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'Face Off' exit Q&A: 'I honestly don't regret the decision I made'

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Image Credit: Nicole Wilder/Syfy

This week’s Face Off started off on a solemn note when the remaining contestants admitted they missed last week’s eliminated contestant Eddie Holecko. Newbie Laney Parkhurst — who had found herself in the bottom two with Holecko — seemed especially melancholy. “I’m not having fun anymore,” she confessed to the camera. “Maybe this challenge will wake me up.”

Parkhurst’s wake up call came when the group was whisked off to a state park, where host McKenzie Westmore challenged them to create elf warriors based on the runes they saw. Laura Tyler seemed particularly excited, thinking she might even have an advantage since she had extensive knowledge of elves, while a reticent Parkhurst chose “immortality” as her concept. The group got to work, but things came screeching to a halt when Tyler discovered a letter from Parkhurst announcing that she had  decided to quit the show. After a brief debate over how this might affect the week’s challenge, the contestants returned to the lab to focus on the task at hand.

Tyler’s confidence paid off  when she found herself at the top of the pack alongside Tate Steinsiek, who was declared the challenge winner. For the first time this season, Miranda Jory had one of the judges’ least favorite creations, and found herself on the chopping block with Wooley. But this turned out to be a good week to be in the bottom two…. In light of Parkhurst’s premature departure, Jory and Wooley were both spared from elimination.

EW spoke with Parkhurst about why she decided to drop out of the competition, whether she regrets her decision, and what she’s been working on since filming wrapped.

Entertainment Weekly: At what point during the competition did you start to feel homesick?
Laney Parkhurst: Honestly, I don’t feel like the main reason I left was because I was homesick. It was played off that way. I never thought in the beginning that I was going to win and that was never my goal. I made a deal with myself that I wanted to at least make it halfway through and I really have not had that much experience with application and sculpting at all before I went on the show. As I was coming down to it, I was noticing as people left how upsetting it was. I could tell how badly they wanted to be there and — don’t get me wrong, I wanted to be there as well — I never really wanted the money and the car that badly. That wasn’t my goal. I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do things. As people were leaving, for some reason, I started feeling guilty for being there. [I didn’t think anyone] else should go home. I felt like I had accomplished what I’d gone there to accomplish. I created my favorite make-ups I’ve ever done on this show. As a huge fan of the show, I didn’t know I was going to be up against the veterans. The people that they brought on this show, the veterans, [they were] the reason I joined this show. I had always rooted for those people. I wanted to see them win on their seasons. As a fan, I started to look at it like I really wanted to see the remaining veterans battle it out. I made it to be the last of the newbies, which was crazy. I didn’t expect to make it that far.

So it wasn’t homesickness, but did you feel bad about dropping out when you were the last rookie standing?
I was homesick, don’t get me wrong. That was definitely a part of it and there was a lot of pressure as well, but I was looking around the room while I started my sculpture… Miranda was to the right of me, Tate was to the left, Laura and Roy were across. I just kept looking over and thought, “Wow. Their [creations] look so awesome.” For some reason, I started feeling uninspired, even though I love dark elves. That’s totally my thing. I kept looking over and I was interested in what they were doing. I felt almost like a viewer at that point, like, “Oh wow. I want to see this episode.” At that point, it was so quiet and there was so much concentration going on, it was driving me nuts. It got down to the point where we were so busy all the time that I had no idea what day it was. I didn’t know the time. I knew it was around my mom’s birthday [but] I couldn’t figure out if it was actually her birthday or not. For some reason, all I wanted was for someone to tell me the date. No one was speaking at all and I got frustrated, so I started missing my mom and then missing my fiancé. I just wanted to go home.

What did you write in your farewell letter?
I’ve been trying to remember what it said. I kept pausing [the episode on my DVR] to see what it said. I can’t remember exactly, but I think it was along the lines of… that I was feeling homesick and I was started to feel guilty for being there when I could see the passion in their eyes. Even having the slightest feeling of not wanting to be there made me feel bad.

Do you regret not at least finishing the challenge?
I honestly don’t regret the decision I made to leave. I’m happy with it. I feel at peace with it. I thought I would regret it eventually, but, after watching the show last night, I’m really happy with it. As a fan of the show, I feel like the viewers are going to be happy to see the veterans battle it out as well.

What will you take away from your time on Face Off?
It was probably the most amazing adventure I’ve been on in my life because it wasn’t just about makeup, it was experiencing what it’s like to gain a family that quickly. The friends I’ve made are going to be lifelong friends. Going into Face Off, I was nervous about the make-ups I do and I was nervous if I’d be good or not, but once I got there I realized it’s about so much more than just doing makeup.

Who are you rooting for to win?
I really do feel like they brought back the best of the best veterans. It’s hard to say.

You said you were a fan of the show before you were part of it. Was there a veteran you were particularly excited to see on day one?
I’m going to have to say Miranda. We have worked together before. We went to makeup school together. Since we started at the same time, I feel like we should be on the same level, but we’re not. She’s incredibly talented –beyond anything I’ve seen. It’s cool how she can whip up sculptures as quickly as she does with the detail that she does. She wasn’t on the show long the first time, but I know how talented she is. It was cool to work alongside of her even though I never got to be on a team with her.

Hypothetically speaking, if you were to have completed this last Spotlight Challenge, what would you have created?
I wanted to do a male character. I wanted to choose him on my own for the first time. I always do female characters, so I was going to show the judges, “I’ll build a male character if you want me to.” I wanted him to be scary and dark and something outside of my [comfort zone]. They wanted to see that from me and I was going to give it to them. I wanted to do a warrior-type of character and his armor was going to be made of human bones [from people] that he’s killed dipped in gold. I was going to make his skin dark and crackly. I wanted him to be scary rather than my typical girly creatures.

What have you been working on since leaving Face Off?
I’ve actually gotten so much work from the show. The outcome has been pretty amazing. My favorite thing that I’m doing right now is that Eric Fox from season four actually called me up and asked if I would start working at his shop with him. I’m actually on my way to see him right now. I’m going to his shop to start sculpting, which is pretty cool. I’m also working at Universal Studios doing Halloween Horror and then Grinchmas. I also just got a gig doing Ginger’s — Rob Zombie’s drummer — makeup for Halloween, which is amazing.

What’s your ultimate goal?
It’s always been debatable for me. My goal when I started, when I first wanted to become a makeup artist… I actually wanted to do makeup on [dead] bodies, the deceased. When went to makeup school, that was my goal, but once I got out I started falling in love with special effects and I ended up getting a job in an effects shop. I’m young, I’m growing, I’m still experiencing set life. I’m still experiencing working in a shop. I love both, so right now I’m seeing where it takes me.

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

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