Return of The Champions

All posts tagged Return of The Champions

Face Off Season 8 Episode 9: Face Off’s Miss Intergalactic Pageant!

Published March 12, 2015 by vfdpixie

This week, the artists had a cool Foundation Challenge.  They all headed to Long Beach where they found models and bowls of coloured powder.  They had to create a colourful makeup inspired by the Hindu Spring festival of Holi using only their hands.  Dealing with a windy beach, the artists ended up as covered by the powder as their models, but had a blast creating finger-painted and splashed up makeups.  Their judges were the team coaches, and they picked blindly, based on the makeup only.  The winner was Stephanie!  Coach Rayce liked how she transitioned blue and orange and the way it looked in terms of lighting.  Her prize was immunity which made her really happy since she was in the bottom last week, and this win kept her safe.

For the Spotlight Challenge, they had to create their own alien beauty pageant contestant to participate in Face Off’s Miss Intergalactic Pageant.  Their advisor this time was Miss Universe 2013, Gabriela Isler.  She told them that the presentation of the makeup was important and also to make sure the look exuded a friendly attitude.  The artists chose from different galaxies named on pageant sashes which were draped on dress forms.  The winner of the pageant would have a full-page spread in Entertainment Weekly, and their guest judge was senior writer for the magazine Darren Franich, so they were really excited to get started.

Emily picked the Pinwheel Galaxy.  Her concept involved an asymmetrical dress and a pinwheel wig.   She made foam tubing swirls for the dress and just had fun with her design, adding day-glo paint and glitter on her model’s skin.  I loved the colours, but the judges thought the mouth looked slightly injured.  Darren thought the character did tell a story however, and Emily was safe this week.

Ben got the Andromeda Galaxy.  He created an alien with three points on her head and used a four piece mold for the cowl to get a sleeker prosthetic.  His edges were great but it was a lot of work ahead of him as he scrambled to get his three-pointed eye mask on.  I thought the face was too flat in terms of colour or lack there of, and the judges thought some of the details looked stuck on.  Although Neville liked the chin, he also felt it looked like a 60’s Japanese superhero, and they all thought the texture and colour could have pulled it together but something was missing.  He was in the bottom looks.

Logan created a contestant from the Comet Galaxy.  His concept was a beautiful face and chaos in the back.  This put him out of his comfort zone.  The face wasn’t looking right to him, so he worked on subtleties, and created a beautiful alien that the judges thought was brave and original.  Stephanie had the Tadpole Galaxy and designed an alien with a tail feature.  The colours were cool, but Glenn thought it looked like a microwaved peep, and the back and front didn’t quite work together.  They were both safe.

Julian worked on the Whirlpool Galaxy.  He came up with an elongated head and a green colour scheme.  His cowl was indented, so he had to use a foam patch to fix it.  He had also never done a beauty makeup before, so Coach Laura helped him out with it.  He was worried, but the judges loved it.  They thought it was simple and effective with a beautiful face shape, and balanced alien beauty.  Ve liked the eye makeup and balanced cheekbones.  His stellar use of forms got him into tops looks.  (I would just like to add that I thought she looked like a beautiful brussels sprout.  There I said it.  That’s why I’m not a judge on this show).

Kelly picked the Sombrero Galaxy.   Her concept was an amphibious alien that hid from the hot suns of the galaxy.  She at first wanted multiple eyes, but Coach Anthony helped her realize that it would look too spider-like.  She started to panic and felt lost.  They came up with tentacles instead that would wrap around into an updo.  She had a lot of work with the tentacles so they would look defined, and in the end, it was not what she wanted.  The judges thought it was too busy with no focal point, and even though the sculpt was nice, it looked like a mask.  She was in the bottom looks.

Darla got the Sculptor Galaxy.  She wanted a spiral shape at the back of the head, but after consulting with Coach Laura, she moved them to the side of the head as it would be more symmetrical and beautiful.  After she fixed a minor crease in the nose, her makeup was just amazing!  She is finally showing her talent!  The judges thought it was gorgeous and the beauty makeup widened the face to make it pretty.  Darren thought it was glamorous in and old Hollywood way, calling it a space Norma Desmond.  Her classy, elegant and stunning makeup put her in the top looks.

