Before every performance, there is a magical moment that happens backstage for Alaric Frinzi. Among the mirrors and bright lights of the makeup room, the senior musical theatre major transforms their* face into a masterpiece. (*Note: Frinzi’s preferred pronouns are they/them/their)

“There’s something that changes within you when you’re adding makeup and you can hear the low roar of an audience in the theatre. At that point you’re reminded why you’re doing it,” Frinzi says. “It’s not for yourself. You perform for everyone who is there in the audience who you may affect.”

Frinzi says makeup helps tell a story and is an art form all its own.

That’s why Frinzi is one of eight artists participating in a theatrical makeup demonstration at UCF Celebrates the Arts on Friday, April 5, at 5:30 p.m. in the Della Phillips Grand Lobby of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

The Burnett Honors Scholar filmed a tutorial to give attendees a preview of what to expect at the kickoff of the fifth annual festival.

Beauty Is Within

Frinzi grew up in Mayville, Wisconsin, where the nearest movie theater was 20 minutes away and the McDonald’s in town was a pretty big deal. However, Frinzi says there was a thriving arts scene, and after seeing The Nutcracker at the Milwaukee Ballet as a child, they couldn’t stop talking about it for the next six months.

Not surprisingly then, when Frinzi got a first taste of performing in an elementary school musical, they were hooked. They did everything they could to find opportunities to keep performing through local children’s theaters, show choirs and later high school productions.

Frinzi’s mother hardly wore much more makeup than mascara and a lip stain, but she was the first to teach Frinzi some basic eye makeup techniques when dressing up for Halloween as Frank-N-Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

“I realized it was OK to like beauty. It doesn’t matter who you are because you do it for yourself, not for other people.” — Alaric Frinzi

“As I got older, I realized it was OK to like beauty. It doesn’t matter who you are because you do it for yourself, not for other people,” Frinzi says.

When Frinzi arrived at UCF, they started experimenting with makeup more and developing their skillset for themed parties, holidays and performances. Frizni took a makeup techniques class but otherwise is mostly self-taught.

Frinzi spent the summer of 2017 working a part-time performance job at Disney World and used the rest of their time to hone their craft. At a dinner party before the fall semester, a friend asked if Frinzi was transgender.

“Because of where I was emotionally before, I don’t think I would have been ready at any other time to have that question asked to me. I spent the next week or two just thinking, ‘Is this part of who I am?’ I said, ‘You know what? I think this is my truth,’ ” Frinzi says. “By no means does makeup make the woman, but it was something that I found solace in — I’m good at this and it makes me feel beautiful and more feminine. There’s a sense of empowerment that comes with it, and it was putting me in touch with that side. It just helped me feel more comfortable in this new world of discovery I had just made.”

Arts and World Domination

So on opening day of UCF Celebrates the Arts, Frinzi will be bringing that beauty forward on a model with looks that could include character, special effects, facial hair, aging, animal, fantasy and more. Frinzi also choreographed this year’s festival opener, Titanic the musical, as well as the opera The Tender Land.

“If you haven’t been to UCF Celebrates the Arts before, you have the chance to see high-caliber arts in a beautiful venue downtown,” Frinzi says. “If you want to get involved in the arts community, this is a great place to start because we have such low ticket prices, so you really can get exposed to so much and find out what you really love.”

Frinzi says following graduation in May, the immediate plan is to work toward paying off student loans. Eventually, they would like to move to New York and perform on stage before transitioning to choreographing and directing others when their body can’t handle the stress of performing any longer.

“I love helping people achieve their vision and collaborating, so I see myself as a choreographer. And world famous. You know, just casual things,” Frinzi says with a smile.

Frinzi’s Best Makeup Tips

1. Ben Nye neutral set face powder and a puff should always be in your makeup bag. Period.

2. Failure is more than part of the process. It is the process.

The biggest thing you can learn about makeup when you’re working on it is that not everything is going to be perfect. You just have to accept that. What I always say when I’m doing my eyebrows is don’t expect them to be twins because they’ll never be twins. Make them look like sisters. And some days all you can get is cousins. Twins is unattainable, and if you’re trying to get twins you will be disappointed every time. Rather, find what things you’re really good at and accentuate those as you work on your other skills in the meantime.

3. Get by with some help from your friends.

I have friends who went to cosmetology school, and I’ve asked them how to do certain techniques. Find someone whose makeup you really like and ask them what they do. After a while you’ll set into your personal style. As you’re figuring it out, if you mess up, makeup wipes were invented for a reason.

4. Rock your look the way only you can.

For me, it’s red lip, beauty mark, winged eyeliner, classic face. I like the simplicity in the classics. If you’re the kind of person who wants the big bold colors, go and rock them because no one is going to rock them if you don’t. Find what makes you happy and do it the best you can. Makeup is not for other people. It’s about you feeling pretty.


UCF Celebrates the Arts returns to Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts for its fifth year April 5-14. This year’s festival includes more than 30 events and exhibitions, and ticket prices range from free to $50. Visit for more information.