АвторAuthor: Iryna Hyliuk | Translation: Iryna Kovalenko
10 September 2022
Until February 24, Kateryna Dubchak from Odesa worked as a makeup artist on film sets and taught at the K&Kfilms film school. However, when the full-scale russian invasion began, the desire to be useful forced her to repurpose herself and start making tactical makeup. Thanks to it, our soldiers become invisible to the enemy, and it saves their lives. How a makeup artist from Odesa helps the Ukrainian army read further in the “Monologues of the War” project.
I have been afraid of war since my childhood. My most horrible dream, from which I always woke up, was that the war had started and I was running somewhere… On February 24, I woke up from explosions. Thankfully, I was not alone at home but with my family. It was a horror. I do not know how to describe how many people were standing near ATMs. People emptied the stores at once.
“We had a cellar in our house, we converted it into a room and slept there for the first week. We were afraid to go outside. The loudspeaker was placed right next to our house. It would start blaring as soon as you went for a walk with the dog, and you would run home as fast as you can.”
No one knew what would happen next. Some neighbors said there would be an attack from the sea, above, below, and everywhere. The end… We were scared, of course. Especially when the rashists entered Enerhodar, where Zaporizhzhia NPP is located. And also when they captured the Chornobyl NPP…
I am a makeup artist and teach makeup art at the K&Kfilms film school. With director Kateryna Lebedyeva, we have taught children film art for seven years. She teaches acting, directing, and screenwriting.
The day before the war, we had a film crew from the TV channel. We worked on an exciting social project. We filmed constantly and had fun. But on February 24, everything changed. Everything went to hell…
“When the war started, we really wanted to be useful. At first, we donated money. There is a large humanitarian headquarters in Odesa. We bought and brought there all the necessary things. We also donated our clothes for nets because there was not enough fabric. But it was not enough for us”.
And then volunteers who were looking for tactical makeup found us. At that time, at the beginning of May, they could not buy it anywhere, or it was expensive. And I am a cosmetologist, and I can make various cosmetics. I took the tactical makeup, looked at its ingredients, and decided I could make it. I was glad that my profession could be helpful.
We made the first batch of 45 cans of tactical makeup in a day. We were in a hurry to send it to the front as soon as possible. We called the stores, said we needed it urgently, and asked for a discount because our resources were limited at the time. Someone gave something for free, someone gave it cheaper than it really cost, and this way, we made the first batch.
“Then I recorded a video and posted it on social networks. I wanted to show that we help the army. But it turned out that no one in Ukraine does this except us, moreover free of charge.”
People shared our video, they began to contact us: we need more, we need more! And from May to the 20s of July, we produced 250 sachets of tactical makeup in different colors, which we sent to the front line.
“The makeup we invented is advanced in its ingredients. It not only has a masking effect but also protects the skin from sunburn and is waterproof. It can last more than 24 hours in any weather condition. You can swim and sweat with it. And you wash it off with oil or something oily.”
At first, we did it at our own expense, but today we have open fundraising because the ingredients have risen in price, and there are no discounts, no one gives anything for free. Obviously, it could not have lasted forever.
To avoid fraudsters, we work with volunteer centers that have documents from the military. Or we help our friends whom we know personally. When TV channels began to come to us to shoot stories, more and more people learned about us. And the number of orders increased. We also work as a film school; on weekends, the dressing room turns into a laboratory. But we cannot produce large volumes because the special melter of the wax has a small bowl.
We work as a team. I calculate what and how much of it is needed, make it, and Kateryna Lebedyeva searches and orders the components. My younger brother also helped – he carried loads and assisted. We also created a video instruction for the military on how to apply makeup correctly and how and with what to remove it.
“It seems that this makeup is such a simple thing, but it saves the life of a soldier. Every soldier needs tactical makeup as weapons need a camouflage net. If you are invisible, you are protected”.
Camouflage makeup is crucially needed for scouts and snipers. Because their palms, neck, and face can give them away even when they wear ghillie suits. Palms, neck, and face are especially visible at dusk. Now we feel ourselves helpful. We also contribute to the victory because the fighters with our makeup become invisible to the enemy.
Our studio is right near the port of Odesa. On the day when it was shelled with rockets, we were recording videos for students. “It was like an earthquake had started. The ground was trembling, the books on the shelves were moving, and everything began to shake. We ran into the corridor because there were two walls and no windows. And then the explosions started… 9 rockets were aimed at us. The air defense was working, but they still hit. All this was happening right next to us. It was horrifying. We thought that it was the end…”
If an air defense rocket flies up and does not hit the target, it self-destructs and falls down in small particles. We were so scared when it all started to fall on our roof! It was the first time it was so close to us.
And on May 9, when a missile hit one of our largest shopping centers, “Riviera”, a piece of the ceiling fell in our basement. We were all sitting there at that moment. Luckily, we all are alive…
At first, I did not allow myself to be happy or laugh. Now I think that we must live, as no one knows how much time we have… Thanks to our brave heroes and heroines from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, we can wake up every morning in a warm bed, work, go shopping, receive medical care, and live a little bit. However, if there is more or less peace in some areas, it is not a reason to forget about the war!
Please, help the Armed Forces of Ukraine, displaced persons, people affected by the war, and animals in need of shelter. We are strong together! The assistance of every one of us leads to victory.
Чому важливо поширити цю історію?
Якщо українці не розповідатимуть свій погляд на війну в Україні, світ поступово забуватиме про нас. Натомість цим обов’язково скористаються росіяни. Тому не даймо їм жодного шансу.
Why is it important to share this story?
If Ukrainians do not share their views on the war in Ukraine, the world will gradually forget about us. Instead, the Russians will definitely take advantage of this. So let's not give them a chance.
АвторAuthor: Iryna Hyliuk | Translation: Iryna Kovalenko