We conclude our Ted Lasso below-the-line trilogy by speaking to Nicky Austin, the show’s lead Makeup Designer and Hairstylist, who is up for one of the show’s 20 Emmy nominations this year — the same total as last year, by the way.
Ted Lasso follows an American football coach (Jason Sudeikis) who scores a job overseas coaching the English soccer team AFC Richmond, which is owned by Rebecca Walton (Hannah Waddingham), and led by star players Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) and Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster). The cast also includes Nick Mohammed as manager-turned-coach Nathan Shelley; Jeremy Swift as team executive Higgins; James Lance as sportswriter Trent Crimm; and Brendan Hunt as Coach Beard. Sudeikis and Hunt developed the series with Bill Lawrence and Joe Kelly.
Earlier today, we spoke to Sound Mixers Ryan Kennedy and Sean Byrne as well as Sound Editors Brent Findley and Bernard Weiser, and for our final Ted Lasso interview, we move away from the show’s audio components and focus on its visuals — specifically, the hair and makeup work on the characters. Below the Line spoke to Nicky Austin, who discussed her Emmy nomination for Episode 10 of Season 2 titled “No Weddings and a Funeral,” for which the cast got all glammed up for Rebecca’s father’s funeral.
Here’s what Austin had to say about working on the beloved series, which Apple TV+ has already renewed for a third season…
Below the Line: Congrats on your Emmy nomination! Did you ever think you’d be in this position when you first started on this show?
Nicky Austin: Absolutely not. It was a new series. Most of us have been in it since the beginning, we had the pilot and [the] NBC commercial, but we did not know what to expect. Of course, we had a good feeling with Jason, [who’s] brilliant, and Bill Lawrence and the writers behind us, too. So, to be honest, when we hit the first set for the first time, then we felt like it could be special, like there could be a little bit of magic.
BTL: How did you get involved?
Austin: They wanted it to be authentic and so because it revolves around the team FC Richmond, they hired a local producer in London. I had worked with her before and she called me and said: ‘I’m doing this little comedy.’ That was very funny. I’ve known her for years and she’s a friend of mine by the way. I had just had my second child and wanted to break back in with a nice, little easy show. And then she goes, ‘Maybe I should have mentioned, it’s Warner Bros.’ new series and will be streaming on Apple TV and stars Jason Sudeikis.’ So that was not a little job, but it was an amazing job! Three years later, it has changed my life.
BTL: How did you come up with style ideas for some of the characters?
Austin: Ted was established from the NBC commercial. So for my initial pitch, I said, ‘we don’t want to mess with him too much.’ We streamlined him a bit, but that was it. But for the others, I had a lot of ideas. And they were not cast. So for Rebecca, I had ideas, and when they cast Hannah, it was like they read my mind. She was the woman in my presentation. Glamorous, perfectly blond hair. It was also collaborative with the ideas Jason had.
In my head, Rebecca, firstly, would have war paint on. In the pilot episode and Season 1, she was a bit beat up. She had broken up with her husband, he had cheated on her. I wanted her to be ready to go to war in such a male-dominated environment, like Premier League. So she was to be ready for battle. She had to be looking perfect in that sense. Hannah walks in and she’s 99 percent there, to be honest. I had to tone myself down. If you put any little bit on Hannah, she looks like she just walked out of a salon, as she’s so naturally stunning. I lucked out with her and the rest.
BTL: Does she have extensions or were those mostly used on Juno Temple’s Keeley?
Austin: Season 1, nothing at all. Season 2, not length extensions, but just a little more volume to differentiate her. She was in the dating game, I knew she was going to start seeing Sam. I didn’t want to make her look unnatural, so only when her head is down, to see a little more.
Of course, Juno’s character, Keeley, is totally different. She is proud of how much she has. And I am Juno’s personal [stylist], by the way, (and Jason’s, too). She’s really done up and has a lot of extensions, [and] it’s a mission of mine to make her seem like she’s all there.
BTL: And what were you trying to do with Jamie, the soccer player who is really cool and into himself and his looks?
Austin: Jamie is a character I really wanted to focus on. I instantly felt like he was going to be misread. People were going to think he was a wanker — and they did. But I knew there was something deeper, his family history, etc. So the initial look was based on Cristiano Ronaldo and that hit home for me, but later in the season, I changed him to a separate Ronaldo look. And I thought, ‘Oh, now he looks like [an even] bigger wanker.’ It was fine, he deserved it. So in Season 2, we based him on Jack Grealish, a big Premier League player that plays for England. He has this crazy fade-in massive hair, and he wears a headband. It mixes well with his outlandish costumes, but I also designed his tattoo sleeves. The idea was to make Jamie Tartt look more like a tart.
BTL: What about James Lance’s reporter character, Trent Crimm?
Austin: Oh I love him, we call him Jimmy. He has so much hair. And he flicks it in between each take, and we have continuity problems, so I come in and give it some damp down.
Another one I like is Nick Mohammed. He comes [into his own] mid-Season 2 [and] I’m so proud of his transformation. It was Jason’s idea to grey him out as he transitions to the dark side. And my makeup artist did a great job greying him out as he gets angrier, and then that final shot as his hair has gone white and his eyes black. It was a great way to tell the story and I’m excited for him in Season 3.
BTL: Now you have to tell us something about Season 3!
Austin: You want to get me in trouble! It’s very good. It’s the Ted that everyone wants and that everybody loves. There are a lot of Easter eggs. You’ll say, ‘oh, that tracks back to that.’ The writing is so clever. I think people will really enjoy it. I know people are desperate to see it now, but it’s worth the wait.
BTL: What is the most challenging part of doing the show, as well as your favorite part?
Austin: The cast is big. Trying to make them look different. They’re millionaire footballers and in real life, they really go to the barber every other day. And we have a diverse cast. We have to make people look different and interesting.
My favorite part is Jason. He has makeup and when he is in my chair, I just enjoy it, watching that transformation. Ted appears and it’s about 25 minutes on the chair, but those are my favorite of the day. If the mustache is trimmed, it’s 25 minutes. If not, it’s a bit longer. He’s good about trimming, but sometimes I have to stop him. I also cut his hair.
BTL: What does it feel like to be nominated for an Emmy for your work on this show?
Austin: Surreal. I was out on holiday with my boyfriend and I was scrolling to see who [was nominated[ and I did not imagine it would be my department, and then I got a message from someone in the cast saying “Congratulations.” I was in Turkey and it was just fantastic. I called my mom. I texted Jason, Brendan, and also Juno Temple. We were so excited. 20 is such an honor again! We were all at work earlier today and had a look at each other wondering how this happened.
BTL: Thank you again for your time, and best of luck at the Emmys!
Both seasons of Ted Lasso are now streaming on Apple TV+, which has not announced a release date for Season 3.