There are a million reality show contests on TV these days, but one that has gained a real cult following is Syfy’s special effects makeup series, “Face Off,” hosted by McKenzie Westmore. Lest you think she’s just another pretty spokesmodel for the show, Westmore has serious connections in the makeup business. Her dad is makeup artist Michael Westmore, known for his work in “Star Trek” and his Academy award-winning work on the film “Mask.”
The show launched season 6 last night and we sat down to talk with McKenzie about it.
Q: As the daughter of makeup legend Michael Westmore, who mentors the contestants on “Face Off,” were you his makeup guinea pig growing up?
McKenzie Westmore: Oh, yes! Between my brother and I, I remember going to “Star Trek” conventions with my dad and being his model to show how the Dax spots were hand done.
Q: If you weren’t already the poster girl of Trekkies everywhere, you certainly are now, knowing that. What’s it like not only getting to work on such an amazing reality show, but working with your dad?
MW: It’s a dream come true. My parents are my best friends so to work with my dad — who not only is amazing at what he does but also the nicest most humble man you’ll meet — is such a blessing. I never take any of this for granted and I realize how lucky I am to have such a great job that has become a family affair as well.
Q: Have you ever considered trying your hand as an artist as well and getting into the family business?
MW: Yes, I have. And, as a teen, before being cast in “Passions,” I was studying makeup as well as helping my dad in the lab at home. I wanted to keep the family name going but at the end of the day acting & singing were my passions. “Face Off” has become the best of all worlds.
Q: As someone who has sort of walked in both worlds as an artist and model, how does your personal knowledge of special effects makeup help you host “Face Off?”
MW: I certainly know my way around a lab. I know the products, the different methods. It’s helpful of course because there is so much that goes into being a special effects makeup artist. I also continue to learn new things and study new techniques.
Q: There are a ton of reality TV contests out there, but what do you think sets “Face Off” apart from other reality shows?
MW: I love that the focus is on a true craft & art form. We don’t focus on the drama. Also having the instant gratification of the transformations really sets “Face Off” apart.
Q: What has been your favorite moment of the series so far?
MW: There have been many moments but one of my favorites was RJ’s Tim Burton makeup. When the model put the bra around Ve’s neck I almost died!
(The makeup was a Tim Burton inspired bellhop with a “chest of drawers” torso stuffed with lingerie. When judge Ve Neill stepped closer during judging, the model added some lingerie to her attire.)
Q: The trailers for this season promise bigger and wilder challenges, and there are some pretty impressive glimpses in the trailer. Can you give us a little teaser of what to expect when in Season 6?
MW: Indeed, we are bigger and bolder (this season.) A big twist was a trip to Japan and seeing the contestants continue to be challenged. This season’s artists are also so incredibly talented. I think the audience will have a very tough time guessing who will go to the finale. We also saw some first time makeups that blew us all away.
If you’re ready to be blown away as well, “Face Off” airs Tuesdays on the Syfy Channel.
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