Imagine Spock with regular old flat eyebrows. Or the Borg without their mechanical enhancements. BORING! Zany hairdos, futuristic outfits, and alien prosthetics play a huge part in making Star Trek both otherworldly and believable at the same time, and women have been at the forefront of this from the very beginning. In fact, the original series' costume and makeup departments were the only production departments (other than DC Fontana in the writers' room) that even employed women. Below are just a few who have made their mark in the costume and makeup departments.
P.S. If you're just stumbling into this series now, feel free to start at the beginning with Trek's women writers. Or be a non-conformist and skip around, checking out producers, music & sound, directors, and art & design in whatever order your anarchist heart desires!
P.P.S. Most of the info below was drawn from imdb.com, memory-alpha.fandom.com, and linked interviews. While I've done my best to be thorough, I admit my fallibility and welcome corrections. The vast majority of women credited with working on Trek have little to no information available about them, and photos are even more scarce. Also, shorts, video games, books, comics, and fan-made media are not included.
A costume designer is the top creative mind behind the outfits worn by the show's characters, and the first woman to fill this role in the Trek universe was Durinda Rice Wood. Although she only worked on the second season of TNG, Wood had a huge impact on the series, creating the costumes for some of its most iconic characters and species, including Guinan's hats and the Borg. She also redesigned Worf's baldric (his medals sash) using bicycle chains to give it some bling, reinvented the Romulan uniform, and created the Ferengi outfits. Nominated for an Emmy for her work on Trek, she enjoyed a career that spanned more than 40 years, with her most recent credit in 2019.
Photo via Memory Alpha
Gersha Phillips was the first woman of color to be costume designer for Trek. As the costume designer for the first two episodes of Discovery (as well as several others), she was responsible for inventing all costumes on the show from scratch, blending the iconic 1960s TOS aesthetic with 21st century fabrics and technology. During her more than 20 years in the industry, Phillips has worked on numerous movies and shows, including House of Cards, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.
Photo via imdb
Apparently the name for the person who leads the hair department is a little wishy-washy. Sometimes they're called key hair stylist and other times they're referred to as hair department head. Either way, the first woman to be either of those for Trek was Joy Zapata for the Generations and Nemesis movies. A well-known name in the industry, Zapata started as a hair stylist on a handful of TNG first season episodes, and then returned towards the end of the fifth season as hair designer, a position she held for the rest of the series. She was nominated three times -- winning once -- for an Emmy for her work on TNG. With a career that's lasted more than four decades, her most recent credits include Wonder Woman 1984, A Star Is Born (2018), and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I.
Photo via imdb
For 73 out of the 79 episodes, the complicated and futuristic hairdos on TOS were created by two women: hair stylists Virginia Darcy and Pat Westmore. Darcy worked on the first season, notably executing the intricate woven beehive for Yeoman Rand (pictured left), which was designed by costume designer Bill Theiss. Darcy would go on to be nominated for an Emmy for her work on North and South, which featured TNG star Jonathan Frakes and Wrath of Khan's Kirstie Alley. Westmore, of the famed Westmore family of makeup artists, worked on the last two seasons, designing and building some of the wildest hair pieces of the show, including T'Pau's braided headdress in "Amok Time" (pictured right).
Photos via imdb
As makeup department head for the 2009 Star Trek film, Mindy Hall was the first woman to lead this department for any Trek property. She was responsible for recreating and updating the iconic look of the characters, including Spock's eyebrows, which she spent three hours perfecting. While this is her only Trek credit, her nearly 30-year career includes more than 50 shows and movies, such as Wonder Woman 1984, the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, and the TV series Elementary.
Photo via imdb
In addition to probably having more capital letters in her name than anyone else, Cat'Ania McCoy-Howze was the first woman of color to work in the makeup department on a Trek property. A special makeup effects artist, The Undiscovered Country was the first film she ever worked on. She's also lent her talents to several TV shows and movies, including Ali, All About the Andersons, and three Academy Awards specials.
Photo via celebritypictures.wiki
While I couldn't find a photo of Carol Kunz anywhere, she's earned a place on our list as the record holder for working on the most Trek episodes out of any other women in the costume, wardrobe, and makeup departments. Starting as a costumer (an assistant to the costume designer) for TNG's "Samaritan Snare" (pictured above), over the course of 16 years she rose through the ranks to work as key costumer, wardrobe supervisor, and costume supervisor on TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise for a total of 358 episodes. Kunz was twice nominated for an Emmy for Voyager, and she won an Emmy for her work on the cult favorite TV series Pushing Daisies. Additional credits include Glee, Steel Magnolias, and the 2012 film Hitchcock.
Photo via imdb
Thanks for tuning in! Join us next time for the Unseen Women of Star Trek: Production.