The actress honors Jenn Jorge Nelson and Julie Teel at the New York Women in Film & Television Designing Women awards

By Kate Hogan
Updated May 11, 2012 08:30 PM

Cindy Ord/Getty

Speaking about her 30 Rock makeup artists at Thursday night’s New York Women in Film & Television Designing Women awards, Tina Fey spoke of the ladies’ ability to accomplish, well, anything.

“Over the last six years they’ve turned Tracy Morgan into a werewolf, turned Will Forte into a beautiful Jane Krakowski and they’ve turned Jane Krakowski into no less than three men, two of whom were African-American,” the actress shared with the crowd at Macy’s Herald Square. “We throw so much at them and they’ll always figure it out no matter what it is.”

Makeup artists Jenn Jorge Nelson and Julie Teel, longtime friends, joined the 30 Rock team six years ago after working with Fey and Amy Poehler on the film Baby Mama. “Meeting them there, I found them not only to be very, very good at what they do, but just a joy to be around, which is really important with a makeup artist because oftentimes they’re the first person you see in the morning and the last person you see at wrap and there’s just no room for crazy there,” Fey joked.

Aside from turning Margaret Cho into Kim Jong-Il and Kim Jong-Un (on the same day!) and transforming Morgan into ET (“He was supposed to look like a Caucasian woman,” Fey quipped), the women have also figured out how to give character Liz Lemon a crooked tooth (they used a Lee press-on nail) and once put Krakowski in head-to-toe “Smurf makeup.” “I looked at Jorge and Julie and I was like, ‘Yeah, dammit, you earned your check today,'” she shared.

But it’s not all about what’s seen onscreen; it’s about Nelson and Teel’s workmanship, too. Of the skills required to be a television makeup artist, Fey quipped, “I think you need the patience of Job, the eyes of an artist, the hands of surgeon and the firm but tactful demeanor of a women’s prison gynecologist. Because we’re crazy and you’re seeing us at our most vulnerable.”

Hairstylist and wigmaker Amanda Miller, costume designer Kasia Walicka-Maimone and the hair, makeup and costume teams of Boardwalk Empire were also honored at Thursday’s ceremony.

–Kate Hogan