The Transformational Power of Empire Makeup Artist Karen Lynn Accattato

“Transformation literally means going beyond your form.” -Wayne Dyer
Karen Lynn Accattato, Empire’s head makeup artist, is an expert in storytelling.  She approaches her craft as creative collaboration to interpret story through skin.  This approach was used to transform Jamal Lyon from a struggling artist in the show’s first season to one of the most successful artist in the world.
Jamal now sports facial hair and he no longer shaves his head.  Jamal’s beard represents his dominance of the music industry and Accattato’s ability to transform actors to suit their roles.
Jamal Lyon
Jamal Lyon

When you are a good storyteller listeners don’t ask questions as they are often far too entertained.  This is certainly the case with Jamal Lyon who was broke one short season ago and now he is Pepsi’s leading man.  The visual image that Accattato creates mesmerizes forcing them to fall in love with the show’s storyline.

You cannot replace experience with talent.  Accattato has over 30 years of experience and has worked with everyone from Jamie Foxx to President Barak Obama.

A photo posted by Karenlynn (@karenlynnmakeup) on Feb 3, 2015 at 9:15pm PST

Experience makes experts.  At the Golden Globes, Empire star Taraji P. Henson had to remind the teleprompter that she was an expert as she refused to cut her acceptance speech short.

Accattato has used her expertise on Henson’s character Cookie Lyon who has transformed from an inmate with no makeup to a diva who loved to show off her over the top eyelashes and that bold lipstick.  
The second season of Empire introduced us to yet another Cookie Lyon: While the CEO of Lyon Dynasty has not worn as much animal print we have seen more color in her hair and makeup enhancing her powerful personality.

Cookie Lyon
Cookie Lyon

We saw Cookie’s hood side in her epic cat fight with Anika.  Empire creator Lee Daniels says that Anika’s makeup must always be flawless and Accattato has delivered nothing less.  Anika’s makeup is so perfect that fans have bombarded her demanding details on the cosmetics she uses to tell the story of Anika Calhoun.

Anika Calhoun
Anika Calhoun

While Anika’s makeup is flawless, the issues she’s dealing with on the show have led many fans to conclude that she pushed Rhonda!?  

As Accattato used makeup to enhance Anika’s traumatic experiences she transformed Rhonda into an expecting mother with a 60s modern day look.

Rhonda Lyon
Rhonda Lyon

For Rhonda’s husband Andre, Accattato prioritizes authenticity.  Men typically do not wear makeup in real life therefore she does not use makeup on the show’s male actors.

Accattato’s experience has taught her how important it is to use the right products to accomplish a desired look.  The talented artist uses Dove Men+Care Sensitive Wash on the guys as oppose to makeup.

Andre Lyon
Andre Lyon

Empire’s second season began with Andre struggling to get back into his father’s good graces as Lucious is experiencing problems of his own.  In Empire’s initial season Lucious has a head full of hair and he always looks flawless.  Accattato transforms Lucious into a man on a mission.
Jamal Lyon
Lucious Lyon

Lucious’ shaved head symbolizes his aggression and toughness as he attempts to regain control of Empire, the company that was taken from him by his son Hakeem.  Similar to his father Hakeem loves hip-hop.  Accattato uses an old-school ’80s look on Hakeem including a slice in his eyebrow.

Hakeem Lyon
Hakeem Lyon

Karen Lynn Accattato will continue to work intimately with our favorite Empire stars, transforming their captivating journeys through her skillful storytelling capabilities.

By Jason John

Jason John is based in Maryland and covers Empire BBK’s News and Entertainment. He was previously a producer for the mobile site, helping to present Empire BBK’s news report to readers. More