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Oda Herlofsen Photo: Adam Reed
Oda Herlofsen Photo: Adam Reed

Aviation

SAS Talents: Oda Herlofsen faces the future

What started as a chance meeting in an LA makeup shop turned into the opportunity of a lifetime for SAS flight attendant Oda Herlofsen.

Oda Herlofsen
Age: 25
Flies from: Oslo
Position: Flight attendant
Countries visited: 48

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Before she took to the skies, flight attendant Oda Herlofsen dreamed of becoming a makeup artist – and while on a trip to Los Angeles she got the chance to live out her dreams.

“I was studying makeup in Bergen,” says Herlofsen. “But I wasn’t that interested in the glam side of things, fashion or bridal makeup. What really drew me was special effects and the power to transform people.”

During a week off from school, Oda took a holiday in LA and while there she ended up spending hours in a makeup supply store, where she fell into conversation with the manager.

“He could hear I wasn’t from the US,” says Herlofsen. “I explained I was at makeup school in Norway and wanted to attend one in LA, but didn’t think I could afford it. He said he knew people in the industry there who hired interns and would be happy to make an email introduction.”

After exchanging email addresses, Oda went back to browsing, and then suddenly the manager came running back to her.

“He said one of the guys he was planning on putting me in touch with was actually in the shop! His name was Barry Koper, who was the head of makeup on films such as Scary Movie and the Santa Claus films with Tim Allan, and had worked on Alien Resurrection and Star Trek: Voyager. We talked for a bit and then he invited me to meet the team at Makeup & Effects Laboratories.”

Oda jumped at the chance. She returned to Bergen, finished her course and then headed back to LA to take up the internship.  

 “One of the most exciting things was working with Kevin Haney, who won an Oscar for Driving Miss Daisy. He became my mentor and that led to me assisting him in making the pregnant belly for the main character on the TV show Jane the Virgin. It was exactly what I had dreamed of doing – transforming a person.

“Making the belly was an incredibly long process that took days from when we took the full body cast of the actress, Gina Rodriguez, to the final result. We had to fill up the cast with fiberglass, and make it in different sizes.  One night, I stayed up all night with Kevin to get everything ready for shooting. I can’t describe how incredible the experience was, working with someone of his caliber and having him trust me to do the job correctly.”Oda doing makeup Photo: Mariann Vik

When Oda returned to Norway a few months later, yet another opportunity came her way. And once again, she jumped at it.

“I saw an ad for SAS flight attendants. Both travel and SAS have always been close to my heart because my dad was part of the SAS family.  So I applied, got the job, and have been flying with SAS for nearly three years.”

While Oda loves her job, she still keeps in touch with her old friends in LA, who she calls her “American grandpas.”

“After I started at SAS, my LA boss Allan Apone, who is Samuel Jackson’s key makeup artist, was in Germany shooting the latest Captain America film. I took some time off, hopped on a plane, and went to visit the set for a few days.  It was surreal to be sitting in the makeup trailer drinking coffee between Chris Evans and Martin Freeman as they got their makeup done.

“Working at SAS is a lot of fun. I have great colleagues, I get to see wonderful places and I look forward to growing in my job, such as doing long haul in the future. I love special effects and may do more, but right now I’m happy to have had the experiences I’ve had and I love what I do right now.”

Oda's tips for LA:

Photo: Bart Jaillet/Unsplash

LACMA

The LA County Museum of Art has some excellent exhibitions – check their website to see what’s in the calendar – but it’s also just a great place to wander around, see the famous urban lights and take some cool photos. The best time to get a good image is at sunset, when the lights are on and daylight’s nearly gone.

LACMA

5905 Wiltshire Blvd. Los Angeles

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The Grove

This outdoor shopping center has a lot of great restaurants, a cinema, and plenty of high-end shops, as well as a beautiful fountain and a trolley to drive around the area in. It’s also right next to the Farmers Market. After shopping, I highly recommend grabbing a burger at Umami Burger, where they have the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever tasted.

The Grove

189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles

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Photo: Unsplash

Melrose & Fairfax Flea Market

Every Sunday there’s a huge flea market on the corner of Fairfax and Melrose, where you can find all kinds of things, from clothing and shoes to furniture and art. If you head down Melrose, you’ll find more great shopping – from Urban Outfitters to high-end labels like Marc Jacobs and Vivienne Westwood. Stop by Alfred’s Coffee at Melrose Place for lunch.

Melrose & Fairfax Flea Market

8428 Melrose Place, Los Angeles

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Warner Brothers Studios

LA is known for movies and TV and the Warner Brothers studio tour is the perfect way to get a look behind the scenes. A guide drives you around the studios in a golf cart for a couple of hours, while asking what kind of shows and movies you like, so the tour can be personalized just for your group. If you’re lucky you might spot your favorite actor – they stroll around the lots between recordings.

Warner Brothers Studios

3400 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA

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Photo: Shutterstock

Venice and the Santa Monica Pier

Take in Venice’s well known bohemian spirit as you stroll down Abbot Kinney Boulevard, stopping for a bite to eat before continuing to the beach and Santa Monica Pier – one of the best places in the city to see the sunset.

Venice and the Santa Monica Pier

200 Santa Monica Pier A, Santa Monica

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Last edited: November 17, 2017

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