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The real reason Bella Thorne does her own movie makeup - Exclusive

Bella Thorne threw fans for a loop when she debuted some killer ink on her Instagram in July 2019. The debate on whether it was real or fake raged on for months when the tattoo kept popping in and out of her photos. Well, the jig's up: Thorne's shoulder and arm ink was fake. It was for her new film Infamous, in which she plays Arielle Summers — one half of a criminal couple who gain social media infamy after committing a series of armed robberies and only grow more disorderly and violent in pursuit of online clout. Now, Thorne has let Looper in on the real reason she does most of her own makeup for movies.

Depending on who you ask, spa days can either be heaven on Earth or the most hellacious experience known to man. Some people just don't like to be touched, so the thought of someone poking and prodding at them during what's supposed to be a pampering session can turn them off. That goes for applying makeup, too. For Thorne's part, she's mostly in the latter camp, as she gets "antsy" and anxious in the makeup chair. 

"In the trailer, luckily I did all my own makeup. I'm really fast in the chair [since] I get really antsy," Thorne told Looper in an exclusive interview when discussing the adhesive tattoo process for her Infamous character. She elaborated, "I get a lot of anxiety, so I can't have people touching me for too long."

Bella Thorne gets by with a little help from her friends

That said, it helps to have experts assist the process. Makeup artists Candie Renee and Krischell Blackwell were there to make sure the application went smoothly. As Thorne told Looper, "Candie and Krischell, they went in on my arm, and they brought it together really fast because, like I said, I'm very antsy. I'm not staying in the chair for very long, and I have to do my makeup anyway."

The intricate tattoo Thorne sports in Infamous may look like it takes a while to apply, but the process doesn't even take a half hour. "I would say it's probably like 20 minutes to put on. We could do it in 20 minutes to put on every day, and you'd just have to keep touching it throughout the day and making sure [it stays dry]," the actress said. "The problem is that you get moist. I wanted to henna the tattoo when we started, but we chose the applicant. But I was thinking, 'What if we got a few touch-ups of henna throughout the filming process?"

Renee later told Looper that some parts of filming occurred in Florida (most took place in Guthrie, Oklahoma and other areas around the state), where the makeup artist wouldn't be on-location to touch-up the design. Thus, they ended up going with the adhesive. While adhesives may look awesome on screen, they can be a pain to deal with when it's hot. Thorne remembered, "It just was, like, on my skin because of the heat. When you're using an adhesive on your skin, the heat re-sticks the glue, and it comes back."

When you add killer outlaw costumes to the mix, things can turn into a disaster. "Your wardrobe is sticking to your tattoo, you've got fluff sticking to your arm, it looks like pieces of your tattoo are coming off on your wardrobe," Thorne said. "It'd be very difficult in the Oklahoma weather. So, that was one that we faced throughout the time that we shot it."

The meaning behind the Infamous ink

Thorne isn't just a force to be reckoned with on camera — she also has an eye for design. The actress planned her Infamous tattoo details with director Joshua Caldwell to hone in on the perfect look for Arielle; tattoo artists Dave and Michael Lukeson designed the final version in just five days. "Josh and I talked about it a lot. We really wanted something that kind of fit her in a time and a place," Thorne said. 

Renee explained in a follow-up with Looper that the design of Arielle's tattoo "is an art-nouveau-neotraditional mashup — a new take on an old-style." The unique medley pays homage to the new-age Bonnie and Clyde feel of the film — which makes sense, given that real-life Bonnie had her and her husband Roy's name tattooed on her right thigh. The toxic couple never divorced before Bonnie's deathly adventure with her new beau, Clyde. (The Dust Bowl scandal!)

Renee continued, "The Stargazer Lilies that tied the two [tattooed] figures together symbolize a youthful, bold, beautiful, and dramatic personality. The secondary meaning of the lilies could be Arielle's longing for prosperity, wealth, and fame." 

The design team meticulously chose each piece of art to construct a cohesive tattoo with meaning to Thorne's character. For the top portion of the tattoo, the team drew inspiration from Alfonse Mucha — the late 1800s Czech painter, whose art has since become a significant influence on the tattoo industry.

"We combined his style in the character's depiction," explained Renee. "Mucha was also often commissioned to design posters for theatrical plays which seemed fitting as this will be a central piece for a film. Mucha celebrated the female form: strong yet feminine." The makeup artist drew a parallel between the Mucha Lady (the top portion) and the Romani head (the bottom part) between Arielle's dueling personalities: "You notice at times, she lets her guard down and is vulnerable, and other times, she is a force that dares to be reckoned with."

Bella Thorne's real tattoos

As Thorne herself has a cornucopia of small tattoos, she and the team wanted to do something a bit different for Arielle's statement piece. "We wanted something specific for her pieces. Because most of my tattoos are just a lot of little different things throughout time that have stuck with me," the actress said. "We wanted to have those in the movie too. I think [Arielle must have] started stick-poke s*** when she was young."

Go up to anyone with tattoos, ask if they want another, and they'll usually come back with about ten half-formed ideas for new ink. But Thorne isn't in any hurry to get tatted again. She reflected during our conversation, "You know, I can always get more, yes. There are always plans for more, but it's not like I'm in a rush to do another tattoo."

Instead of hitting up a shop on Hollywood Boulevard, though, Thorne has a much more personal approach to her tattoo acquisitions: "I know when we usually have a tattoo party, that's usually what we do and link up." She elaborated, "People would come over, and we'd just do tattoos. When we have another one of those in a while, I'll probably get a new one." Next time Thorne has another tattoo party, she knows who to call.

Infamous is available to watch on video on demand platforms now.