By Andeen Rose
Behind the Beauty: Artist Meghann Mason Wig Master for Cirque du Soleil’s KÀ
The talented and creative Meghann Mason, one of two wig masters for Cirque du Soleil’s “KÀ,” was born and raised in the small, rural town of Huffman, Texas. As she grew up, her mother took her and her twin brother to museums, taught them about art, and traveled with them to learn about different places and cultures.
Las Vegas Woman: When did you realize you wanted to become an artist?
Meghann Mason: I was always doing friends’ makeup, and I watched old films and host photo shoots. However, I wanted to be an actress.
While earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Houston, my mentor Clare Marie told me about a position with Theatre Under the Stars in Houston and trained me for that first wig job. I began working with the theater company prepping wigs for $12 an hour. That was a lot of money back in the late ’90s. Clare Marie guided me, and I soon realized I had a natural talent for makeup and wigs.
Once I graduated, with the support of my family, I packed my bags and, with my dad, we drove to Los Angeles, where I found an acting agent and attended the prestigious Westmore Academy of Cosmetic Arts. While pursuing my acting career, I did odd jobs with makeup and my career began. Being a broke actor, I realized quickly I needed to work in an environment that afforded me the luxury of my pretty blond hair. So, I worked in a salon and learned, with the help of other artists, how to style, braid and curl hair mainly for my own benefit. This translated well into styling hair for shoots and films. Transferring those skills, I began freelancing more.
LVW: How did you get involved with Cirque du Soleil?
MM: After moving back to Houston and going forward, I was lucky enough to meet Rueben who, at the time, was head of the wardrobe department at Cirque du Soleil’s “KÀ”. He told me I should apply for a job, although hair and makeup people seldom leave Cirque. A month later I was told a position had opened up with Cirque du Soleil for “KÀ” and I applied. I was offered the job and, with reservation, I moved to Las Vegas eight years ago. The Cirque team has become my extended family and helped to guide me into my new life in the wig and makeup world of art and fantasy. Working with “KÀ” for almost eight years has been an amazing journey, and knowing that some of the wigs cost up to and around $8,000, the care and maintenance of them are of great importance.
LVW: What projects are you currently working on?
MM: With the vision of Erica Linz and not having the huge financial resources, we decided to put together a motley crew of artists and performers for the first Circus Couture in 2010. Circus Couture is a Las Vegas-based charity raising money for pediatric cancer treatment and research through exciting circus, fashion and arts. Other than a little overhead, all proceeds go straight to the charity to help raise money for pediatric cancer. We are hoping to break the $1 million mark in October.
In 2008, Kelsey Husch and I started working together at Cirque and we hit it off immediately. While building my network I asked if she wanted to work on different projects and she said yes. We soon realized that we worked really well together. Because of our amazing projects, Kelsey and I created the Academy of Makeup and Wig Design. We officially opened last year and offer classes in Las Vegas. We hope to have our own building and full-time classes soon. It is important to have a well-rounded education.
LVW: What would you consider one of the most valuable assets in your career?
MM: The book “Stage Costume Design: Theory, Technique and Style” by Douglas Russell. My book is marked, highlighted and dog-eared, and this edition isn’t even printed anymore.
LVW: Who is your biggest inspiration?
MM: My parents, for several reasons: They are yin and yang for one another. My dad is laid back, relaxed and has jokes for days, and my mom gets it done and is wonderfully compassionate. They have been married for 42 years, and to see that is possible today is such a big inspiration. Their unwavering support of my career and always being my biggest champions is so amazing. I love being around them.
LVW: What are three words you would use to describe you and why?
MM: Tenacious. I have always been that way, once I have my mind set–it’s game on.
Kind. There is no reason to be mean even when having a hard conversation. You can always get your points across while still being kind.
Funny. I make people laugh. I really enjoy that, it is one of my stronger personality traits; I get that from my dad.
LVW: What is a must-have in your kit?
MM: Crown Brushes—those brushes are amazing.
LVW: What is your motto for success?
MM: I want to make a mark in the world that isn’t just about me, but also to leave a legacy through my colleagues and students that they are inspired and inspiring. Just keep trying, even if someone tells you no, work hard, and again, be nice and genuine.
Behind the Beauty is a column featuring artists that have inspired Andeen Rose throughout her career; artists that stay behind the scenes and are dedicated, hardworking and understand what it takes to be the best. They are always willing to go the extra mile, stay late and do whatever it takes to get the job done. They are unwavering in their charitable contributions and rarely are they recognized for their hard work.
Andeen Rose is a celebrity hairstylist, as well as the owner/operator of ADD Hair & Makeup. Her credits have been seen on television, in national publications and featured on red carpets around the world. She has styled Eva Longoria, Kendra Wilkinson-Baskett, Courtney Mazza-Lopez, Hope Solo, Jewel, Audrina Patridge, Nicole Scherzinger and many more, as well as local celebrities and media personalities. Her goal is to create the ultimate beauty experience, and, with her exceptional skills, she can make any vision or dream possible.