Add this to our growing—and ever-endearing—list of Tracee Ellis Ross trivia: the Golden Globe-winning actress, everyone’s Instagram BFF, and social media purveyor of many a fine skincare apparatus was among the first test users of the Beautyblender, the game-changing makeup sponge that is probably sitting pretty in your makeup bag or medicine cabinet right now.
Now, this knowledge has been circulating online for a while, but many were buzzing about the not-so-new revelations this weekend thanks to a recent Insider video featuring Beautyblender creator Rea Ann Silva, who worked as a makeup artist on the set of Girlfriends. The iconic UPN sitcom was the first TV show to be shot in HD, meaning that every spot, pore, or bump was now on full display.
“You saw everything on the skin, as opposed to film, where you blast a lot of light and you wear 5,000 pounds of makeup,” Silva told Insider. Airbrushing was the preferred way to keep actors’ faces flawless, but that required heavy artillery (literally, big ass compressors), which weren’t practical to bring on set, and which could lead to substantial production delays as you pulled actors, one by one, off the set for touch-ups.
So Silva got creative, cutting the corners off triangular makeup sponges to achieve that smooth, airbrushed finish without having to use an actual airbrush. She knew she was on to something big when those improvised instruments she made started disappearing.
“When I realized people were stealing them (from the set), I was like, I have an opportunity here,” she said.
Nearly 20 years after Joan, Maya, Toni, and Lynn showcased their fresh, glowing complexions on television, Silva has created a multimillion dollar beauty empire. Now that is called impact.