Not only was Omar Sfreddo the second person voted off of Face Off, but he is also a single father of two girls, and the art director for an event company in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Before settling down in Florida, he graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh with a focus in special effects makeup, and used the skills he learned on Hollywood projects like Blade II, The Chronicles of Riddick, Sky High and The Last Samurai. In addition to his day job, Omar is currently working on his own line of masks and freelances in body painting and airbrush tattoos.
Hometown: Miami, Florida
Residence: Hollywood, Florida
Occupation: Art director
You can follow Omar on Twitter @Omar_SFX
SheKnows: Since there was no elimination in the first episode, you were able to compete in two challenges. What is that overall experience like?
Omar Sfreddo: It was a very crazy experience, to say the least. Overall, it was very positive. I learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot of really good techniques that I will be using in the future. There were a lot of things that I worked on during the show that I never got to do before, like the clam or the beauty makeup, which was the second one. Those are two things that I never got a chance to do on my own or professionally. So, overall, it was a very positive experience.
SK: When you say you learned a lot about yourself, what did you take away from being on the show?
OS: I learned a lot of my strengths and weaknesses as an artist. I definitely know where I need to improve. I also learned that I second-guessed myself a lot of the time I was on the show. I don’t know if it was because of the cameras or because of the stress from the situation. I think that’s something I have to overcome as an artist. At the same time, I also learned one of my strengths is painting. I wasn’t aware that was one of my strengths. I also focused on sculpting as my strength.
SK: You were in the “bottom looks” for both of the challenges. When you were standing there on the reveal stage, how confident were you in the finished makeups before the judges started their critiques?
OS: On the first challenge, I was a little more confident. I was caught off-guard because I thought we were gonna be safe. When we were going into the challenge, we knew most everybody was gonna do a type of creature where the feet would be shown. We wanted to take away any form of humanity from our design. We really wanted to make people wonder when they looked at it where were the actors hidden inside. We wanted to do something that was really out of this world and something very unique. I thought that our design was really outside the box. We fell short in the fact that we went too big too fast. There were a lot of things that didn’t make it on the stage that we made, some of which I didn’t want to go onstage because they just looked unfinished. So we had to troubleshoot a lot of it. The design on the first challenge was similar to the original, but there was a lot that was missing. I was kind of worried about that because I thought maybe the paint job and the gag of the clam’s mouth would be our saving grace. We were wrong about that one. On the second challenge, it was a beauty makeup, which I’ve never done before. I wasn’t that confident on that challenge. It was also my first time doing a cowl piece. I was already in uncharted territory. I wasn’t sure how it was gonna go… I kind of felt like I might be going home because I didn’t fabricate enough for that makeup.
SK: In that first challenge, judge Ve Neill said you finished makeup looked like “Sponge Bob the Clam.” What was going through your head when she said that?
OS: [Laughs] It was embarrassing, of course. But at the same time, I kind of laughed. You probably won’t be able to tell by looking at the show, but I was laughing on the inside a little bit. I didn’t really agree with that assessment. I definitely knew what our shortcomings were with that makeup. There were a lot of things that went wrong that contributed to the way it looked at the end. I think she also mentioned it looked like Little Shop of Horrors at the same time, so I take that one as a compliment. Sponge Bob, I don’t know. I thought it was kind of harsh.
SK: Where have we seen your work before Face Off? You’ve worked on some movies, right?
OS: [On] The Last Samurai, I worked on some props like swords. Chronicles of Riddick. Sky High. I think it was like five movies in all. But I’ve never worked on set. It was always really behind the scenes in a shop.
SK: You left the business for 12 years before taking on Face Off. How did you land on the show?
OS: I got a message through Facebook from Jerry Artukovich. He’s a casting agent. He was asking me if I would be interested in doing Face Off. At the time, I was in New York working on a short film. I didn’t know who he really was, so I didn’t really take it that seriously. I kind of almost blew him off. He kept persisting, so I finally gave him a call. He talked to me about it and I was like, “Yeah, sure.” I did it just to see what would happen. I’m not an in front of the camera kind of guy. That’s why I’m an effects artist. I like to be behind the scenes. But I realized I was being given an opportunity. They were encouraging me to go on the show. So I did. It took off from there. Next thing I know, I’m flying off to California. That’s when I realized it might actually happen [getting on the show]. So I just went for it. I thought it was a good way to get my name out there and be in the spotlight. It gave me a chance to really showcase what I do. Every time I’ve worked in any Hollywood production, I’m a behind-the-scenes guy just doing the molds. My work never really got to be seen because there [are] always a lot of hands on a big project. So this was an opportunity for me to actually show what I can do.
SK: What’s the pressure like standing there at the Face Off reveal stage with your fate hanging in the balance?
OS: Very stressful, but it’s very exhilarating at the same time. When you first walk out there, you’re hoping for the best. But then you realize, oh, wait, you’re the worst. It doesn’t feel very good. But I knew that was part of the show, part of the process, and I took it as a learning experience.
SK: How much of a bummer was it to be eliminated right before making it to the 100th episode of Face Off?
OS: Honestly, I was more upset about not being able to do a challenge by myself. Yeah, the 100th episode would have been really cool, but what really disappointed me was not being able to do an individual challenge.
SK: Is there a specific film that you look to for motivation as far as makeup is concerned?
OS: There [are] a few of them. The first would have to be American Werewolf in London. The second one would be The Thing. If I had to choose a third one, I would say, oh man, The Exorcist.
SK: What is the biggest misconception that viewers have about Face Off?
OS: When you watch the show everything goes really, really fast. But you do have time to get things done. A lot of times when you watch the show, you see someone’s having a lot of trouble with something. Then, all of a sudden, like a miracle, boom, it’s done. There’s a little more to it. There [are] a lot of things that get taken out of the show that [are] not shown. With me and Sidney, for example, I was actually very surprised that they took a lot of things that he worked on with me out. You barely saw him in the second episode, and I thought that was very unfortunate. He did do a lot of work. He did a lot of the molds. He sculpted a few pieces that weren’t even shown on the reveal stage. So, someone who doesn’t know what’s going on would think Sidney didn’t do anything. That wasn’t the case.