By: Rene Dashiell (Makeup Artist)
I had just taken over as Dept Head on the TV series “Shark” starring James Woods and Jeri Ryan. It was the show’s first season and there had been many shakeups in the Makeup Dept. One of the show’s lead actresses was Sarah Carter. She had gone through several makeup artists and had a rough go of it. On our first day together, Sarah’s Mom was in attendance (she had traveled all the way from Canada and was there for her daughter). I thought to myself, “Wow. This girl must’ve been through the makeup wringer.” I could feel her nervousness as she looked up at me from the makeup chair. I just grabbed her hands and held them in mine, looked her straight in the eye, “Sarah…I am your partner in makeup. I do not know everything about anything but I do know this…we will get through together. I want to make you happy. My goal is for you to trust me and to not think about your makeup at all. I want you to think about your character and all her motivations. My job is to make you feel safe in your skin.” By 10:00 that morning, she grabbed me on set…hugged me and just smiled her beautiful smile, grabbed my hand and said, “thank you…I am so glad you are here!” And that is how we got our start. It was a remarkable mix of kindness, humor and love in that trailer. A very rare happening when everyone gets along, is supportive and never turns on one another. From Jimmy Woods on down the line, we were all cared for and rewarded in all ways and means.
Our first Christmas break was coming up. The trailer was jammin. It was decorated for Christmas…there was holiday music playing…everyone was talking, laughing and getting ready for our day. It was a Thursday. Sarah comes in, plops in my chair and says, “So, Rene’…what are you up to this weekend?” I said, “Hanna and I are going to go to the Farmer’s Market and The Grove; the Christmas tree there is spectacular and I hear it snows at night!”
“Oh,” she said. “That sounds like fun.” She sounded disappointed. I crinkled my brow.
All of a sudden I noticed that the usually loud trailer was very quiet.
“That’s too bad because I have two tickets to Hawaii this weekend to see U2. I was gonna ask you to go, but I don’t want you to disappoint Hanna.”
“WHHHAAATTTT??!! Screw Hanna! I’ll leave her with her Dad!!!”
The whole trailer erupted in screams so loud it attracted other crew members to come inside…they thought we were being slaughtered or something. Anyone who knows me KNOWS I am a huge U2 fan as I worked on a film that Bono wrote and he became my “boyfriend” from the very first time he stepped up into that trailer on “Million Dollar Hotel.” To this day, I always have a pic of Bono at my station. Ok. A few pictures.
Sarah and I left for Hawaii that following Saturday, very early. I did not know she had an entire weekend planned…I had no idea what was going to happen. I simply thought we were going to see U2 in concert, it was their last show on the tour and Pearl Jam was opening for them. We got to Honolulu and immediately got a cab to Waikiki Beach; Sarah had never been and she had to get in to that water. We found a small but very nice hotel restaurant right on the beach and had a really great view and there was hardly anyone in the joint. We soon learned they were closing; it was 2pm and lunch was over. We charmed the staff and were allowed to stay and eat and drink. We had to be at the Hula Bowl at 6pm. Sarah swam. I drank and was just so excited.
We got to the concert and Sarah told me we were invited to the Before-Party Party. Huh? Really? I was in a tee-shirt, my coolest cargo pants and flip-flops. Suddenly, I was rubbing elbows with celebrities, actors, the cast from “Lost”….we jaded crew members still drop our jaws when we see THAT many faces we recognize, too. I had all these wrist bands on and the cool ID around my neck…I was in heaven.
We made our way to the concert floor. Sarah had no idea where our seats were…we had no tickets. Just wrist bands. I can’t even remember if I had my handbag. We had no arrangements for sleeping that night; Sarah just kept saying…”Don’t worry about it! We ain’t sleep in all weekend baby!!!”
