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Tara Lang’s exit from Syfy’s makeup-competition series FACE
OFF was caused by a perfect storm of FX-related mishaps in the workshop.
FANGORIA: What were you doing before you ended up on FACE
TARA LANG: I was working in the film and television
industry, mostly just film, independent features. I’ve been doing makeup for
five years now. This is actually my 24th project.
FANG: Are you self-trained, or did you go to school?
LANG: I went to Cinema Makeup School. I took their master
class, which taught everything from beauty to special effects. Actually, at the
time, I just wanted to do beauty, but I saw the effects class and thought,
“That looks cool. Maybe I’ll give that a try…” And look where it led me!
FANG: When I watched your final episode, I just thought,
man, she is having the worst day!
LANG: [Laughs] It was not the greatest day, no. There’s no
one else to blame but myself. I was so eager to really try and go for it. I
just wanted to show what I could do. I have a hard time conceptualizing. I’m
not a concept artist. I’ll read a script and discuss with the director and go
from there. So I was really excited about that one, because I didn’t have to
spend the time coming up with the concept, which everybody saw me struggle with
on the horror challenge. So I think maybe because I thought I was saving time,
I thought I’d try a few bigger things. Despite the arm [falling apart], I had
more [pieces] than I had on any other challenge. So it was still successful in
that way. I got a lot done.
But the arm molds fell maybe 15 minutes before time was up
that day. So I said, “What can I do in the next 15 minutes?” And I thought
maybe fabricating, but I’m not as experienced at that, so it wasn’t going very
fast. I just figured I’d pull it together the next day. Unfortunately, the
little hand bit I wanted to do didn’t come together. I was hoping to save it
with the paint job, but I spent so much time attacking that that I overlooked
other details. Like teeth [laughs]!
FANG: It must have been frustrating, because some people get
sent home for a concept that was weak, or a skill set that was lacking. But you
got sent home because of a string of bad luck, stuff that could happen on set
that wasn’t anyone’s fault. Am I reading that situation correctly?
LANG: You are reading that situation correctly! I was a
little embarrassed, because I think I may be the only person in the history of
FACE OFF who got sent home because of time-management issues, not because of a
bad makeup. It’s silly, and I was really upset about it when I first got
eliminated. But thinking back on it, it is a tough challenge to keep your wits
about you. And if you’re not spot on every day, which obviously I wasn’t, one
wrong turn and you’re going to spiral out of control. And that’s what happened.
I wish…I’m almost OK with it being that. It’s embarrassing, but at the same
time, I’m really happy it wasn’t just a terrible makeup. Then I would be harder
on myself [about] being a lousy artist.
I’m trying to be positive about it. It was well-applied, it
was a pretty decent paint job. At least I showed I could do it. And the time
management is something that can be improved on. So I’m OK.
FANG: If conceptualizing isn’t your strength, what do you
think your strengths are?
LANG: I they’re definitely in the application part. One
thing the show doesn’t recognize is, usually on set, one of the things we pay
attention to the most are the edges and the technical applications. I spent so
much time putting those edges down nicely, and never once were they
acknowledged. I think it’s because the audience doesn’t recognize what edges
are and how important they are, perhaps?
FANG: When you were eliminated, you were the fifth woman in
a row to be sent home. Any thoughts on that?
LANG: It certainly wasn’t planned, and none of us wanted it
FANG: When I interviewed Heather Henry, I mentioned that I
thought Ve Neill might be harder on the girls as a judge, and she agreed. Did
you feel the same way?
LANG: I don’t think Ve was harder on the girls. She wasn’t
harder on us, but she warmed up to the guys more easily, if that makes sense.
Honestly, in the moment, I didn’t really notice anything like that. I thought
the judges were pretty fair. When I thought a makeup was one of the lower ones
out of the group, it was generally on the bottom. I honestly thought on the
body-painting challenge I was the worst one, so I was the one going home. Hence
why I was so upset at that one—Miranda [Jory] did a better job than I did.
FANG: Was there a point during the challenge where you
thought, “I’m going home on this one…”?
LANG: When I realized the teeth didn’t make it in. I was
still feeling positive and thinking maybe I could pull it all together, but
when I realized, “Oh my gosh, the teeth aren’t in!” and started putting them
in, and they called time, that’s when that feeling hit. A lot of people thought
I just gave up. I think resignation is a better word for it. I couldn’t change
the makeup at that point. So I just chose to accept it and not cry about it
while I was on stage with it. I don’t believe in standing up there and talking
back to our judges. I didn’t want to tell them this was a great makeup when I
knew it was incomplete.
FANG: Now that the show has aired, what impact has it had on
LANG: [Laughs] I think one of the biggest impacts is that it
reconnected me with a lot of people from my past. Which is very cool. A lot of
family members, old friends, from high school all the way back to grade school.
Workwise, I’ve gotten a couple of phone calls about different jobs and people
writing me about opportunities for speaking or going to conventions. And that’s
really neat. I like it. It’s opening up doors that would have taken a little
bit longer to open had the show not happened. It’s also given a little more
respect to what I do, because when you go home and say, “Hey, I’m a makeup
artist!” they think that’s putting powder on people’s faces. It opens the door
up to what we actually do, how much work we put into these projects. I’m really
excited about that. I’m using FACE OF as a head start for other things that
I’ve always wanted to do, which includes having my own makeup line.
FANG: What would be your dream project to work on? The type
of movie, director, etc.
LANG: On my dream job, I would get to do a little bit of
everything. Ve, on PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, did that: a little bit of
character makeup, a little bit of beauty makeup, a little bit of effects
makeup. I really like being a part of all of it. When it’s all effects all the
time, sometimes I just want to make someone look pretty. When it’s all beauty
all the time, sometimes I just want to do something bigger. A show where I get
to do a little bit of everything, or a big makeup-based show, like HOW THE
GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS? That would have been amazing to work on. It had all
these prosthetics on everybody—just an epic movie. LORD OF THE RINGS,
NARNIA…any of these are along the caliber of something that would be my dream
FANG: What’s next?
LANG: I did the newest LMFAO video, “Sorry for Party
Rocking.” It’s got an old couple at the beginning, and that’s LMFAO. I turned
RedFoo into a woman, and an old woman. I have a feature I’m working on now,
then I’m jumping on another feature with a friend of mine. That one’s called
THE WHOLE BANANA. Then Monsterpalooza is coming up, and I was in talks with
them about doing a demo. I’m hoping other things come up. They always do.
For more info about Tara Lang, check out her website here.
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