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'Face Off' exit Q&A: 'I don't regret it at all'

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Image Credit: Nicole Wilder/Syfy

Forget imitation, reinvention was the sincerest form of flattery on last night’s episode of Face Off. When horror hostess Elvira showed up to play guest judge, she challenged the nine remaining artists to update her iconic goth-meets-Valley-Girl image.

“I’m going to be looking for a hip, young, edgy take on my look,” Elvira told the contestants as she explained this week’s Foundation Challenge. Once the works were completed, Elvira singled out Roy Wooley (season three) and Tate Steinsiek (season one) for creating her favorites. The win — and immunity from elimination — went to Wooley for his purple, bat-themed Mistress of the Dark, which Elvira chose because it was a “combination of spooky, sexy, and funny.”

From there it was onto the Spotlight Challenge, where each contestant was tasked with inventing a character inspired by an art movement. With only half of the allotted time remaining, Steinsiek dropped his mold on his finger, which resulted in a bloody mess. The production team ordered him to stop working and go see a doctor, causing him to fret about being able to complete the challenge. Not to worry, the contestants worked together to keep the injured artist’s creation on track until he returned. When it came time to face the judges, newbie Laney Parkhurst, Miranda Jory (season two), and Laura Tyler (season three) had the week’s top looks, while Steinsiek and newbies Scott Ramp and Eddie Holecko were on the bottom.

In the end, Tyler was declared the winner and Ramp was sent home. Read on to find out what Ramp said about what he would have done differently, what he’s working on now, and whether he’d be up for coming back to Face Off as a veteran. 

Entertainment Weekly: What was it like being a part of Face Off?
Scott Ramp: I had an absolutely wonderful time. I made 15 new friends… well more than that, actually. I met a lot of people in production that I loved too. We had a great time. I went into it planning to have fun and I did have fun. I regret that I never got a top look, but other than that I was proud of what I did.

What was it like to compete against the veteran contestants?
At first it felt highly unfair because we felt like they knew where everything was. They knew the pace and the way [the competition] worked. But we’re all living together in the same place, so you end up becoming good friends…. I think I probably would have gone a lot further if it was 16 new people instead of 8 returning veterans, practically champions.

Would you be open to returning if they were to do another veteran season?
Yeah. I’d be happy to go back and do it again. I didn’t do as well as I would have liked to.

What was it like meeting Elvira?
That was funny for me because I have a Halloween business. I’ve met her on several different occasions, going all the way back to 1986. We don’t hang out, we’re not friends, but I’ve met her before and she looked at me and had this familiar [look on her face] like, “I know you from somewhere.” It was pretty funny.

How did you feel about this week’s Foundation Challenge?
I enjoyed playing around with a model I hadn’t had a chance to work with yet. We get to know our models. We have a small model pool, so it was fun to have someone new. It was fun to create something on a beauty scale as opposed to some of the monster stuff we did. I like doing that.

What was your initial reaction to this episode’s Spotlight Challenge?
My initial reaction was, “This is going to be awesome!” because I know a lot about art. My wife is an art person, so I know about different kinds of art. When I got to choose, I went straight for surrealism because it’s something I really like. Surrealism is technically based on nightmares, so I thought, “I’ve got some cool ones I can use.”

Can you tell us more about your concept? Did you feel confident going into the challenge?
I did something representative of my dad. I even joked with the judges… at one point I said, “I don’t mean to make this a Face Off therapy session or anything.” I used the fact that I loved my dad, but also the fact that my dad passed away due to alcoholism and cigarettes. I brought that into the creation and the character. I didn’t want to turn anybody off by making it so personal, but that’s what art is. Art is supposed to evoke an emotion and it doesn’t always have to be a positive one. Ve [Neill] actually said to me, it’s not on camera, but she said that it was very personal and that it reminded her of her father, so she didn’t like it. Glenn [Hetrick] said, “If this were a real work of art, I don’t think I would buy it,” and I said, “Well, neither would I.” If I’m going to have art in my house, I want something that’s pretty, but that’s not what surrealism is about. I went with the challenge. I was happy with what I did. All the other contestants said it was great. So if I had to go home for something, I went home for something I’m proud of.