Adam created an alien from the Cigar Galaxy.  He designed a crested head and wanted old Hollywood elegance as well.  He had a lot of appliances to put on the model, and in last looks, he came up with a great way to cool down hot glue with just air from the airbrush.  I loved the head and the judges thought it was a brave design with shapes they had never seen before.  Ve thought it was elegant from the side, and Darren liked the lava and rock look that carried onto the model’s cheeks.  He was in top looks.

The winner was Darla!!!  Yay!!! I was so happy!  Her alien would be in Entertainment Weekly because of Darla’s flawless makeup and application.  Kelly was the one going home.  The judges felt the rough paint and placement of details showed that she struggled to put things together.  I was sad to see her go but she has a lot of confidence and she is amazing, so she’ll get noticed for sure.

Team Tally:

Team Anthony: Ben (yikes!)

Team Laura:  Darla, Julian, Emily and Stephanie

Team Rayce:  Logan and Adam

Face Off Season 8 Episode 8: Stylish and Deadly in the World of Clive Barker

Published March 4, 2015 by vfdpixie

This episode had me champing at the bit when I heard about the inspiration.  The artists headed to the historic Sunset Strip club, the Whisky-a-Go-Go, where bands like The Doors, The Sex Pistols, and The Ramones have played.  It was there that McKenzie revealed their next challenge, inspired by the legendary Clive Barker!!!  She told them that he redefined the silent and destructive iconic horror villain like Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers by making a stylish, eloquent and elegant one in Pinhead. He sent them a video message where he told them that he went to punk clubs for inspiration to create demons and wanted to see something different from the artists; to marry cutting edge fashion and images that are startling and terrifying.

I remember reading Clive Barker novels as a teenager, and marvelling at the richness of his worlds.  Hellraiser remains one of my top five horror movies, and Pinhead is so iconic he is known around the world.  I actually have my own Lemarchand’s Box (it sits next to my golden Dalek).  I couldn’t wait to see what the contestants came up with!

The artists were to choose from several models wearing avant-garde outfits to create a stylish and intelligent horror villain.  The models stayed with them as they designed their concepts, and the guest judge on the reveal stage would be the V.P. of Seraphim Films, Clive Barker’s production company, Mark Alan Miller.

Emily chose the model with a feather vest and gold chain mail skirt.  She created a fallen angel cursed with a cage on his head.  She was inspired by old school string art to create a really cool cage effect on the character’s large triangular head.  That string cage, or webbing as she called it, started to fall apart when she applied it to the model, so in a split second decision, she added feathers instead.   Her villain was really cool with a great iridescent paint job.  The judges liked the paint too, and Ve loved the silhouette.  Neville thought it was iconic and memorable, and even though it didn’t fit the Clive Barker world to Mark Alan, he thought it was extraordinary.  She was in top looks.

Stephanie hit a major road block this episode.  The purple cape, gold dress and golden dangling accessories could not inspire a concept, and Coach Laura tried to help her hash it out.  Mr. Westmore even gave her some suggestions, like adding hooks in the character’s skin and encouraged her to “go for it”.  She was really embarrassed that she had nothing to show him, and frustrated to tears, deciding to just work out the concept the first day and sculpt on the next.  She came up with a seer that had peeling skin and a partially destroyed face, but had to sculpt and mold in one day.  She was really behind and painted with different techniques furiously to hide some lifting around the eyes.  She could only hope to be safe.  The judges thought her sculpt was non-specific and not conducive to the model’s face because she didn’t incorporate her nose and jaw line.  Because her concept was compromised by indecision, she was in the bottom.

Ben’s model wore a silver tutu, a black leather corset and stark white jacket.  He decided to create a demonic fetish model with a black leather corset skull-cap.  He took a lot of time sculpting his cowl, and he ended up being behind with his painting.  He would have to do a beauty makeup in last looks.  His character was really unique.  She had a truly avant-garde, minimalistic look.  The judges loved that the shapes tied into the wardrobe, especially the leather skull, which I thought was super clean-looking.  You could tell he really perfected that detail.  Mark Alan liked the story and the corrupted porcelain doll look, and Glenn loved the head detail and felt it was a brilliant and daring combo.  He was in top looks.

