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Sweet and even-tempered Heather Henry was the sixth to
depart Syfy’s makeup-competition series FACE OFF. The Dallas-based FX artist
gave us some choice dirt on the show, Gary Coleman’s penis and the I SPIT ON
YOUR GRAVE remake.
FANGORIA: What’s a nice girl like you doing in an industry
HEATHER HENRY: Well… [Laughs] My bio mentioned that I have a
sharp tongue and a sick sense of humor, but I guess that never came through in
the final edit. I’ve always loved art, and I’ve always loved movies, but for
some reason it never occurred to me to have that as a career until after
college. Some friends made a short film and I made a fake head to get cut off,
and I really enjoyed it, and I needed a career change. So I just started
pursuing it. I took all the makeup classes at a community college that I could,
and all the theater classes and set design and lighting. I saved up my money
and went to the Joe Blasco school and never looked back.
FANG: I know there’s a lot of film production in Texas. Are
you finding there are a lot of makeup FX opportunities there as well?
HENRY: Sometimes. I worked on PRISON BREAK, which was heavy
with cuts and bruises, and a lot of tattoos. I got really good at getting
people dirty and bloody, bruised and cut up. After that I worked on CHASE,
which was kind of similar—a lot of fights and cuts and bruises. And then I
worked on GCB, which was the opposite [laughs]. In between those shows, I’ve
just worked on a lot of independent films, and a couple of big-budget films,
but always as an additional makeup artist.
FANG: What was your audition process for FACE OFF? I’ve
talked to some contestants and it took weeks, and for others it took months.
HENRY: I watched the first season and loved it. I thought it
looked like the best time ever, even though I’m a bit reserved and I never
wanted to be on television, never had any aspirations for that. I was actually
working on the GCB pilot, and I took a Saturday and did a quick makeup on
myself using a piece I’d made for somebody else. I sent it in and didn’t really
expect anything to happen from that audition, but I actually got a call that
day asking me if I’d done all the stuff, if I’d made all the pieces and if
everything was mine. And a few days later, they told me they’d like to fly me
to Los Angeles in a few weeks for the finals. Four or five days before I flew
out there, they told us about a new test: a full makeup on ourselves in two
hours. I went to the store and bought everything I could possibly need, and
treated it like a challenge. I got as much done in those days that I could
possibly get done.
Then I flew to LA and they had us do our makeup tests, and
we had psychological evaluations and interviews and camera tests and all sorts
of stuff. It was a few months after that that we finally found out if we were
on the show. That was the most agonizing part. I actually had a job offer to go
to Germany, which was a great opportunity and I really wanted to go. But I just
kept holding out, because I had this feeling that I was going to be on FACE
OFF. I didn’t want to turn down a great job for a possible job, but I did. And
I’m really glad it paid off.
FANG: What was the hardest part of the FACE OFF experience?
HENRY: Not having any contact with anybody you knew before
the show. Everything starts to feel very surreal. You get really wrapped up in
what you’re doing at the house. That was probably the hardest part for me. In a
technical way, although we had so many supplies, we didn’t have a lot of the
materials I’m used to using. We had a different brand, or we had something
similar but not quite the same. That was actually really hard for me. You get
used to your certain products. They didn’t have anything that could be
chemically harmful, so we didn’t have any eurothanes, plastics, fiberglass,
stuff I’m used to using. We had to kind of go back to old-school ways of doing
FANG: Let’s talk about the judges for a second. Is it my
imagination, or is Ve Neill tougher on the women?
HENRY: I definitely feel Ve is tougher on the women. I know
she loves that women are in the industry, and maybe that’s why she’s harder on
them. I’m not really sure. But I definitely felt like she was tougher on the
ladies. She wouldn’t let anything slide with us. I felt it. I just thought
maybe it was just me.
FANG: What are your thoughts on the judges overall? Are they
right on with their criticisms? Are they overly harsh?
HENRY: I do think typically they’re right on, but they’re
still overly harsh [laughs]. I guess that makes good television. I think if
you’d asked them their opinions outside of the show, they wouldn’t be as brutal
as they are on it. Some things they say are for entertainment purposes, but the
critiques are usually pretty accurate, I believe. I respect all their opinions.
I usually looked forward to their critiques, until that final episode [laughs].
But I knew it was bad, so I was actually wondering why I was spared Glenn
[Hetrick’s] wrath. Ve was really hard on me, and Patrick was kind of hard, and
he’s always the nice one. Then I was bracing myself: “Oh boy, here comes
Glenn’s critique.” And then McKenzie [Westmore] was like, “Heather, you can
step back down?” And I was like, “What happened?”
FANG: Normally for contestants on reality competition shows,
it’s either a complete surprise when they get sent home, or they know well
before they get up on the judging stage that they’re probably going to be
eliminated. Did you have a sense during your final challenge that this was it?
HENRY: Every episode I got anxious, because I’d look around
the room and see someone’s work and think it was great, and the judges would
tear it down. And then there would be something I didn’t think was that great,
and it would win. So I wouldn’t know who would be where. I got sick on episode
six, so I was kind of DayQuil-y that day. So the whole time was…I was pretty
chill the whole day, actually [laughs]. I could hear [guest judge] Greg
Cannon’s voice in the corner while they were interviewing him, and all I could
hear was, “Too subtle, too subtle, too subtle…” And seeing that on TV, they
were talking about Sue [Lee], but that got into my head: “I gotta make it
bigger. I gotta go bigger.”
