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Mia Yoshimoto

Completing the Story

by Megan DeWeerdt

The perfect high C gives us chills, and choreographed numbers make us stand and applaud, but they would pale without the full illusion of the production. Soliloquies reveal the heart of a character, but the outer appearance completes the tale. Each scar, tattoo, and freckle gives added life to the story. Every curl must be perfectly placed, each eyebrow perfectly traced. Faux wrinkles, faux beards, flawless skin. Colors that are strong enough for the back row yet soft enough for the front row. Hair that stays put, act after act. Makeup that won’t smear tear after tear. Each story, each character, perfectly thought out.

Hair and makeup design requires a sleek stubbornness. A good designer has to collaborate with each person in a production, but not yield to the elements of the stage. A great designer does not only that, but also delves deep into the story to find every detail of each character.

In walks Mia Yoshimoto.

When Mia’s second grade teacher told her she would never be an artist, she threw her hands up and said “Guess I have to be an artist now!” Albeit a shy child, she had a stubbornness and a drive from an early age.

Once Mia found the artistic path, she stuck to it. That path led her to a place so many of us treasure—high school theatre. There she was able to not only show off her artistic talents but also collaborate with others that shared similar gifts. She was hooked by the thrill of the stage.

Shyness kept her from enjoying the spotlight herself, but she soon learned to appreciate that shyness as a gift. The ability to quiet yourself and observe the world around you makes a great storyteller.

Mia took her artistic talents, her observational skills and her stubborn drive to the makeup chair where she could have a hands-on impact on each story told on stage.

But it wasn’t always an easy path. Mia began her adult life as an administrative assistant. Sitting at a desk day after day, Mia yearned for the fast-paced life of theatre production. So, leaving her stable, uneventful job behind, she jumped into the unknown. The truly unknown. When Mia first began doing Hair and Makeup Design, she’d never even done makeup on herself, let alone another person. But her drive kept her going.

Through studying cosmetology at Honolulu Community College and an apprenticeship, Mia learned the ins and outs of the beauty world. She learned how to collaborate with each person on and behind stage to create a look for a character. She learned to tell a story with a makeup brush and a wig.

But what she did not expect to learn about was herself. With each production, Mia gained confidence in herself. She learned to listen to others and to listen to her own inner voice. She honed her patience and communicating skills, knowing that each production is a team effort.

With seven years’ experience under her belt, Mia is using her craft at the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival and other theatres on Oahu. She loves the fast-paced life, the camaraderie with the actors and the production team, and the ability to fully complete a story on stage.

And it doesn’t stop there. Mia challenges herself daily to be the very best at her craft. Whether she’s turning a fifteen-year-old high school student into Polonius or hand weaving a wig or beard, Mia is still that stubborn kid that wanted to prove her teacher wrong.

Mia is ecstatic to have a continued relationship with the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival where she can use all of her talents and enjoy the energy of a theatre production. She loves the flow of shows and how there is always another one right around the corner. She loves period pieces where she can research and immerse herself fully in a setting. She loves working with all different ages and characters.

But if you want to know what she really loves most, it’s doing eyebrows. And it makes sense. If eyes are the windows to the soul, then eyebrows are the window frame.

With every retelling of Shakespeare’s works, the actors, the costumer, the director, etc. all pour their souls into the story. But it is not until Mia works her magic that the story is complete. Mia sculpts the final look of the production. She adds that last polished touch. With a swift stroke of a brush, Mia completes the story.