Darla took on a demon.  I really like her, and she has obvious talent, but I think she is losing her stride.  Her character wore a motorcycle inspired leather jacket and pants, so she went with a post-apocalyptic look.  She had a stretched out skin concept that didn’t work, so Coach Laura helped her with that.  The judges thought the character looked like an alien, and I thought the paint was a little flat but she was safe.  I’m glad because I know she can do something amazing-she just needs a boost.

Jamie had a model in a leather and mesh outfit with a whip and created a scorned, black widow type character who lured and killed men.  Coach Anthony helped her with the sculpt to make it more in tune with the Clive Barker universe, and hash out some spider details.  He was worried about the skin texture looking too realistic, and her painting went south when she had trouble matching tones.  The end result was a flat paint job, and the judges noticed it too.  Ve thought it didn’t look like skin, and that it was more alien and less Clive Barker.  Neville thought it looked like a Klingon or Borg character, and the mouth and chin looked like it was melted wax.  She was in the bottom.

Julian’s model wore a gold studded tuxedo-like jacket, an intricate amulet and carried a scythe.  His character would be a demon that killed those who wore the cursed amulet.  Mr. Westmore suggested he sculpt something into the head so that it read more horror than human, so he paid attention to the critique and created a second mouth running along the top of the demon’s head.  He took his time with his sculpt as well, ready to risk time for perfection.  Julian put in black mesh in the eye area of his face piece to hide the model’s eyes, and his character impressed the judges.  Glenn thought it worked within the Barker world and Ve gave it a 15 1/2 out of 10 for creepiness.  Mark Alan liked the jaw line, and Neville thought it was good, but not next generation Clive Barker (I agreed).  Because his character was terrifying up close, sophisticated and intelligent, Julian was in top looks.

Adam created a resurrected South American goddess who killed by gilding her victims.  her outfit was gold, orange and very regal looking.  He had a large cowl in 2 pieces so he took his time molding it, only to have it crack.  He used plumber’s epoxy to fix it, and thankfully, it came out well.  With Coach Rayce’s help, his goddess looked great on the reveal stage.  The judges thought it was original, and would have liked to have seen more gold highlights, but he was safe.

Kelly worked on a vivid green mermaid dress with her model.  Her concept was a woman obsessed with plastic surgery who cut herself, and had a mask to cover the damage.  Mr. Westmore suggested blood dripping from the mouth, and she also created a futuristic surgical fetish mask from vaccuform.  She ran into a problem when her face prosthetic had a bad second skin, making it look shredded, but Coach Anthony told her to go with it as it could work with the character’s mutilation.  It turned out really well, with a bloody, creepy mess of a woman.  The judges thought she was disgusting and sexy.  Mark Alan thought it was sex and violence, and could see the character in an upcoming Clive Barker comic anthology.  The mask was avant-garde, and Ve liked that it was disturbing and the contrasting colours of her red hair and green dress.  She was in the top looks for the story of her perfectly suited character to the challenge.

Working with a quilted vest that looked like a cobra’s hood, Logan created a snake charmer who was a killer immune to snake venom.  He put grids on the character’s arms to catalogue the venoms.  He used a wax based clay to create the sculpt for the arms, and started with the arm application because it was very delicate.  He wanted a sickly look for the “charmer”, and he succeeded.  It was a cool character, and the judges liked how he handled the cheekbones.  He was safe.

The winner was Ben.  His character incorporated pleasure and pain, grace and the grotesque and used a high concept with high fashion.  She was what the challenge asked for:  a glimpse into a future world of Clive Barker.  The person going home was Jamie.  She couldn’t pull her ideas together this week.  I was so bummed because I liked her and hoped she would come up and slay with her talents.  I know she will go on to do well in the industry especially because of her great talent and calm attitude.