Is there anything you’d do differently if you could do the challenge over?
You know what’s funny? With this challenge, I don’t think so. Because I pushed all my boundaries. I fabricated… I did a different style of make-up than I normally do. I did tons and tons of fabrication. I worked very hard on all aspects of the character. In other episodes, I probably should have pushed myself harder to fabricate and maybe go a little bit bigger. I think maybe I didn’t go big enough. Part of that is because in my field, in doing what I do for Halloween, I have a reputation for doing realistic, subtle things. I was proud of that because the judges always liked that my pieces moved well on the actors’ faces and they could never find edges and the application was great. Like I said, I had a wonderful time and if it meant that I wish I could push myself a little further, well, hey… hopefully they’ll invite me back and then I will.

It seems like every time a contestant feels like they’re taking a risk, that’s the week they get eliminated. Is that just a coincidence or something more?
I never thought about it that way, but that might be true. I know RJ [Haddy] took a risk when he went home and Lyma [Millot] took a risk the week before. You know what? Yeah, that’s actually a good point. My one fear was that making this based on a personal thing might be too much, but, like I said, surrealism is based on nightmares in real life. I chose that particular art [movement] and decided to go all out. The judges and the contestants, everyone said, “As soon as the look walked on stage, it was obvious that this was very personal to you.”

Even though this is a competition, everyone pulled together to help Tate when he got injured. Why?
It’s a competition, but…. They’re shooting all the time, but it turns into an hour, so you didn’t get to see that every single one of us did something. Frank [Ippolito] and Roy [Wooley] helped pull apart the mold. Laura [Tyler] helped clean out the mold. Alana [Schiro] and I sat outside with the pressure washer for a half an hour. We all took our time to do that. We even agreed with each other that if he needed it each of us would give him 15 minutes of our four hours on application day to help him. He’s such a pro. He loved it, but he didn’t want it. He said, “No, it’s okay,” but he was so honestly thrilled that we helped. Like I said, at this point, we’re all living in the same house, sleeping in the same room. You get to know each other. These are your friends. You don’t want to see your friends fail. It is a competition, but that’s not the way you want to win. You don’t want to win like, “Alright! Somebody hurt themselves! Now I have a better chance!” When that happened, there was never any doubt that we would immediately start helping out.

What are you working on now that filming has wrapped?
I’m in my 21st year running Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Fright Fest event [in Valencia, CA]. I’m actually up here right now setting up because it starts next week. We put together about 500 people a night. I actually have Face Off people working with me. That’s kind of fun. I’ve met a lot of people through doing the show. A lot of these people I knew before, like Rod [Maxwell] who was on season three. He’s worked with me for a couple of years. Katie Machaiek, who was on season four… I’d worked with her before she was on the show. It’s a small world. Some of us knew each other before and some of us didn’t, but it was neat going into the house and getting to know everyone. I wish that more of the people on the show lived out here. I’d love to have them help me out.

What is your ultimate goal in the industry?
My ultimate goal isn’t quite what everybody else’s is. I’m not all that big a fan of doing movies and things like that. I usually do smaller budget things or projects where I have a little more creative control. I’ve never been a big “I have to do a big budget motion picture” [kind of guy]. I created my own Halloween business almost twenty years ago. My goal is just to try to make my Halloween business, called The Scream Team, known. I sell to haunted houses, haunted events, movies. I sell all over the world. It was nice to have people connect my name with The Scream Team because people didn’t necessarily know who I was. That’s the only reason I wish I had gone on a little further and done a little bit better, but it doesn’t matter. The people who know me and know my work are happy with what I did.

Face Off airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c on the Syfy channel.

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