10 questions with Thee Makeup Girl

The local makeup artist known for her wedding services and SFX work discusses her career in Sacramento — and why this year is likely her last for “31 Days of Halloween.”

A ghost-like woman in blue modeled after the character in "Corpse Bride"

Every day in October, Haley shares designs like this take on “Corpse Bride” to her Instagram.

We asked Thee Makeup Girl — aka Haley Purser — 10 questions about her work and life in Sacramento. Keep reading to find out what she loves about the River City, and why this year will be the last iteration of her annual “31 Days of Halloween” celebration. (Read time: 4 minutes.)

Q: Your makeup work has been featured in regional weddings magazines and you’ve made appearances on several local news shows. Can you talk about what it’s like to be a makeup artist in Sacramento?
A: Sacramento is like a big little city, a miniature LA or San Francisco. I’ve become friends with a lot of people I’ve worked with and have gained a lot of clients through word of mouth. Getting connected in the community and trying to make as many positive connections as possible — Sacramento is great for that.

A woman puts makeup on a bride

Haley is known for her bridal services and special effects makeup.

When I first started, I did a lot of salon work and weddings. I actually moved to LA for a little bit and got into the movie scene and commercial work there. When I came back to Sac, I got more opportunities to do that as well. I feel like Sacramento has a lot of art and focuses on that, so I have gotten to do a lot of artsy stuff as well, like fashion work and special effects, especially every October.

Q: Can you tell us about the inspiration for your popular “31 Days of Halloween” project, which you use to share both spooky and pop-culture designs every day in October?
A: To get into the spirit of Halloween — it’s my favorite holiday and it’s a great way to show my range of work. Also, Halloween as a kid was so big, and now as I’ve gotten older, I feel like there’s less people dressing up. I’ve wanted to help get people back into the spirit of that. However, this year is going to be my last doing all 31 days — so I wanted to go out with a bang by producing a short film. I’m really excited with how it turned out and [me and my team of local collaborators in Warren Cain Pictures and Evangeline’s Costume Mansion] are going to submit it to a couple different film festivals.

A female character with petrified skin, black hair, and lips sewn together

Billy Butcherson from “Hocus Pocus”

Q: What’s your favorite Halloween-related event or activity to do in Sacramento?
A: Before the pandemic, I would always go to Old Sacramento for its Crawloween pub crawl.

Q: What’s your favorite Sacramento treat for the fall season?
A: That’s a good question. I do like Temple. I do like Babes. I would say one of the donuts from Babes is my pick.

Q: Describe your perfect day in Sacramento in the length of a Tweet (280 characters).
A: I would go for a walk through Midtown, pick up a coffee from Temple, see a movie by myself at Tower Theatre, and then I would end the night at Saigon Alley for dinner.

A woman with makeup inspired by the "Little Mermaid"

Haley told us this “Little Mermaid” design is one of her favorite creations.

Q: Name 3-5 other local leaders, influencers, or movers + shakers you’re watching.
A: I would love to do more work at the Golden 1 Center with the Kings players or dancers. I would love to work with Lisa Gonzales from KCRA and Julissa Ortiz from Good Day Sacramento. I would love to be doing more with the community and with the people who are putting themselves out there.

Q: You can only choose one local restaurant menu to bring with you to a deserted island — which one is it and why?
A: Saigon Alley’s plant-based menu — I love their vegan pho and tofu and string beans.

A woman that appears to have carved into her own skin with blood visible

A different kind of jack-o'-lantern

Q: What were the last three things you did locally?
A: I did go to a farmer’s market — the Saturday morning one. For one of my friend’s birthdays a couple weeks ago, I did the Sac Brew Boat for the first time, and I went to a River Cats game over the summer.

Q: What’s something that every Sacramentan should know about?
A: There’s things that I feel like only locals should know. I don’t want people to know [laughs]. I do like going to Paradise Beach, the Sacramento Gem Fair that comes twice a year to the Scottish Rite Center near Sac State, and B Street Theatre. I feel like Sacramento theater is slept on and that there’s a lot of talented people.

A robed, skeletal figure rides a horse with a scythe

A still from Haley’s short film promoting “31 Days of Halloween”

Photo by @theemakeupgirl

Q: What do you think Sac will be known for in 10 years?
A: Either the food still or music. The music scene has definitely increased. The Golden 1 Center has a lot of big names coming through and even the smaller venues as well. But then, the food: I mean, we have some of the best food, I swear. There’s always a new restaurant, and the food trucks and street fairs do really well, too.

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