Then the piece came back, and it was like bubblegum. It
looked OK when she was in a chair, because she was leaning back. It wasn’t
until we got to the stage, I was like, “She looks like Droopy Dog.” And it just
got worse and worse while we were waiting. Even though I knew it looked really
bad and I was embarrassed by it, I still thought there were a couple that were
worse than mine. So I knew I was going to be at the bottom, but I really didn’t
think I was going home. And it wasn’t until I was actually standing on that red
circle, and I saw Beki [Ingram] holding her chest—and that’s how I normally
felt when I was up there, feeling like my heart was going to beat out of my
chest—and I was totally calm. That’s when I realized, “I’m the one going home.
But I don’t want to be eliminated…” Usually, people are looking up at ceiling
or looking down, waiting for that, and I was just staring at Glenn. I was just
staring him down. “You’re going to say my name. Just say it…” And part of me
didn’t want them sending Beki or Ian [Cromer] home, because I thought those two
were going to make it to the end.
FANG: Do you think being on FACE OFF is going to be good for
HENRY: I think it might help me out a little bit positively.
It’s made me go after bigger jobs I wouldn’t normally go after. It helps me at
least get my foot through the door. I treated the whole experience like a job
interview. I didn’t cry or any of that. You wouldn’t cry on the set. I tried to
be as fun and easy to work with as possible.
FANG: Speaking of which, I get the impression that Sue is a
little, how do I say this…fragile?
HENRY: I knew there would be a Sue question in there. Sue
and I actually worked together pretty easily on episode three. But just seeing
how she was with other people, and knowing that she was talking poorly of
people behind their backs all the time, that’s why I didn’t want to work with
her in this episode. You always knew she was going to make herself the victim,
and I didn’t want to deal with it. I felt bad for Tara [Lang] because she got
FANG: We could see her during her interviews talking about
other people, but it sounded like she was doing it on set as well.
HENRY: The first set of interviews was done in the house, in
the basement. And we could her hear screaming. So that kind of tipped us all
off that she wasn’t being very kind in her interviews. Athena [Zhe] was my
roommate, and she and Matt [Valentine] were good friends, and Matt and Sue were
good friends, so she would hear all sorts of stuff. She would kind of give me a
heads-up: “Sue was just saying awful things about you…” I would treat her in
the house as though…I still believe she might have undiagnosed Asperger’s. She
always had the most inappropriate responses to things. Inappropriate in a human
sense—like, that’s not what people do or say. She’d laugh at the wrong time, or
she’d cry when you weren’t saying anything mean. And she actually confided in
me after the show, when we were waiting for our flights, that she has a really
hard time reading people, communicating with people and understanding what they
mean. So that’s when I was like, “She has Asperger’s and she doesn’t even know
it.” But as long as I had that in my mind, I was able to treat her with
FANG: What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
HENRY: That’s easy. On a film called MIDGETS VS. MASCOTS, I
had to make a 14-inch penis for Gary Coleman’s character, and a one-inch penis
for the main character. I didn’t even get credited in it, because they said
they didn’t want anybody to know that wasn’t his real penis. But I’ll tell you
right now: That wasn’t his real penis.
FANG: Did you have to apply it as well?
HENRY: I did. The department head on that movie helped me. I
had to get him shaved, and apply it. There was one point when I got the giggles
and had to step out for a second to control myself. [The department head] was
kneeling in front of him, and he had his legs really tightly together, and she
was like, “Open up for mama…” [Laughs] We had to walk him across a field to get
him to the set with his penis in my hands to keep it from dangling on the
ground. Very strange.
FANG: When you’re doing makeup on set over a long
production, the artist and the actors tend to bond while they’re in the chair.
I can’t imagine what it was like working on I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, considering
the subject matter and what the lead actress went through. And to top it off,
you were a woman working on a rape/revenge film. Can you share your thoughts
about working on that movie?
HENRY: I was really excited to get to do I SPIT ON YOUR
GRAVE. The original was such an iconic horror movie. Normally, I try to keep my
relationships with actors strictly professional. But on SPIT, I was staying in
the same hotel with everybody, and given the nature of the film, we did get to
know each other pretty well. I did say at the wrap party, “Wow. I’ve seen
everybody here’s asses.” Sarah Butler was awesome. She was able to get herself
out of her character quickly. The whole cast was very nice, and we all got
along really well. There were many surreal moments on that set. One day, we
were all skipping down the dirt road singing “Lean On Me” on the way to shoot
another day of a rape scene.
FANG: So what’s next for you?
HENRY: I’m going to stay in Dallas. The reason I would move
to LA would be able to work with more people more often. I’m not really by
myself, but there’s not the caliber of artists I’d like to learn from out here.
I started a company with two other artists here, called High Noon Creations. We’re making museum pieces, props for haunted
houses. I got to work on DALLAS after I came back from FACE OFF, more
independent films, commercials, photo shoots—basically the same stuff I was
working on before FACE OFF.
FANG: And now you’re reality-TV famous. Have you been
HENRY: I know, it’s weird. Only a few times. One time I was
at the Halloween convention in Houston, and I was with Nix [Herrera], and they
always recognize Nix first. And then they’re realize after, “Oh, you were on
FACE OFF, too!” And then I was at a concert one night and I got recognized 10
times. Oh, and at the makeup store.
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