Team Tally:

Team Laura:  Darla, Julian, Emily and Stephanie

Team Rayce:  Adam and Logan

Team Anthony:  Kelly and Ben


Face Off Season 8 Episode 7: Queens of the Insect World

Published February 26, 2015 by vfdpixie

With 10 artists left, this week they went straight into a Foundation Challenge that would grant the winner immunity.  At the lab, McKenzie had some elaborate and crazy hats for them to choose from.  They had to create a character inspired by the hat and their guest judge was Lois Burrell, who had filled in for Ve last season.  She wore a cute hat herself, and told them that a hat compliments the makeup as well as the character.  She would be looking for technique, skill and most of all, a clean makeup.

The artists all did a great job, but the winner was Emily who chose a large jewelled hat that looked like an art deco chandelier.  Her character was an asymmetrical goddess that had a dark and light side.  Lois liked the huge amount of work and colour transition, and thought that Emily understood colour, form and shape.

For the Spotlight Challenge, they headed out to the Canyon Ranch where shows like The Office and True Blood were filmed.  This was a unique challenge:  the artists had to create an insect queen and her companion BUT their lab was the outdoors.  Working in teams of two, they had to choose a vibrantly coloured insect and their staged habitat, and create their characters outside.  Oh, and the other catch was to do this with nude male and female models because it was a body painting challenge.  Yikes!!  I personally have never done body painting in my makeup artist career, the closest being bronzing a bikini model before a photo shoot, so I felt for the artists, who had also never done body painting either.  I have friends who do it and it does not look easy.  The mentor for this challenge was season 2’s Nix Herrera, who is a body painting expert.  His advice was to use the whole body as a canvas, and have fun with colours.  The judges would be relying on photos of these creations for the reveal stage, so a lot was riding on proper positioning of the models. They paired up and hoped for the best!

Stephanie and Darla picked the Jewel Beetle.  Their initial concept was to create an insect queen and use the male model as a burnt log.  Coach Laura had to help them with this concept because the camouflage makeup ended up being really difficult.  They went with the male model as the queen’s wings, positioning him behind her.  Darla painted the wings and Nix advised her to make the makeup pop with iridescent powders.  They worried that the male wasn’t showing enough and the rush for time.  The final makeup was problematic.  I thought the posing of the female model was not flattering but the colours were nice.  Ve thought the models breasts were too front and center, and it made the character look too human.  She also thought the wings looked like they were coming out of the model’s neck instead of her back.  Glenn thought the wing paint was superb, but they all thought the second model wasn’t used enough.  They ended up safe.

Logan and Julian created their own version of a Cuckoo Wasp.  Logan was especially freaked out because of the body painting, but soldiered on.  They decided to use the male model as the thorax of the wasp, placing the models butt to butt after Laura recommends that they think out the concept.  Nix told them to create more depth, and their final makeup was really cool!  The judges thought it was a clever use of the second model, and liked all the iridescence and highlights that created a false light source.  Neville thought they made smart, unconventional  choices with the use of the models.   They were in the top looks.

Kelly and Ben worked on the European Hornet.  Kelly wanted to do similar positioning of models, with the male as the thorax, but Ben had other ideas.  He wanted to do a camouflage makeup that would blend the male model into the landscape.  Coach Anthony was concerned this was a boring makeup and told them to change it up to create more interest.  Nix told Ben to be aware of the sunlight as the positioning would change the colours.  The end result was “eh” for me.  The judges thought the camo makeup was successful but didn’t compliment the overall makeup or concept, and the female looked like she had an animal muzzle instead of an insect look.  The artists admitted to not working that well together, and the judges agreed and felt it showed in the final looks.  They were in the bottom.

Adam and Rob worked on the Lady Bug.  They wanted to mimic Adam and God from the Sistine Chapel, with the queen Lady Bug reaching to the male model who was a larvae.  Nix liked the concept but told them to create more depth and make it look less busy.  Rob and Adam switch off so Rob finished the queen’s face, and Coach Rayce told them to add highlight to the larvae, but their final look was not that great.  I thought the queen’s face was too dark, and the judges had no idea what the male model was.  They felt the queen wasn’t elegant, and looked more like a cross between the Cowardly Lion and a Kabuki makeup.  They too were in the bottom.

