This week we chatted with Bria Danielle Dorsen, an actress, makeup artist, and artist based out of Los Angeles. In the latest installment of our interview series, Bria discusses growing up in Minneapolis, working as a makeup artist, and the television shows she’d love to work on.
Twenty Two: Let’s start with the basics. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Bria: My name is Bria Danielle Dorsen. I live in Los Angeles, but I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I am kind of a Minngelino. I was raised in a pretty bohemian family. My parents are both kind of rebels of convention. That spirit has always ran with me. For that reason, it has taken me a long time to figure out what realm I want to be in, creatively speaking! I know I have always wanted to express; through acting and performing, and also through my fingers with drawing, collage, and working professionally as a makeup artist.
Twenty Two: Have you always been interested in acting?
Bria: I think I always have. My mom believed in dress-up trunks. So, as a kid, my sisters and I went downstairs, opened up the trunk, put on the clothes, and became other people. Acting is really just playing pretend. I also think it was a bit easier back then. We weren’t distracted by computers. My dad always thought (and thinks) too much T.V. makes you stupid. I kind of agree, although HBO is pretty remarkable these days. I have always been infatuated with the movies. I even wrote movie reviews for the video store. Because of this introduction to the dress-up trunk, my sisters and I put on plays in our living room and on the street. I loved becoming other people. I still do!
Twenty Two: In addition to being an actress, you’re also an accomplished makeup artist. How do you differentiate your work from that of other makeup artists?
Bria: I think I have a pretty good understanding of what it takes to make an actor or a model comfortable, which is very essential. Working on set as a makeup artist and being a part of the crew is very different from being in front of the lens. The art of it and the vocation is somewhat under-appreciated, which is why I like to call it “painting faces.” It’s an art form. I have found that holding the brush is both humbling and powerful. The pride that arises in seeing your work on someone else’s face is very cool. Yet being a makeup artist is a quiet kind of excitement, a very different kind of performing. I think it’s unique that I also know what it takes to be the other side, not many makeup artists do.
Twenty Two: Which projects are you most proud of?
Bria: I truly try to take pride in all of my work, with dedication and enthusiasm. Being proud of what we do is pertinent.
Twenty Two: Where do you find your inspiration?
Bria: In my daily life. My love. In my muses. Books. Making art. In the movies and the many artists that make things. In god and the great spirit. In magic.
Twenty Two: Can you describe your typical day?
Bria: I try to do one thing (at least) every day for my creative work. I think every day changes for me, it’s hard to define what’s typical. Some days it’s makeup. Some days it’s acting. Sometimes both. I have become very good at juggling! I try to rise early, exercise and get good rest. It is important to take care of our bodies. I try to be very mindful of that.
Twenty Two: Is there a particular role you’d like to play or actor you’d like to work with?
Bria: A new friend of mine Sophia Takal, is very inspiring to me. She is a very unique and serious filmmaker, and her fiancé Larry is also phenomenal. Their work together is so fresh. It would be dope to make something with them at some point. Either in front or behind the camera, or both!
In regards to specific roles I would like to play, I am not sure. I think there are many. Woody Allen’s work is very close to my heart. To work with him would be beyond comprehension. In a similar vein as well, there’s so much good television going on right now. Working on Girls, Homeland, New Girl, or Mad Men would be a dream. Claire Danes has always been one of my heroes. There are so many wonderful people in my presence, both who I know, and don’t know that I would love to collaborate with.
Twenty Two: How has growing up in Minneapolis and living in Los Angeles influenced your work?
Bria: In some ways I have very much grown up in both. Being first and foremost raised in the Midwest was very beautiful for me. It was a time before cell phones and the internet. It was green and full of real genuine magic. A love of family.
Living in LA as long as I have, I think I have definitely found a personal groove. I love the space I have to create here, and the close proximity of the canyons to the ocean. LA’s cultural diversity is important to me. I like the melting pot-ness. Very similar to NY. I think I love big cities. The art world here is very relevant, in my opinion. And if you want to do something interesting, there is so much to get into – it’s insane! I enjoy that. I also love the people that are from here. They get a bad rap, which is bullshit. They are tough as nails and nothing really fazes them. You gotta respect that. Although it can be lonely and harsh, this city has made me tough. Going through hard times in this place, and coming out of them is powerful. I think of New York in a very similar way. Living there is a very similar energy. It’s challenging! The dream would be to live bi-coastal, with maybe a lake house in Minnesota and a beach house in Hawai’i.
Twenty Two: When you’re not working, how do you spend your time?
Bria: One of the downsides to LA is the driving. We all spend a lot of time doing that regardless of work. A year ago, I was in a car accident that totaled my ‘85 Volvo and broke my hand. Car-less for months and months, I spent a lot of time on foot in LA (and on the bus). Couldn’t do makeup. Couldn’t do much! I went through the looking glass and it changed me forever. Public transit in LA does not compare to NY. It’s something that could be improved upon here very much! I’m planning on getting into some volunteering this summer. I think it’s time to give back a little in my free time now that I have both hands again.
Twenty Two: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Bria: Art in all forms. I always aim for the unexpected.
Twenty Two: Do you have any advice for aspiring actresses or makeup artists?
Bria: Never give up.
Click on the images below to see more of Bria’s work as a makeup artist, courtesy of her Model Mayhem profile.
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