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Sask woman wins Canadian Screen Award for makeup skills

McArthur was recognized for her contributions to the series Little Bird.
It has been hard to get the smile off of Nina McArthur’s face after she won the Best Achievement in Makeup award at the Canadian Screen Awards.

PHEASANT RUMP NAKOTA FIRST NATIONS - Nina McArthur has had a busy life with many highs and lows.

McArthur was raised mostly at White Bear First Nations, although the family moved frequently. She attended a residential school in Lebret and high school in Brandon.

While in Grade 8, she began to cut hair while and found this was something she really enjoyed.

She was also involved in modeling but being shy and reserved, she preferred to be behind the scenes, doing the hairstyles and applying makeup.

McArthur went to Marvel’s Beauty School in 1997-98 and when finished, went straight to work at Incredible Stories Studio in Regina for children’s shows.

Hairstyling, makeup, aesthetics, photography and eyelash extensions are her specialty, and she loves doing them all.

At one time, McArthur worked at Carlyle's Skyline Motor Inn at the bar and the coffee shop, and during Sundays for brunch. The motel has since been demolished.

After having her four children, McArthur went to Los Angelas to live and further her career in the hairstyling and makeup field, and it was a remarkably busy time for her.

Eventually, she thought it was time to return home and moved to Pheasant Rump Nakota First Nation.

Life was going well until tragedy struck when her son took his own life. It has been 10 years since this happened but is very fresh in McArthur’s mind, although she has learned to deal with it.

The grief was too much for her to bear living in the same house, and she moved to Winnipeg to help her heal.

While there, she had issues with her heart. Thinking it was due to the massive grief she was experiencing; she went to see a doctor.

Her heart had irregularities and she was sent to the hospital for testing, which took four days and soon she found out she had a congenital heart condition that needed surgery within the week.

McArthur was born with her main artery to her heart laying between two muscles. When her heart beat quickly, it squeezed the artery.

She believes the grief for her son saved her life, and this also made her slow down although in her career she has done 70 projects in films and TV.

She has belonged to the union of films for 20 years and is the head of the hairstylist department in Regina.

She has had an impressive career, working on such movies as The Ice Roads, starring Liam Neeson and Marcus Thomas, and Just Friends with Ryan Reynolds and Amy Smart.

Her career has taken McArthur all over Canada, into the United States and overseas to Paris.

Jennifer Podemski asked her about working with the miniseries Little Bird, so she flew to Toronto, but this was during COVID. The rule at the time was she had to be isolated at a Ramada Hotel for 14 days, and during these days she read the script over and over and knew she had to be part of this project.

Little Bird (Bineshi Kwe) is a miniseries about an Indigenous girl who was removed from her Saskatchewan home at the age of five and adopted by a Jewish family in Montreal. They changed her name to Esther Rosenblum.

In her 20s, the young woman began looking for her biological family and was willing to sacrifice everything to find them.

McArthur felt it was a great honour to be part of this series and now the show has been nominated for 19 awards.

“These awards are similar to the Canadian Academy Awards,” said McArthur. “It is a big deal to receive one.”

The Canadian Screen Awards were handed out over four days, with the last night on May 31 at the CBC Broadcast Centre in Toronto.

McArthur is proud to say she received the Best Achievement in Makeup Award on May 29 for the Little Bird Series, and the series took 11 trophies during this time.

She has since returned home to Pheasant Rump and is ready to start her next journey with the project Hostile Take Over which is being filmed in Regina.

During the time she is working she stays with her daughter and returns home on days off.

She is excited about life and looks forward to the next adventures in filming.