Putting on makeup in the morning: there’s a little blush, some mascara, head sculpts, dental appliances, prosthetic appendages, and some fake blood for good measure. At least that’s the case when you’re 29-year-old makeup artist Meagan Hester. Hester, who grew up in Ossining and now lives in Hartsdale, decided to put her special-effects makeup skills to the test by competing in the fourth season of Face Off on SyFy. We caught up with Hester before the show’s premiere next week, on January 15.
Tell us a little bit about your makeup background.
I started as a hairstylist, so I got my license in that first. But then I wanted to switch to makeup, so I went out to California and went to MUD. There, I fell in love with special effects makeup.
What made you want to switch?
I wasn’t challenged by salon life. I wanted to work more on the creative side.
What’s your favorite kind of design?
I love fantasy makeup. A lot of my designs are fantasy-inspired. I also love Tim Burton and his kind of dark visuals that are also really pretty.
What were you doing before you were cast on the Face Off?
I worked a lot of celebrities on Music Choice, so I was working more in the beauty genre. You’ll notice that on the show.
What made you want to be on the show?
I wasn’t planning on auditioning. I was working at a makeup show in New York, and I was doing makeup for Mehron. The producers saw me and told me I should audition. I thought, “No!” I worked so hard to get where I was with all my clients, and I didn’t want to lose that reputation. It scared me to put that on the line. But the more I talked with the producers at Syfy, the more I realized they‘re awesome. They’re not there to make you look bad — they’re there to show your art.
What do you think gave you an initial edge over other competitors?
The artists there were so talented, I got confused about what my edge was! But I think the fact that I work with beauty makeup every day helped. For the show, you need to know shadows. You need to know contours. You need to know all of that.
What was the best part about being on the show?
My favorite part was the anticipation, not knowing what was coming. It was such a rush. I’m one of those people that thrive on pressure. But the amount of pressure you get on this show — or any show that challenges your skills — is mental and physical, and you’re not prepared for it. I don’t think anyone can say that they’re ready for it. But that pressure is also what drives me to go after what I want.
What was the worst part of filming?
The fact that you can’t really talk to your family. It’s so frustrating. At the end of the day, you just want to call your loved ones and vent!
What movie makeup artists have impressed you recently?
There were more back in the day — now it’s usually combined with visual effects. But I’m a huge fan of Dick Smith and Rick Baker’s work. Ve Neill, who is one of the judges, is inspirational because she’s a woman and I’m a woman, and her designs are very beautiful.
Are you going to watch, or are you afraid of the editing?
I’m going to watch it for sure.
Check out a sneak peek of the fourth season of Face Off below: