In the beginning of Megan Thee Stallion’s highly anticipated video for her new single “Cobra,” the rapper literally climbs out of a snake’s jaws. “Like a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past — over and over again,” she says. “Cobra” is a song about what the artist has been through over the last few years, including depression, a dispute with her label, alleged cheating and the 2020 shooting by Tory Lanez, plus its subsequent trial.
But Megan has channeled these obstacles and turned them into art, as evidenced by both the deeply personal lyrics of “Cobra” and its cinematic video, which features some truly incredible hair, makeup and special effects work from some of Megan’s favourite beauty pros.
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Megan’s makeup was created by her go-to makeup artist Lauren Elise Child, and Miranda Jory created the special effects. (Jory was also behind Megan’s hilarious and on-point Gremlins costume for Halloween 2023.) At first, we see her crawling out of the snake’s mouth with clumpy, defined lashes. Later, when she’s glammed up in a gown and up do, Megan wears a metallic silver smoky eye with a super sharp wing. At the mid-point of the video, though, the rapper is seen in a glass box with prying eyes watching and taking photos as she literally peels off her skin.
“Megan and I are always saving and showing each other inspiration and reference pictures we’ve been collecting and a lot of the time we have the same images, so we are usually in the same lane creatively already when it comes to creating the looks,” Child says. “We both knew we wanted to keep the makeup very authentic but with interesting snake like details, so I took inspiration from different snake prints, textures and shapes.”
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Child’s favourite look occurs right as Megan climbs from the snake’s belly. “We wanted her to look dewy and authentic but add interesting detail that would nod to the snake she was crawling through, so I took inspiration from the snakes fangs and gave her spiky lashes with really dewy skin,” Child explained.
Child also worked very closely with Jory and her team while prepping Megan’s makeup or coating her body with slime. “We talked ahead of time about what products would work with the prosthetics and what wouldn’t, how to remove them,” the makeup artist explained. “Beauty makeup is so different than SFX, so it was great to work with them and help complete the story head to toe.” After each take, Child and the SFX crew would have to work together to “reset” the slime on Megan’s body.
The rapper wears a handful of hairstyles throughout the video, including a few slicked-back looks, an intricate updo and a super high ponytail, done by celebrity hairstylist Kellon Deryck, who frequently collaborates with the musician. “Megan and I bounce ideas off each other every time we see each other,” Deryck says of the creative process. “For the ‘Cobra’ hairstyles, we wanted them to be snakelike but not too literal, so we did an updo that had layers to it like scales, and a ponytail that had face framing fangs instead of bangs.”
For the scene in which Megan peels off her skin and the outdoor dance break, they opted for a loose, wet-look style — in part because of the SFX elements. “We both came to the conclusion that a slicked back wet look would be best because we had to cover her body with slime and prosthetic skin to peel off.” According to Deryck, the hair was styled before prosthetics were applied.
As for the updo, which is featured in a scene where Megan reclines in a gown surrounded by snakes, Deryck says it was created as a separate piece to save time during filming. “I installed [it] over a natural bun, [so it was] easy to use for a 20-minute glam changeover,” he shares. His must-have product while on set? “I always use Flawless Illusion glue because it is sweat-resistant and water-resistant, and also easy to remove with several wig changes.”
The shoot went on for a few long days, but as he says, “It never feels like work when you work with people you love.”
A new era of Megan Thee Stallion is officially here. Watch the “Cobra” music video below.
This story was originally published on Allure.
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