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Sussex Natives Melanie DeForrest and Shannon Murray Take on Hollywood

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Melanie DeForrest has always studied the appearance of others—especially their faces. That curiosity has served her well in her work as a Hollywood makeup artist.

In fact, DeForrest and her longtime friend, Shannon Murray—both 2003 graduates of Sussex Central High School in Georgetown—are making their marks in the Silver Screen world.

DeForrest left L.A. for New Orleans, aka Hollywood South (because of filmmakers’ increasing presence there), about a year and a half ago. She has worked with the likes of Matthew McConaughey (on the upcoming “Dallas Buyers Club”) and Laura Dern. Murray appeared in “Oz the Great and Powerful” as the girl in the wheelchair’s mother. She also works on production crews and has served as an assistant director.

DeForrest, 28, enjoys applying makeup—and it’s not always to make someone look better. She does special effects, turning people into zombies and other creatures.

“Every face is different,” she says. “I was always fascinated with how and why people look different. I love making people look like a completely different person.”

DeForrest’s family still resides in Sussex County, which she tries to visit a couple times a year. In the meantime, the native Delawareans will continue to try to make it big in Hollywood.

“My ultimate goal is to continue doing what I love,” DeForrest says. “I love creating like an artist, like any artist wants to create.

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