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Facing the competition

Special effects makeup artists find it's the survival of the most creative in Syfy's new reality TV series.

February 01, 2011|By Joyce Rudolph, Joyce.Rudolph@latimes.com

“Now I’m learning from talented makeup artists who have been in the business 15 to 20 years. It’s an exciting field. You find out something new every day.”

In the first episode, the contestants had to dress a model as a half-man, half-animal. Areford and her teammate chose an ostrich. But when a competing team took all the feathers provided for the challenge, she and her teammate only had a few boas and one long feather to work with. “With that little amount, that inspired me to make this lavish costume that represented an ostrich through human wardrobe,” she said.

Both local contestants agree vying for the $100,000 prize is worth all the abuse the judges are giving them. “I think it’s a nice little carrot they dangle in front of you,” Ippolito said.

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But yes, “it’s awkward to be put in the hyper-real situations they are putting us in. I was excited and anxious all at the same time.” It’s not so much about the prize, Areford said, but the opportunity to receive honest criticism from other contestants and the judges.

“If anything, this show is more of a condensed version of reality,” she said, adding that in the real world it would take a year to hear how well she had done a film project. “I never thought I would learn so much in so little time. I’ve learned to take something simple and make it pop.” The contestants have also been ambitious in their vision and how they brought it to life, said Dwight D. Smith, executive producer.

“The judges were blown away by what they were able to do,” he said. “And they know all too well the difficulty in trying to pull off such elaborate designs in such a quick time. The competition is pretty much a pressure cooker all the time.”

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