A familiar face popped up on Face Off this week. Former judge Patrick Tatopoulos–a production designer for Pitch Black, Underworld, and Independence Day–stopped by for a motorcycle themed Foundation Challenge. The group was tasked with creating an original motorcycle racer based on the colorful vehicles that filled the room. The group excitedly got to work… and eventually the verdict was in. Tatopoulos ultimately chose Tanner White and Daran Holt as his top two favorites. However, there could only be one winner. Holt’s expertly executed creation wound up taking home top prize–immunity for this week’s the Spotlight Challenge.
From there, it was onto the main event where host McKenzie Westmore and judge Glenn Hetrick announced that the artists would work in pairs of their own choosing in order to create their own original rockstar. Using various electric guitars that filled the room, the group was prompted to create a musician that echoed the vibe of the guitar they selected.
The pairings included: Corinne Foster and Graham Schofield, George Schminky and Daran Holt, Tanner White and Chloe Sens, Cat Paschen and Niko Gonzalez, Rashaad Santiago and Tyler Green, and Tess Laeh and Matt Silva. Minor drama ensued, but nothing that couldn’t be overcome. That’s excluding Laeh and Silva who had their work cut out for them. The duo had decided upon a rockabilly themed goat, but mentor Michael Westmore pointed out that their creation’s face didn’t really echo its concept. Upon hearing this, Laeh had a minor meltdown and could hardly be consoled. Silva initially gave her space, but–with limited time–the two eventually got back to work.
Judgement day came all too soon. Schminky and Holt and Santiago and Green’s creations wound up in the top, with Holt–no immunity win necessary–being named winner for his creation’s “fascinating head.” Meanwhile, White and Sens and Silva and Laeh found themselves in the bottom. Ultimately only Laeh was sent home for her part in a make-up which the judges said “lacked complexity.”
EW caught up with Laeh 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.
What was the experience like being on Face Off?
It was definitely a roller coaster. It was extremely stressful. I wasn’t expecting the level of stress [I experienced], but it was also extremely exciting and very rewarding. It was loving too.
Even though every one is a competitor, I always hear that everyone feels a real sense of camaraderie amongst one another.
Definitely. I don’t know about past seasons, but this season, for sure, we were one giant family. I still get phone calls from everyone all the time. It’s one big support group.
You mentioned the unexpected stress. Had you followed the show previously at all?
I realized how stressful it was going to be with [the tight deadlines]. Time management is something that I struggle with, so I knew I was going to be stressed out, but I wasn’t prepared for the stress of being away from my family and all the challenges [that come with] being sequestered [for filming]. My husband is one of my biggest supporters and I’m used to being able to call him whenever I have a problem and not being able to have that was really hard on me. I’ve never been away from him for more than a week, so not being able to even just say hi was weird.
What was it like having Patrick Tatopoulos on for the Foundation Challenge?
I was extremely excited to see Patrick. He was one of my favorite judges from the show. I respect the work that he’s done. I was excited to get his feedback. I come from a video game background, so I was trying to go for a Mario Kart kind of character, where she was a bumblebee racer. I felt pretty good going into it because that was one of the first times where I didn’t feel rushed. I finally found myself in the lab. I wasn’t running around searching for items. A calm [came over me] where I was like, “Yeah. I can get this done in time.”
How did you feel going into the Spotlight Challenge?
With the guitar challenge, my heart kind of sank because I know absolutely nothing about music. I’m not a very musical person. The only things that I really listen to are Disney music and Frank Sinatra–and neither one of those have guitars in them. I was absolutely lost from the very beginning.
What was going through your mind as you were working on the challenge? And what was it like working with Matt?
Going into the challenge, we got to pick our partners, which was awesome, but I kind of got set up with Matt. I didn’t really know how I was going to co-mingle with Matt when everybody else seemed to be pretty cohesive with their teams. And we got last pick on the guitar. I didn’t even get any of the guitars that I wanted. So me and Matt going into it, I had one random silly idea that we should make this rockabilly goat. I decided if I can’t figure out this challenge, I might as well have fun with it and make something that’s going to make me laugh and hopefully the audience laugh. Working with Matt was amazing. I know he’s been getting a lot of flack on Facebook because it seems like every time he’s partnered up with somebody they go home or they’re on the bottom. But he’s actually a very sweet guy. He was very supportive during my breakdown. We had a lot of fun together. The entire time we were laughing at each other and doing little Elvis Presley impersonations.
Did you at any point during the challenge think this could be your week to go home?
When I found out what the challenge was and when I didn’t get any of the partners that I wanted and I didn’t get any of the guitars I wanted, I kind of thought I was at least going to be in the bottom. I didn’t necessarily think that I was going home because I thought my design was whimsical and cute.
On judgement day, one of your horns fell off. What was your reaction? How could this have been avoided?
Hindsight is definitely twenty, twenty. I should have made a cowl, so that I had more support with the foam latex. I should have superglued in the horns. There’s a lot of things that could have been avoided, but in the heat of the moment you don’t think of it until it’s time for them to go out on stage and you’re just screwed.
Horns aside, is there anything you’d do different if you had to do the challenge over?
There were a lot of things that I wanted to do differently. I definitely wanted to go more billy goat than Matt wanted. Matt wanted to go very literal with the guitar body. I really wanted to make it more of a goat with guitar-like elements to it. I wanted to have strings going down to the nose. There were a lot of embellishments that I wanted, [but] Matt didn’t see where I was going with it, so it didn’t end up happening.
Did you agree with the judges feedback?
I think the judges were pretty solid on everything. Neville [Page] said it wasn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but that he really liked the design. Glenn even told me before I left, if this was on any other season, I would have been safe if not in one of the top looks. I was on a really hard season and, unfortunately, the horns fell off. I think that I deserved to go home this week just because of the horns alone. Everybody else’s make-ups were very functional and they had clear and concise make-ups. I got the short end of the stick.
Who should we keep an eye on from the group?
I know you keep hearing this, but it’s hard to say. The judges kept telling us, “You guys are making it harder and harder every week. Every single one of you is extremely talented. We almost don’t know who to send home.” They’re all so talented in every respect–good sculptors, good painters, good artists. It’s one big smorgasbord of awesome.
What are you working on now that filming has wrapped?
I actually just moved to Seattle and I’m opening a company with my best friend called Creatures Grimm. We’re planning on going to a bunch of conventions this year and selling unique items. We’re trying to integrate special effects make-up into the cosplay community.
What’s your ultimate goal in terms of doing make-up?
I would love for my company to get jumpstarted from this. I’d love to [teach] demos and classes showing kids who want to do this even just as a hobby, showing them how they can achieve something that’s spectacular. My ultimate goal? Of course, like everybody, I want to go to work on the big movies. If I could work on one of the Star Wars movies that’s coming out? My dream [would be] accomplished.
Face Off airs Tuesday’s at 9 PM ET on Syfy.