HOLLYWOOD: A LAND OF MAGICAL TRANSFORMATIONS

Ava Antilla (tapestry by Finnish Artist Eva Anttila)

By Ava Anttila, Los Angeles

Los Angeles is magical. Here something seems to come from nothing. Imagination defies imagination by defining imagination.

If you can think of it, it is real—or can be made so with the right amount of magic ‘dust’ [sometimes referred to as money] deftly applied!

That is too harsh. While it takes money to make money, in this town there is plenty of that around. The real magic comes from the minds, hearts, talents, and hard work of lots and lots of regular people who spend their days—and nights, making dreams come to life so they can come true.

An idea comes into someone’s head. A script is written, producers line up support, talent is found who know their way around demanding skill-sets in front of and behind the camera, filming takes place with thousands of synchronized details directed seamlessly—or not, with casts and crews of hundreds or even thousands doing their thing, and a movie is born. And, with the help of postproduction talent and skilled ‘flacks’, audiences get to spend their $15 to laugh, cry, shrink in fear, or shout with joy. The best win awards—the rest go straight to video! Supremely talented people surround the magic. This cycle happens all around town, all the time, here in our fair city. We in the Finnish community are lucky to have many of these creatives from our ranks helping make Hollywood the entertainment capital of the world.

The Academy Awards

Judging from all of the air time and ink given to the Awards Season, people are aware of and curious about what happens behind the scenes. The Red Carpet and post-parties have become as big as the Awards themselves. The fashion critiques can be glorious—or they can be brutal. Everything must be perfect! Yet, when the klieg lights go off, these superstars are also real people who wake up in real homes with real children who want a hug before they head off to school.

Gwyneth Paltrow wearing a Ralph Lauren gown

We are all fascinated with transformations, especially with how celebrities get their look. While standing in the supermarket check-out line we secretly check out the tabloids who have their paparazzi with super-long lenses letting us know what movie stars ‘really’ look like when they are not on the red carpet. Some pictures are remarkably unflattering. No wonder reality shows featuring before and after transformations are very popular around the globe.

In some way, in every woman is a little girl dreaming of becoming Cinderella. She dreams of how she would be transformed at the hands of real magicians, be whisked off to the ball, and be admired by all who saw her in all her glory as she floated down the red carpet.

Ahhhh…imagination!!

But, in Hollywood, dreams do come true! My life-long girlie fantasy day came in the heart of the 2012 Award Season. Photographer to the stars, Jonny Kayhlen, offered to do a real, honest to goodness photo shoot with me as the subject—or is it object? Whatever…I was excited. This was going to be fun! Just the anticipation was such a diversion from the business of my everyday, no nonsense, serious life. Now my imagination was cranking up. It is amazing how quickly the mind can rally a lifetime of fantasies and random thoughts into a ‘game plan’.

Ava Antilla and Editor-in- Chief of Finntimes Tomi Hinkkanen

Somehow, it was already in my mind that if and when it was appropriate/possible to have a make-up artist work on me, I wanted it to be Riku Campo, the famous Finn. Riku was the featured make-up artist at the Lumene “Beauty Brunch” at the Finnish Consular residence several years ago.

The Lumene Beauty Brunch at the Consul General's residence in 2009.

When Jonny scheduled my shoot, it was smack-dab in the Awards Season, so it was not likely I was going to be able to get an appointment in Riku’s busy schedule. He returned my call while in the middle of a photo shoot in Malibu. To my surprise, he gave me the good news that he could squeeze me in on the day of my scheduled Jonny shoot. The dream was becoming realty—or was I still asleep?

Riku said his work would take two and a half hours …at least!! My heart sank—I use all of 2 ½ minutes to get ready to go out! I feared that Riku was thinking that so much time was needed just to get a tavallinen pulliainen like me to look halfway decent. I was wrong. Fortunately for my ego—and my girlie fantasy, the artistry involved in getting someone “camera ready” is very time intensive in each case. I can see why Meryl Streep thanked her make-up artist in the first sentence of her Oscar acceptance speech. Their work is so important to a star’s success.

Ava Anttila by Jonny Kahleyn

I found it fascinating–and amazing, to experience first-hand what the stars do to get themselves presentable for the 360 degree angles on the red carpet. Choosing wardrobe and accessories is a major project requiring more time and energy than mere mortals have—to say nothing of the friends who are called in as ‘consultants’! Once you choose the ‘look’, you have to be able to get the zippers and snaps to ‘connect’.

For real stars, the week before Oscars, ten liters of water/no salt/no food diets, detoxifying bodywraps while trampolining, full body spray tans, and strategic taping are de riguer. There are actually “hair rental” places in tinsel town that are frequented at this time of year—gold extensions were big. Some other extreme beauty treatments noted this year included the $7k ground diamond facial used by Mila Kunis (rubies will cost you 10). The Beverly Hills Hotel Spa features a 90 minute white caviar treatment [outside]. I think I’d rather go for the 5 kilo caviar treatment [inside]–shared with 1,500 other guests at the Governor’s Ball catered by Wolfgang Puck and his staff of 350. Our own beautiful and smart actress Anna Easteden’s beauty secret must be her own Finnish sauna. You go girl!

Anna Easteden by Jonny Kahleyn

Anna Easteden by Jonny Kahleyn

It was great to greet Riku at the door on my big morning but, with his many large bags, I thought he might be moving in! Kitchen counters had to be cleared for Riku’s amazing array of beauty products. There were skin colors, eye colors, lip colors, and an amazing collection of eyelashes [the ones he uses for opera singers looked like giant caterpillars]!