Emily and Jamie got the Honey Bee.  They made a queen bee and her amorous drone, going for a more abstract look.  Emily wanted to create a honeycomb pattern on the queen for interest and was willing to take the risk.  The judges liked all the details in the makeup, and the honeycomb pattern worked because they noticed and liked that too.  Ve thought the queen’s makeup was one of the best beauty makeups on the show.  Their graphic design and beautiful composition of the photo, along with the lover back story got them a place in top looks.

The winning team was Logan and Julian.  The positioning of the models was difficult to pull off but they did it, and the winner was Logan because the queen really stood out.  Rob went home because he didn’t have a standout contribution this time around.  He was surprised but felt his family would be proud of him anyway.

Team Rayce has 2 artists left!  So far, Team Laura is doing the best, but we shall see…

Face Off Season 8 Episode 6: A Troll For Every Bridge

Published February 18, 2015 by vfdpixie

This week, the artists went to a bridge over the L.A. River, where scenes for movies like Terminator 2, Grease and Chinatown were filmed.  It was a fitting intro for the next Spotlight Challenge:  Trolls!  Described as “oafish but devious”, trolls often live under bridges.  The artists had to create their own trolls inspired by bridges from around the world: The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, The Corvin Castle Bridge in Transylvania, The Dragon Bridge in Bali, The Helix Bridge in Singapore, The Tower Bridge in London, and the Python Bridge in Amsterdam.  McKenzie told them to keep in mind the location, design, and cultural setting of the bridges when coming up with a concept.  They also got a special treat-the great character actor Doug Jones, know for his roles in Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy, was going to come in on application day to help the models get into character and work on movements for their specific trolls.  He would also be a judge on the reveal stage.  It was really cool to see him work with each model to bring out the troll characteristics.  He was amazing interpreting the makeups for the models, and just watching his lanky, lithe frame transform was a treat!

Anthony picked the Helix Bridge.  His troll lived in a rainforest and fell asleep only to wake up in modern society.  He wanted the troll to blend with, and become a part of, the bridge by genetically altering himself in order to fit into this new world.  He sculpted the face with a rocky texture that faded into a more modern, angular shape and wondered if the judges would get his troll.  The makeup was interesting, but the judges felt the character didn’t belong to the bridge, and Doug thought the transition was a problem.  There was confusion in the sculpt and the design lacked a clear goal.  He was in the bottom.

Julian picked the Corvin Castle Bridge.  He went with a troll that was a servant of Dracula.  His final makeup was a bit rough-looking, but he made it through to next week.  Stephanie worked on the same bridge, and created a troll that blended into the trees.  Her troll looked like the cousin of the Crypt Keeper from Tales from the Crypt.  I though it was cool though, and she was also safe.  Adam chose the Dragon Bridge, and created a fallen warrior that was cursed.  He made a hump back from a piece of foam, incorporating vine and leaf shapes as well as a snaky texture.  The face of his troll was really good, and he too was safe.  Logan’s Golden Gate troll would have a burnt look.  He really liked the character, and even though there was a cool mask detail, the judges thought the concept wasn’t appropriate for a troll.  He was however, safe.

Jamie worked on a troll that lived under the Dragon Bridge.  He was the protector of the dragon statues on the bridge and blended into his environment.  She was advised by Mr. Westmore to go easy on the vegetation to show more detail, and she sculpted a wood texture for the makeup.  Her troll was very nice with a solid sculpt.  The judges loved the chest, paint job and wood sculpt, and Doug told her he loved the details and would wear the makeup himself!  She was in top looks.

Darla picked the Python Bridge, but she had trouble with a concept.  She struggled for a bit, and even with help from coach Laura, was hating what she came up with.  Laura was a little worried about the lack of direction, and hoped for the best.  Mr. Westmore told Darla to go more traditional route with the troll features like a bulbous nose, and add some depth to the sculpt.  Her troll was “meh”.  Not enough detail for me, and the judges thought the round shape didn’t read troll-like, although they did like the paint.  For someone who started out strong, she seems a little lost lately.  Luckily she was safe.

