“This is going to be a season of extremes,” announced host McKenzie Westmore on Face Off‘s premiere episode, where viewers got their first look at this season’s competitors. From Rashaad Santiago, a self-taught artist who currently supports his family by working at a fast food restaurant, to Tyler Green, who quit his job as a dental lab technician to compete, the season is chock full of contestants who are in it to win it.
After brief introductions, we watched the group get down to business for their first Foundation Challenge. The artists were instructed to create an extreme character that represented them. The only catch was that they had to incorporate one of the over-the-top wigs on display. The winner would receive immunity and be safe from the first week of elimination.
Academy Award winning make-up artist Tami Lane (Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) guest judged the challenge. “In order to create a cohesive character, you have to have good make-up as well as good hair. They both work together,” she advised. “You will destroy a character if the make-up is bad and the hair or great or vice versa.” No arguments there. Two hours later, she named Bethany Serpico and George Schminky her two favorites; though ultimately only Schminky was granted immunity for creating an unexpected prosthetic chest.
Next the group was whisked off to a castle where they were presented with a Beauty & the Beast inspired Spotlight Challenge. Teams of two were assigned by Westmore. Schminky, the odd man out, joined a duo of his choosing. Meanwhile, writer/producer/director Stephen Sommers (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, The Mummy franchise) joined as guest judge and advised the artists to create a beast that was both scary and sexy, “so that when Belle kisses him at the end, we can’t be repulsed.”
Things began smoothly, but on day two the contestants ran into various molding issues and minor tension filled the air. Rashad Santiago and Chloe Sens chipped slowly away at their stuck mold while Tess Laeh fought back tears after experiencing her own molding setback with partner Niko Gonzalez.
Elimination day eventually arrived. Everyone frantically put the finishing touches on their creations and then waited patiently for the judges’ feedback.
The verdict? Santiago and Sens’ creation was the judges’ top pick–with Sens singled out for her detailed sculpture, one of the most complex first week make-ups the judges said they’d ever seen.
Conversely, Bethany Serpico and Tyler Green landed in the bottom alongside Margaret Caragan and Matthew Silva. Though only one contestant would be sent home… Ultimately Caragan found herself on the chopping block for creating a make-up that–the judges said–wasn’t sexy or scary and lacked detail with a bland paint scheme. Caragan looked stoic, but faced the facts.
EW caught up with Caragan about what it was like being a part of the show, what she would have done differently in her challenge, and what she’s been working on since filming wrapped.
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