Face Off: SyFy Reality Proves Making Up is Still Fun


Face Off - Season 9
Having only become aware of Face Off last year after meeting the delightful Alana Rose from season three and the equally delightful Keaghlan Ashely from season seven at the Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con in 2014, it was impossible not to watch the show when it aired and cheer Ms Ashley on, both in print and as a viewer. Host McKenzie Westmore is one of the most empathetic presenters on any reality show on television. As well as Ms Westmore’s apparent caring attitude her father, the award winning Michael Westmore (And if you have to ask what he has won awards for, why on Earth are you watching the show?) appears to offer advice and guidance.

There is a panel of experts that includes Ve Neill, Glenn Hetrick and Neville Page along with the odd guest expert who judge and/or offer advice.

Face Off shows just what goes into all that creature feature makeup and the thought process, application and magical transformations that Hollywood makeup artists use for all their creations (not just the monster makeup.) Watching Keaghlan Ashely and Alana Rose turn “normal” looking people into fairies and other sprite-like creatures live in Vegas was fascinating and it is equally so watching these talented artists do so on television weekly.

Face Off - Season 9
Two beautiful ladies – McKenzie Westmore and judge Ve Neill

Sadly, this writer missed the first eight episodes hence missing out on any possible favorites to follow along and root for. It says much for the SyFy program that even not meeting any of the contestants, in the flesh, so to speak, one can still find competitors to get attached to as each one shares their thoughts freely with the viewer. Personalities of each artist are amicable enough that the viewer feels badly whenever one is voted off.

*Sidenote* I was so upset when my favorite Keaghlan was voted off last year before the final I stopped watching! This is one of the few reality shows on television that features wildly talented individuals who perform a sort of magic. Turning people into aliens, ghostly specters, or as in the last episode, men into women as a tribute to the golden days of yore and William Shakespeare. Back in the day when ladies were not allowed on stage…or women who were not ladies, for that matter.

In All That Glitters the competitors left in the show had to take classic female Shakespearean characters, Hecate (which was continually mispronounced), Joan of Arc, et al. and recreate them. The trick was that this week they took very masculine male models and transformed them into these feminine creatures of fiction. This was the challenge and some did better than others.

The magic of Face Off is not in the winning or losing, it is in the revelations of the thought process, what prosthetics are needed/used, and what makeup/color is used for each creation. The format of each episode is the same. The competitors get their brief, pick their assignments and get to work.

Face Off - Season 9
Stevie with her model who looks amazingly like Scarlett Johansson with a tan…

Segments of the show are split into workshop days and each artist is given expert advice from Michael Westmore. By the end of the program the results are judged and after the “safe” contestants are sent back, the last four (best and worst) are left to explain/defend their work.

Megan “Meg” Wilbur won this week with her creation, Stephanie “Stevie” Calabrese was “runner up,” and sadly Ricky Vitus lost and was voted out. (Evan Hedges stayed in by the skin of his teeth.) Somewhat amazingly all of the artists managed to make their manly-men look like ladies. While Evan’s looked a little less than perfect, Ricky’s was deemed the “worst.”

Face Off - Season 9
Ricky Vitus was voted off but not broken down when he left.

SyFy’s Face Off airs Tuesdays on the network. All those who are fans of what goes into the creation of fantasy cinematic visions, whether they be cute hobbits or ‘Oribble Orcs” should tune in.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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