Rob’s troll lived under the Tower Bridge.  He was a prince who loved a princess but was cursed by her disapproving father, the king.  He wanted to extend the back of its head and horns.  He noticed the troll was starting to look like an alien, but kept going especially since Rayce approved.  Rob was happy with the end result, but the judges thought otherwise.  They felt the forms were flawed, and the face was mask-like.  Glenn did like the paint but thought the anatomy did not look troll enough.  He was in the bottom.

Emily picked the Golden Gate Bridge.  Her troll was a girl who jumped off the bridge and take on the shapes of the rocks on the nearby island.  She added rock textures to the sculpt, but ran into some problems in the mold room.  It was her turn to have a mold lock on her, and to add insult to injury, her chest piece cracked.  Ben helped her open the mold, but she would have a lot of patching to do.  Her foam edges were also really thick.  She had to paint fast to make up time for all the repairs.  Her colours were nice,  but the judges thought the edges were hard, and not literal enough to look like rocks.  Ve thought it wasn’t a beautiful character for this challenge, and Doug didn’t like the transitions but liked the paint.  She was also in the bottom.

Ben chose the Python Bridge.  Since kids go swimming there, he wanted to do a fun troll who went disguised as a little girl.  He had to put a more fantasy spin on in according to Mr. Westmore, and so he did.  He added a beer belly for some fun, and a hyper exaggerated face.  His troll was different to anyone else’s, and that worried him, even though he liked his troll.  His was my favourite!  It was hilarious, and beautifully sculpted.  The judges loved the sculpt as well as the whimsy, and Neville thought it was a courageous move to go so different.  Doug loved the laughter and the way the model portrayed the character.  Glenn thought it was the best detail work of the night, and that it all worked.  Ben was in the top looks because of his bold choices.

Kelly’s Tower Bridge troll was a mother who haunted the bridge where her child fell to his death.  After Mr. Westmore told her to troll up her makeup with more lip and nose, she went for it.  Coach Anthony put the brakes on her momentum when he noticed her paint was getting muddy, so in last looks, she had to change it up.  I really liked her troll.  It was a really great sculpt, and Glenn thought it was astounding.  He liked that she used the model’s features  and Ve liked the monotone colours.  Neville didn’t think it was a troll but it was still good, and Jones liked the performance.  She was in the top with her washed out colour palette and creepy, compelling character.

Rayce had to speak up before any decision was made because two of his team, Rob and Anthony, were in the bottom.  He had given his team a pep talk before they started the challenge, telling them to think outside the box and skip making a traditional troll, and I think he felt responsible for their weaker showings.

The winner this week was Jamie!!  I was really happy because I like her.  She is quiet but one to watch and seems to have a very likeable character.  The judges loved that she embedded the culture and history of the bridge, as well as the wood sculpt.  They thought it was her best work so far, and encouraged her to keep up her focus.  Bravo Jamie!

Anthony went home.  His paint job and un-troll-like character did him in.  The judges were impressed by his passion and expected him to do well as this was just one step in the right direction.  He felt it was a life changing experience and was revved up for the future.

So far, Team Laura still stands with one artist gone and Rayce and Anthony have both lost two artists. I am really loving this team twist this season!

View From the Dark

Reviews and essays on genre film from a WOC perspective

Academic Hoodoo

a research blog on Africana Religions

Eden Royce

Writer of Southern Gothic speculative fiction

Cinema Axis

Where All Things Film Converge


burke –verb (used with object), burked, burk·ing. to murder, as by suffocation, so as to sell the corpse to medical science

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

grotesque ground

Promoting the grotesque in cinema and literature.


Movies, thoughts, thoughts about movies.


A ranting woman's mind

The Tyranny of Tradition

Lamentations and Jeremiads 25 Years After The End Of History

What Are You Doing Here?

A Black Woman's Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal

The Blog

The latest news on and the WordPress community.