We were shuffling around from place to place on the floor. Not knowing really where to go…Pearl Jam came on stage and we found ourselves on some platform. We were summarily dismissed by security to the throngs on the main floor. There were thousands and thousands of people. It was magic. It was right before Christmas and it was warm. The sky was clear and full of stars…no jacket. No purse…just me and Sarah. I do not know what came over me but I grabbed Sarah’s hand and yelled in her face as you always do when you talk to someone during a concert…,”I have an idea! Hold my hand, don’t let go.” We plowed through the crowd right up next to the stage. Right at the entrance of stage left and met a wall of very large, arms folded security guys. I looked at one of them, held up my wrist with it’s three neon bands and my pass around my neck and said, “where can we go with these?” He said, “Any where you want.” And he let us in.
We were in the U2 circle.
Eddie Vedder was within inches of me. He shook his head and his sweat landed on my chest. I was in concert ecstasy. Sarah and I just laughed and screamed. I turned around from the stage and there was this huge void…a buffer of nothingness between the few hundred at the stage and the thousands behind those barriers and security. I could’ve driven a golf cart; doing donuts in that space. Instead, we danced. And sang LOUDLY. Sarah screamed, “I have the hugest crush on Eddie Vedder!!!” It was magic.
We watched so many familiar faces mingle among us. Sarah told me that her roommate was the tour manager, but she had no idea we’d get an all-access pass. We could go anywhere we wanted as long as we behaved ourselves. Yeah. Right!! I wanted to go to Bono’s dressing room! Before you know it, U2 took the stage and I will never forget it. Green Day joined the band, as did Pearl Jam. We didn’t leave the stadium until 2 am ish.
We found our way to a waiting limo where upon I fell asleep sure we were going to our hotel. I awoke to Sarah shaking me telling me, “We’re here! Next stop!”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
My flip-flopped foot stepped out on to a red carpet. Where the Hell was I going? I had no idea but there were two lines of neatly dressed sailors on either side of this carpet. Were they real? Actors?
They were real and at the end of that carpet was an aircraft carrier.
We were walking on to a friggin United States aircraft carrier.
We were escorted in to a beautiful dining area where Sarah told me this is the Wrap Party for the tour. Yes. THE wrap party for the Vertigo or Elevation tour…I can’t remember and I didn’t care. I was an improperly dressed Cinderella. And I was starving.
There were very few people there but I found that buffet line and there was Filet Mignon and everything that goes with it. I sat at a beautiful round dining table and was all by myself. I saw Sarah across the room talking to who I now know was her roommate. She was drinking champagne and gave me a wink and a toast!
The next thing I know, I sense a person seating himself to my left. I was too busy shoving food in my mouth. Once I came up for air I turned to introduce myself…it was Eddie Vedder. I almost choked. Then his wife and toddler daughter came to sit with their food. We chatted like we had known each other forever. The baby was a bit cranky. Uh yeah! It was 3 am. I offered to hold her so they could eat. I did and soon she was asleep and Mr and Mrs Vedder could eat while the food was still warm. I feel a body sitting to my right…it’s Edge.
Then my mind just kinda went all fuzzy. I looked over at Sarah and her mouth just dropped wide open. There I was. Just me. Sitting with a table of rock stars, wives and me. Ohhhhh how I wanted someone to take a picture. But that’d be so uncool. Didn’t matter. My heart took a picture.
Eventually the night came to an end and I don’t remember much about the rest of the weekend. We found our way on to a chartered jet that Sarah had gotten us two seats on…courtesy of her roommate. It was jetting back VIP’s, actors, celebrities who were there for the concert. We landed at Van Nuys airport. Our cars were at LAX. We just laughed and slept in the taxi. It was a real adventure. I learned the art of just winging it and letting go and having the whole world opened up to me in one weekend. It was magic.
We went back to work very early Monday morning – we had one week to go before Christmas – and the sound dept let me set up my computer so I could show all the pics I DID take. Everyone knew about the trip and I just felt…like a queen. I floated on happy air for months.
I have had many many gracious actors bestow me and my daughter with such incredible gifts but that December weekend will always stand out as the most incredible one. It’s a movie I play in my mind many times throughout my years after.
Sarah and I are still very close. I incorporated her name in to the tattoo that I have on my wrist, “The Book of My Life.” She became family to me during our time on “Shark.” It ended too quickly because of the writer’s strike. That trailer was so divine. A once in a lifetime.
Thank you, Sarah. I love you always. You gave me pure joy.