Soap opera alum McKenzie Westmore has lived out some pretty wild moments as Passions character Sheridan Crane and All My Children character Riley Sinclair, but believe it or not, it all pales in comparison to her actual life. Fans may know that the actress is the creator of the makeup line Westmore Beauty, but what they might not know is that she is part of a legendary Hollywood family credited with establishing the entertainment business' very first makeup department in 1917.
Westmore's great grandfather, English wigmaker George Westmore (for whom the Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild's George Westmore Lifetime Achievement Award is named), founded the small department and quickly became the go-to makeup artist for classic Hollywood stars like Mary Pickford. His sons and their sons continued the business, with the various family members working with stars like Rudolph Valentino, Bette Davis, and Robert De Niro, and on major films like Gone with the Wind, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Raging Bull. The family eventually started the world-famous House of Westmore Salon.
It's easy to see where McKenzie Westmore got her inspiration for her own beauty company, Westmore Beauty. And she tells Soap Central that her family history is also the inspiration for some new projects she's been working on, including the possibility of a scripted series about the last four generations of her legendary family, as well as a possible Westmore family documentary. It's all very exciting stuff, as is the launch of some new Westmore Beauty products that were released earlier this year, so keep reading to find out more in our interview with the actress.
Soap Central: Hi, McKenzie! Congratulations on the launch of the new Westmore Beauty products that you debuted earlier this year! Which of your more recent products are you the most excited about?
McKenzie Westmore: Thank you so much! The Body Coverage Perfector will always be my baby, but as for newer products that excite me most, it's my 60 Second Eye Effects. It literally erases any eye concern and lasts all day!
Soap Central: The beauty world is a very crowded space and seems to get more so each and every day. What do you think makes Westmore Beauty cut through the crowd, and do you ever get discouraged about just how much competition is out there?
Westmore: What sets Westmore Beauty apart from others is that my family pioneered the world of Hollywood makeup over 100 years ago. No other company has that type or length of history. Many of the big companies out there actually utilize concepts that my family invented during those 100 years. I'm so proud of my family's history and proud to be carrying on that tradition. On top of that history, I'm able to utilize technology that no one else has, making WB one-of-a-kind and products that truly transform and work! Of course, when I see products of mine get knocked off, I get down, but at the end of the day, there is room for everyone, and being copied is the greatest form of flattery!
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Soap Central: As you mentioned, you have an incredible family history -- I went down the Wikipedia rabbit hole and discovered all kinds of interesting tidbits, like how your grandpa, Monte Westmore, got actor H.B. Warner to stop drinking by constantly giving him cod liver oil to make him throw up, and how stars like Marlene Dietrich and Clara Bow helped your uncles start House of Westmore. Are you big into researching your family's past? And what stories have been the most fascinating to you?
Westmore: I love researching my family's history! In fact, so much so, I'm in talks for creating a scripted show around my family as well as a documentary. My father [Michael Westmore] has amazing stories of his time with Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor, Cher, and Sylvester Stallone, just to name a few! There's so much rich history and some crazy stories that you won't even believe are real.
Soap Central: How do you feel about your family's Hollywood legacy? And do you ever feel pressure to "live up" to the amazing work done by the Westmores who've come before you?
Westmore: Absolutely, I feel that pressure. My dad always told me to never feel the pressure, but it's hard not to. That's why I finally feel like I am living up to the history by creating Westmore Beauty and bringing the spotlight back to the family name -- no pun intended. I always wanted to do this to make my family -- but most importantly, my dad -- proud!
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Soap Central: What brings you more fulfillment and satisfaction: working your makeup magic on set to bring TV and film characters alive, or helping the "everyday" person look their best?
Westmore: For sure, what warms my heart and why I do what I do is helping other women find their confidence in looking and feeling their best! But I'll always love acting for my own personal passion.
Soap Central: Did you take part in the recent Passions documentary?
Westmore: I did not because a family member was having surgery, and the date couldn't be moved. I was so bummed to miss out on it!
Soap Central: Fans really loved the Luis/Sheridan connection. What did you most love about the popular pair, and are you still in touch with Galen Gering [now Rafe on Days of our Lives]?
Westmore: I do still chat with Galen once in a blue moon. Those characters were just so iconic together. I always loved the dance scenes and past lives the most!
Soap Central: What was your favorite thing about Sheridan?
Westmore: I loved that she had a heart of gold -- until the end. She was a loving person.
Soap Central: Though she was a spoiled brat, Sheridan was pretty much a good girl -- up until the end, as you mentioned. What direction do you think she took after the show's finale, and what do you think she'd be up to now?
Westmore: I'd like to think the marriage to Antonio [Christopher Douglas] was just a bad nightmare, and she found her way back to Luis! [Laughs]
Soap Central: A lot has changed since we last spoke, so I'll ask this question again: Would you be open to returning to soap operas? And if so, is there a particular show that you'd be most excited to join?
Westmore: I guess it would all depend on the role. I really don't want the lead roles anymore. I'd love a great supporting part that is a great, fun character! All the soaps left are amazing, so it's hard to pick just one, but in a nutshell, sure! It would be fun to go back to daytime.
Soap Central: You teased on social media that you have new things to come, so we're very curious about what that announcement could be! Is there anything you can say now?
Westmore: I have been filming [a new project] that has wrapped up, and I also have more to come from Westmore Beauty, so definitely keep an eye out for that!
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What do you think about our interview with McKenzie Westmore? What are your favorite memories from her time on Passions? Would you be interested in seeing a series and/or a documentary about the actress' legendary makeup family? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.