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Style & Design

'Face Off' exit interviews: "I was second-guessing myself a lot"

Meagan-Hester

Image Credit: Nicole Wilder/Syfy

Alien werewolves, two-headed giants and demons from a frozen-over hell have sprouted from the paintbrushes and sculpting tools of this season’s Face Off contestants. In last night’s episode, contestants on the Syfy effects makeup show were tasked with creating a newly discovered species using luminescent paint.

Two contestants were sent home in last night’s episode in the show’s first ever double elimination. Meagan Hester’s attempt to incorporate a venus flytrap into her creature failed to wow the judges, and Eric Zapata’s cave-dwelling amphibian/reptile also was the target of tough criticism.

EW caught up with both Hester and Zapata to talk about what went wrong with their final makeups, their favorite off-camera moments on the show and what professional effects makeup gigs have been keeping them busy since their elimination.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So you’re the last girl standing this season. Did the vibe on the show change once all your fellow female contestants had been eliminated?
MEAGAN HESTER: It’s weird – when it dwindled down to only a few girls left, the vibe didn’t really change too much. But when I was by myself with only guys left, I felt the manly room. A little too masculine, but it was cool.

You lost a lot of time this week when you had to be taken to the hospital. How many hours did you lose in the lab for this challenge?
I pretty much lost the whole day. You could actually see that I was fine in the morning, and then I got food poisoning. So around halfway into the day, which is when we started at the lab, I actually lost the entire day because I wasn’t functioning and my concept and stuff were so out the window because I was so sick. I’ve never had food poisoning before, so for me, I had no idea what was wrong with me. I thought I had the flu or something.

Not getting food poisoning aside, is there anything else you would do differently if you had this challenge to do over again?
If I had to do this challenge over, if I didn’t have the food poisoning, I think my idea would have been more concrete. As far as the sculpt, I like the way it went. I wish I could have put more detail into it and also put more detail into the whole conceptual part of it. That’s what really hit me in the end, when they asked me exactly what it was. My mind in that moment was so just exerted from being sick that I was just happy that makeup was up there, so I kind of wasn’t prepared to explain what it was.

You’ve had a lot of cool guest judges this season, from Bryan Singer to John Rhys-Davies to Jon Landau last night. Which one were you most excited to meet?
I enjoyed when we were able to work with Walking Dead producer [Gail Anne Hurd]. I was so blown away that she judged us, and even the fact that I won that Foundation Challenge was unbelievable. I’m a huge fan of The Walking Dead.

That Foundation Challenge was one of your strongest moments of the show. You churned out zombie after zombie.
I’m good with quick makeup. That’s something that I’ve always been great at. I work in New York, and if they need someone in 10 minutes, they’re done in 10 minutes. What I think happened with me with these [Face Off] challenges is that I questioned myself because there’s so much time allotted within three days. Instead of sticking to one thing, I would question myself.

Several of your fellow contestants had the opposite problem, being too ambitious with a design that really needed more than three days to make.
These men are crazy sculptors. I’ve never in my life seen people sculpt the way that they do. They can pull out a full creature suit in three days, and that’s unheard of. It was crazy.

Which of your makeups on Face Off were you most proud of?
I actually like the one that I was sent home on. I thought my sculpt was cool, and I really enjoyed that one. I loved the first challenge. I wasn’t questioning myself at that point because I wasn’t intimidated by anyone, so I really went into that full-on.

What are you working on now?
Right now I’m on a set in Kansas with [fellow Face Off contestant] Anthony [Kosar]. We’re working on a zombie shoot that’s going to be exhibited in Sacred Gallery in New York City. It’s a pretty big set. It’s about 15 zombies, and it’s gonna be a bunch of pictures for a gallery.

What other makeup work have you done since you wrapped on Face Off?
I own a company with my partner Tyler Green, G&H Effects, which is in New York. We did a huge makeup that was on the Kelly and Michael show over Halloween. We’re also starting a cancer foundation for prosthesis [which will provide custom silicone prosthetics to cancer survivors after surgery]. So we’re in the midst of making that right now.

NEXT PAGE: Eric Zapata on his final challenge, his favorite moment at Comic-Con and clashing with Autumn Cook last week

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