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'Face Off' exit Q&A: 'We all have our off days'

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Image Credit: Nicole Wilder/Syfy

The Spotlight Challenge on this week’s episode of Face Off can be summed up in five words; “dark, sexy alien circus performers.”

After a performance from vaudeville circus act Cirque Berzerk, co-founder and artistic director Suzanne Bernel advised the contestants to create a make-up that would stay intact as the wearer performed acrobatics. The group then learned that — surprise, surprise — members of the Cirque Berzerk troupe would be their models. The eight remaining contestants split off into teams of two. One team masterminded an intergalactic Wonder Woman, while another settled on an other-worldly contortionist. While most of the duos worked well together, season three’s Alana Schiro and newcomer Laney Parkhurst butted heads. Parkhurst complained, “Alana isn’t liking anything I’m doing,” while Schiro worried that her “bad edges” were going to get her sent home…again. The pair was rarely on the same page, but they still managed to complete the challenge.

Come elimination day, the Cirque Berzerk troupe performed wearing the contestants’ make-up creations. All of the looks remained intact, but there were still a few glitches. According to the judges, newbie Eddie Holecko and season two’s Miranda Jory were the week’s top team. Jory was once again singled out for her brilliant application and was declared the winner. Schiro and Parkhurst found themselves on the bottom, with the judges noting that their creation didn’t look like an alien and featured a “crap” paint job and poorly executed scales. Upon hearing the critique, both girls burst into tears. In the end, Schiro was the one sent home.

EW spoke with Schiro about what it was like being back on the show, why she doesn’t blame Parkhurst for her elimination, and what she’s been working on since filming wrapped.

Entertainment Weekly: What was it like being back on Face Off again?
Alana Schiro: I felt really honored that they would ask me over so many of the talented females who had competed. I felt humbled and driven, I wanted to come back and show what I could do. I’ve been working so hard this year on my own bringing my own characters to life and contributing to other people’s work. I’ve learned so much.

Did you have a different approach going into your second season?
I wanted to go into it believing in myself a lot more and not feeling so nervous, but I think as the competition progresses that competitive spirit runs high. There’s a lot of tension. I’m not a competitive person, so coming into it, I didn’t want to be competitive and I think I stayed true to that.

There is often some tension between the contestants, but most say there’s a real camaraderie among them. Did you feel that too? 
I’d say we’re a family, but families do fight. We all know one another inside and out. We all know what to say to one another to tick one another off. A lot of the time, I felt like people were trying to say the kinds of things that would bug you to get you going so you’d get riled up and get your mind off the game. Frank likes to play the game like that and I don’t. Honestly, I’m all peace, love, and happiness. I went into it feeling the love of my competitors — Miranda is one of my best friends, Laney is one of my best friends — so to share that experience with them was amazing. I’m just so thankful. I’ve known Miranda [since before the show] and look up to her work. I’d always wished we’d had the opportunity to do Face Off together. To go into it with her was a blessing. It was a cool experience to go into the first challenge with her. It’s interesting to see how much we’ve grown over the years and to take what we’ve learned and put it together was a fantastic experience.

What was it like having the Cirque Berzerk performers on this week?
I was squealing like a pig when they came out. I love the show. I’m super bummed it sent me home because I’m all about the circus and I love aliens. Cirque Berzerk performed so beautifully. When they came out, I really was screaming. If you saw the outtakes, I’m squealing with joy. The performer, the model that we had was incredible. The whole thing was a great experience. It was just hard.

You so excited, but you were also sure you were going home?
I just knew. There were two factors that made me realize I was going home: When Laney said, “I don’t do aliens,” because anytime you say, “I can not” or “I will not,” you won’t. No matter what it is, you won’t. The second she said that, I thought, “Oh no,” and I just tried to get her to believe we could do it. What also made me realize that I was going to go home was that we got a male model and both Laney and I are very feminine [artists]. We’re all about expressing ourselves through the art, so it was difficult to bring ourselves into this male character. We felt limited due to the restraints of the challenge because of all the movement. Everything combined felt uninspiring. I’m a super inspired artist, so for me to not feel anything… it broke my heart. I’m super creative and it’s hard to have a mental block, but it happens to everyone. It just sent me home. Every make-up artist [has a bad day] and does bad make-up. It’s just that two million people aren’t always watching.

It was a joint project though. Why did you have it in your head that you were going home as opposed to Laney?
I just knew that if we were on the bottom, which felt inevitable… I felt like I was trying to give it my all and Laney was distant from the project. She’s an amazingly talented artist and I’m not blaming her at all. It’s just hard to compromise when one of us wasn’t really into it. I’m intuitive. I could feel it in my bones. The second we walked out after Mackenzie [Westmore presented] the challenge, I just knew.

You mentioned that you and Laney are good friends outside of the show. How do you know each other?
It’s a coincidence. Miranda did a make-up for IMAX last year where she designed make-up for Laney and I actually applied it. I came in on the day of application to apply the make-up to Laney and that’s how we met. We totally hit it off. Miranda — you see her, she’s super frantic and she’s wild and crazy while she does her thing — and [we] laughed about it the whole time. So we were friends outside of Face Off, but Face Off brought us a lot closer together. It made me fall in love with the girl. I’m not upset about [losing the challenge] because we all have our off days towards the end of the competition because the pressure is on and it’s hard to be inspired. I’m not mad about it at all. I’m just thankful I was there with my friends. Our friendship grew stronger. It’s not something that broke us apart. Even though I got sent home on a challenge with one of my closest friends, it’s like, “Boo hoo. Oh well. I’ll see you when I get home, kid.”

Is there anything you’d do differently if you could do the challenge again?
You know what, no. Everything happens for a reason. I really believe that.

You mentioned having a male model though. If you’d had it your way, you wouldn’t have opted for a female model? 
I think so. I think it would have inspired me a lot more. I definitely have more designs that are geared towards women. That’s more inspiring to me and I think Laney would have been more inspired too, but… We felt creatively limited. Until this point, we’d done so well together. That’s obviously why I chose her to be my partner on the challenge. More than anything, I was [disappointed] that we didn’t see eye to eye. To be totally honest, I can not see that girl upset. It was hard for me to tell her how I felt because I love her so much and to creatively limit her was not my goal in this. I wanted her to shine.

What are you working on now that filming has wrapped?
My roses! My Rotten Roses are my whole world. I started a monster flower boutique. I have an online store on Etsy. It’s this awesome garden of evil. Each of my flowers are handmade and completely unique. They have eyeballs and teeth. From a distance it looks like a flower, but when you get close it’s a monster. All of them have so much character. I put my whole heart into each and every one of them. It’s cool that all of my fans can have a piece of me. Each one takes me longer than I charge, I’ll tell you that much. I’m trying to keep my prices low so that everyone can have one.

What is your ultimate goal in the industry?
I really want to be Lady Gaga meets Betsey Johnson. I don’t see myself just doing someone else’s make-up. I really want to be a designer. I don’t want to just do the make-up, I want to do the costumes, I want to do the accessories, I want to pick out the toe nails and the finger nails for the darn thing. I picture myself being more of a creature stylist then just a make-up artist.

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


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