Make-up Artist Riku Campo by Jonny Kahleyn

It was fascinating watching him work: standing back, coming in close for a touch here, a dab there. I could not help wondering what he had in mind—and he was working on me! He told me he wanted to make my eyes like Elizabeth Taylor’s (remember Cleopatra?). This was going to be interesting. Turquoise eye shadow, black eyeliner, and, then, the false eyelashes –a first for me. My eyelids felt strangely heavy with my mini-caterpillars, but Riku said I would get used to them. He was right. I even slept in them. I did not want ‘midnight’ to come! I wanted to enjoy my new look and to bat my eyelashes at everyone for another day.

The Photo Shoot

Hollywood photographer Jonny Kayhlen arrived for our session with the Editor-in- Chief of Finntimes, Tomi Hinkkanen. They were greeted by the nervous shoot subject –not quite ready with a head full of rollers. Being new to his surroundings, Jonny investigated shooting locales and lighting opportunities while reviewing wardrobe selections and accessory options. It was fascinating to watch this photographic genius make professional decisions about lighting, camera angles, contrasts and the like.

Ava Antilla by Jonny Kahleyn

Ava Antilla

The shoot was not ‘snap, snap—we’ll be back’! Again, the search for Hollywood perfection took hours: inside, outside, in different rooms, Jonny up and down ladders, clicking away, suggesting emotions and poses. It was awesome just to watch Jonny’s creative juices flowing, getting an idea, calling for the next shot. Riku stayed on for a few makeup touchups. What fun!

Riku Campo and Ava Anttila

The sun began its descent behind the Santa Monica mountains, so a few outside shots were needed before the light was lost. Sohvi koira was curious and, needing attention or wanting to get in on the act, joined the shoot. Jonny captured her in some shots—and made her day, as well. [More dog news to follow.]

Ava Anttila by Jonny Kahleyn

Ava Anttila

What an experience–a long day and hard work for the Master Artists of Hollywood; a ‘bucket list’ dream lived by your girlie scribe who has a new and lasting appreciation for the genius and craft of those who envision, create, and make magical transformations .

Finns and Hollywood Awards

Did you know that our own Erkki Kanto and Kirpi Uimonen Ballesteros are members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), that annually votes for the Golden Globe Awards? There are altogether 85 members in the HFPA.

Kirpi Uimonen Ballesteros, Erkki and Ilona Kanto

We in the Finnish community also get excited about the Oscars, the culmination of the Hollywood Awards Season (in other parts of the country, the season know as Winter). We proudly and fondly remember the Oscar sitting modestly on the mantle at the Finnish Consular Residence. It belonged to then Consul General Jörn Donner. Consul Donner was awarded the Oscar for his work as producer of Fanny and Alexander –the only Oscar won by a Finn to date.

That Oscar was irresistible —to look at, to touch, and to pick up. It is sleek, heavy (8 ½ lbs.), and properly substantial. On my last trip to Finland, I was happy to see Oscar again. My friend Bitte Westerlund, author and journalist—Jörn’s wife, showed me Oscar’s new home. He sits on a shelf in their kitchen in Helsinki right next to the cookbooks.

Recent Happenings in the Finnish Community:

Suomi Kerho Annual Meeting on January 22nd.

News from elections: Treasurer Henri Aspen, Membership Roy Norda, Finance Gunnel Kullbäk, Secretary Sirpa Saarenpää, and Housing Seppo Kotajärvi.

Veteraani Tuky Ryhma Annual Meeting on February 8th

Mark Salo and Seppo Hurme were honored with Bronze Medals issued the 17th of November 2011 in Helsinki. The Honorary Diploma states that the Medals were in recognitions of the work done in honor of the fatherland and its defense. Hääyö Vihdoin (Suomen Filmiteolliuus) [Wedding Night at Last] with Ǻke Lindman, Matti Oravisto, Aarne Tarkas and filmed at Seurasaari was shown to participants after the meeting. Officers elected: President Seppo Hurme, Vice President Henri Aspen, Secretary Pauli Majamäki, Treasurer Mark Salo, Membership Veikko Kautiainen, Hospitality Gunnel Kullbäck.

Hauli Huvila Fundraiser “Hauli Helmikuussa Disco Night” on February 25th.

The dress for the night was “your fanciest 70’s outfit”. Ahvo and Liisa Linnala certainly delivered with duds worthy of Saturday Night Fever on Saturday night! The evening began with a bake sale: Karelian pastries, pulla, bread, cakes, and cookies came and went to eager and thankful shoppers. As Finns say: “like onto hot rocks”(Kuumille kiville).

It was great to run into the likes of Jukka Vuorenmaa and Riikka Jyrälä. Riikka will be heading up plans for the next big Independence Day Gala.

Great News for LA Dog Lovers:

Last week, to the surprise of everyone, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors passed new legislation that now allows patrons to bring their dogs to (outdoor seating available) restaurants. Sohvi koira still has on her Oscar ‘bling’–her pearl necklace for Academy Awards watching. We will be Around Town with Ava now more than ever, for sure, looking and sniffing out for and hoping to run into her leading man, Uggie!

Sohvi koira

Links:

http://rikucampo.com/
http://juhannusproductions.com/new/ (Jonny Kahleyn)
http://www.mtv3.fi/helmi/kauneus/artikkeli.shtml/2012/02/1500753/suomalainen-meikkitaiteilija-oscar-look-on-kovan-tyon-takana

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