all else. Competing alone is an opportunity to break out the big guns and show professionals, amateurs, and ourselves who we are as artists and what we can accomplish under pressure. Winning is essentially an endorsement from the people we admire, a stamp of affirmation that we know what we’re doing and we do it well. Success in this industry is all about networking, and earning first place in Battle of the Brushes is a great way to make valuable connections that will inform the trajectory of the future.

LaFemina: I’m so excited for IMATS knowing that it will be great exposure for my work. People in the industry that I might never have had the chance to meet otherwise, are going to be seeing my work which is the most exciting part about competing. It’s going to be a great experience.

Everyone at MUD wishes all of our grads the best of luck in the competition.

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May the best brush win!


Below is a full list of competitors, their campus, their category and their Instagram: 

Brittany Rose LaFemina, MUD Studio NY, Beauty/Fantasy

Shideh Kafei, MUD Studio NY, Beauty/Fantasy

Lacey Buccina, MUD Studio LA, Beauty/Fantasy

Kunduz Duishenbaeua, MUD Studio NY, Character/Prosthetic

Korbyn Rachel, MUD Studio NY, Character/Prosthetic

Chelsea Nowak, MUD Studio NY, Character/Prosthetic

Crystal Gomez, MUD Studio LA, Character/Prosthetic

Jerry Noriega, MUD Studio LA, Character/Prosthetic


MUD Talks: Stefan Kapicic



In addition to receiving an educated approach to make-up, students at MUD Make-Up Designory have the honor of hearing amazing guest speakers weekly. From award-winning make-up artists, to directors, to actors, MUD makes sure their students have a 360-degree understanding of the industry that they’ve made their passion.

When students are just starting out in the industry, it’s potentially intimidating or overwhelming to go from being in the classroom to being on set. Stefan did an incredible job of showing the students that actors are just like they are — somebody who took a chance and followed their passion.

Stefan is probably best known for his work as Colossus in Deadpool, a role which he says was like, “my inner child got the Academy Award.”

sk3Stefan speaking to students at MUD.

No stranger to make-up, Stefan, who got his start as a theater actor, knows just how magical the craft truly is. “Make-up makes your character more beautiful, more crazy, whatever! That’s the power.” When asked what make-up means to him, Stefan’s response was simple: Everything. 

He also threw in a nod to his Deadpool co-star, Ryan Reynolds, joking about how the film’s make-up department should have been nominated for an Oscar for making an “extremely attractive guy” into the “avocado” known as Wade Wilson. The comic book aficionado congratulated Suicide Squad on their Oscar win.

20th Century Fox Presents the New York Fan Event for Stefan and the cast of Deadpool at the premiere.

During our guest speaker chats, MUD makes sure to livestream on both Instagram and Facebook for viewers who can’t make it to campus. Got a question? Great! If you post it in the comments, we’ll ask it! Speaking of, Stefan added how he likes to chat it up with his make-up artists while he’s in their chair and added that “silence is creepy.”

After he finished speaking and answering questions from the students, Stefan stayed on the MUD campus for a bit taking photos and even speaking for a student’s podcast!

Thank you for taking the time to come to campus and speak with our students, Stefan! It was great to learn about the industry through an actor’s eyes. We know the students were inspired to keep following their passion and become the make-up artists they were born to be and in the words of Colossus, “four or five moments, that’s all it takes…”

Want to see our full interview with Stefan? No problem. Check it out here.
In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at some behind the scenes action with Stefan:

Graduate Spotlight: Natalia Caronna

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We recently had the chance to snag recent Los Angeles campus graduate, Natalia Caronna and chat about her life before MUD, at MUD and after MUD. From an infatuation with make-up at an early age to an insanely successful recent month in her career, we follow Natalia on her journey as an aspiring make-up artist.

MUD: Tell us a little bit about your background. Where are you from? What did you want to be when you grew up? What led you to MUD?
Natalia: I’m from Palm Springs, CA — born and raised. I grew up competing in dance (started dancing when I was 3 and I started competing when I was 8 and stopped when I was 18) and I was always in a full face of make-up. I always loved make-up and was sad when it was time to take it off. I was fascinated by it. When it came time to choose my major in college, I chose film. I knew that I wanted to pursue any job within TV/Film. Make-up didn’t reveal itself to me until after I graduated college when I started working as a PA at a big reality show production company. I was working insane hours for next to no money and hating life. One day, as I was helping the make-up artist on a Lifetime shoot set up her station, I paused and observed her. She was overjoyed doing her job. She had such a light about her. At the end of the shoot, I asked her what I needed to do to pursue make-up professionally. She told me that if I was at all interested/passionate about this field, I should check out MUD Make-up Designory and get started ASAP. And I did…I was enrolled in the master program about a month later.

