Graduate Spotlight: Angel Radefeld-Wright

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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.

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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.)

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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!

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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