MUD: What are you doing now? 
Natalia: Now I’m freelancing and living in Hollywood! I’ve had an insanely successful month — I’m still reeling! I’ve had very steady work ever since graduating MUD, thankfully — mostly department heading short films and low budget gigs. However, in December, I shot my first commercial with Moet Chandon champagne! Then, two weeks ago I worked on a huge summer blockbuster sci-fi film. Additionally, a few days after that, I worked on a commercial for ESPN, and the following week I worked on a Comedy Central show produced by Happy Madison Productions (Adam Sandler’s production company)! I’ve been busier than ever and loving every second of it.

Natalia along with the rest of the make-up, hair and wardrobe team with Charlie Sheen.

MUD: What did you do RIGHT after you left MUD?
Natalia: Right after MUD, I started working on low budget gigs. I also started working at Frends and networked my tush off!

MUD: What do you remember most vividly about your time at MUD?
Natalia: There’s so much to remember…the most overwhelming memory that floods my brain every time I go back and visit are the smells! The smell of foam latex coming from the lab, the smell of hallway, and the hum of the hairdryers! I remember the early mornings and always feeling welcome at MUD. I was always greeted with sleepy smiles and hugs from my classmates.

MUD: Do you/will you stay in touch with the friends you made at MUD? Why do you think that is important in your line of work?
Natalia: I have definitely stayed in touch with a handful of my classmates from MUD! It’s imperative to keep those connections going long after graduation. You never know who is going to make it big and ask you to come along for the ride.

MUD: Tell me about your best day at MUD!
Natalia: It was the day of the gelatin prosthetic test and it was also my birthday! I was 80% confident going into the test but there was still that 20% looming over my head. I completed the test and looked around at everyone’s work. I wasn’t sure how I would do when it came time to grading. The highest test grade of the day would also win a massive eyeshadow palette that I obviously wanted desperately for my kit! The pressure was on. The grades were in. The class waited in silence for the name to be read. I got the highest grade! I was ecstatic, I remember feeling so validated.


Natalia with one of her creations at Scare LA.

MUD: What are some lessons you learned at MUD that you think will be most beneficial in the real world?
Natalia: Speak up! Freelancers get jobs by being fearless and outspoken. Give out your card. Talk to the producer/director even though it’s scary. Say yes to everything. Don’t ever think you’re above any gig. Assist everyone. Be kind, fast, and efficient. Make friends with as many people as you can on set and stay in touch with them. Know your place on a set and be respectful.

Natalia with the rest of the make-up, hair and wardrobe team with Nick Swardson and Simon Rex at Sony Studios.

MUD: Would you have done anything about your time at MUD differently?
Natalia: I definitely would have gone to more of the speakers at MUD. GO TO ALL OF THEM. Network!!!!

MUD: Do you have any words of encouragement for those considering applying to MUD?
Natalia: If make-up is something that you’re truly passionate about, go for it all the way. Yes, it is a scary career path at times, but I promise you, everything in life worth pursuing is going to scare you to death. Be OK with that feeling, let it motivate you. The second you stop getting butterflies in your stomach over your career, is when you’ve stopped caring. I get nervous before EVERY gig, even though I know I’ve been well trained and have nothing to worry about.


Amazing work by Natalia in this ode to a Game of Thrones scene for a client.

MUD: Lastly, what advice to you have for today’s MUD students?
Natalia: TAKE LOTS OF NOTES IN CLASS. Don’t miss classes. Ever. Practice, practice, practice. Even when you think you have that bald cap application nailed, do it 20 more times. Commit every technique to muscle memory so that when you step on a set you don’t have to think twice about what you’re doing. Your body will automatically do it for you. Don’t get frustrated when something doesn’t come as naturally as you thought it would. Don’t give up on it, just channel all of that frustrated energy into motivating energy. You. Can. Do. Those. Fingerwaves. And that perfect winged liner. And those seamless prosthetic edges. Get in there and make it happen. Your time at MUD will fly by much faster than you think. Take it all in. Make friends and WORK HARD.

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us, Natalia! We wish you continued success for many, many, many years to come!

To follow Natalia’s journey or to learn more about her work, please check out:
Natalia’s Site 
Natalia’s Instagram