Face Off's Jason Henricks reveals what it's like to be ripped apart by the judges
Jason Henricks was on the receiving end of several brutal critiques from the judges, with one in particular from Ve Neill where she blasted his work on a Mayan gatekeeper, comparing it to a teen lizard going to a rave.
SheKnows: Of the three mainstay Face Off judges, is there one you found to be the most intimidating?
Jason Henricks: Surprisingly, Ve. Ve is very intimidating when you get up there. Neville gives amazing feedback. It's all very technical, very astute. He's so intelligent. Glenn is what you expect. It's rough. It's concise. Ve, you don't really know exactly what she's gonna say. She could love it. She could hate it. She's got so many amazing makeups in her belt [like Beetlejuice] that you really hope it's good.
SK: Did you find yourself fighting for her approval more than the other judges?
JH: We didn't, like, fight for her approval. We all really wanted to make her happy. It was something we all sort of strived for when we sent something to the stage.
SK: In the challenge before your elimination, Ve had one of the funniest critiques ever when she compared your Mayan creature to a teen girl going to a rave. What was that like being on the receiving end of her comments?
JH: In the makeup industry, your creations are in the public eye. I'm used to critiques. I'm used to people not liking my work and not seeing my original intended vision. But when you're on that stage, and it's an industry legend, it was harsh. I agreed. I saw some terrible things with it. I didn't quite see a lizard girl going to a rave, but I totally understand where she was coming from.
SK: Did you find any humor in it?
JH: Completely. We were actually laughing quite a bit about it. It was such a train wreck leading up to it during last looks. Anything going on the stage was kind of a sense of relief. Ricky and I were taking it in stride.
SK: Did you think you were going home after that challenge?
JH: Oh, yes. I totally thought that was going to be my swan song. It really didn't look very good [laughs].
SK: What was going through your mind the moment you were eliminated?
JH: Unfortunately, I could see all the same errors they could see. Her chin was falling off. I had come to terms with it from the moment last looks was over and I had to walk away from her. When they called my name, I knew I was up against some really amazing competition. We all go home at some point, and I'm happy I lasted as long as I did.
SK: Did you know you were going to be sent packing?
JH: I really knew that was it, because there were so many small technical errors that they couldn't overlook.
SK: Walk us through what the competition is like. What are you most worried about as a contestant?
JH: Time is the No. 1 thing that's on your mind from the second you step into the lab. That clock is going and you know that as soon as it's done you have to leave, no matter what. In the real world, I would work on a sculpt all night if I had to. You just don't get up and get shoved out the door. Time first, concept second. Concepts you are mostly just trying to figure out if what you're doing follows the challenge, and if any of the judges are going to like it. Time is definitely the one thing that really messes with a lot of people.
SK: Is there one makeup from this season you're most proud of?
JH: I really loved my Puritan poltergeist. Even though some people said she looked like a vegetable, I loved it. I thought my model wore it well. I thought she acted it well, and it was pretty close to the vision that was in my head. I understand it wasn't the normal demon, but I'm still really proud of it. It was one of the best applications that I've done today.
SK: What was it like watching yourself back on television? Was it all you expected?
JH: [Laughs] I didn't know what to expect, because I'm usually the one behind the camera. Even in pictures, if I'm not wearing makeup, I'm usually not in it. It was really, really surreal. I didn't know my voice sounded like that. Didn't know I made so many faces. I'm much more expressive than I thought, and I'm also even weirder than I expected [laughs].
SK: In your bio it says you have a fascination with monsters. Is there one specific character or movie that sparks your motivation?
JH: One of the first horror movies that I ever saw was The Shining. I was way too young to be watching it because my uncle was babysitting me. That was the one that sort of captured me. I wasn't scared, but I was like, people are doing this? People are doing some really weird things. From that, I just fell for horror. Every makeup artist says this, but American Werewolf and the transformation scene was the one where I knew I had to make monsters. Like I didn't have a choice. But it wasn't a career until much, much later in life.
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SK: Are there any movies or TV shows that viewers may have seen your work in before?
JH: A lot of stuff that I've done has been onstage in the San Francisco area. I worked for a small opera house doing lots of weird, little things. I was like edgy operas. Lots of drag queens and stuff like that. With drag queens, I did a lot of work with Peaches Christ, who is a pretty well-known drag queen performer up in San Francisco. She does stage shows about movies before a midnight showing of that film. I did Peachferatu, a Nosferatu version with her. A Freddy Krueger version. We're working on Halloween this year.
SK: The horror world was in shock this week with the news that iconic director Wes Craven had died. How did this impact you as an artist?
JH: I've actually been thinking a lot about the ways that Wes Craven's creations permeated my life as an artist. That's actually how I first got involved with Peaches, with the Peaches Krueger makeup, with a midnight showing of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2. Our mutual love of Freddy, Wes Craven and his tongue-in-cheek but subtle, direct view of horror — our mutual love and appreciation of that is what helped Peaches and I become friends. I remember watching Nightmare on Elm Street 2 and 5 with my best friend growing up and wearing those VHS tapes out. It was so different. It was a new take on the industry... Plus, his vision was, like, brilliant. All of his designs, concepts — everything is so cool, so witty and intelligent. I can eat it up.
SK: For somebody who wants to be on Face Off, is there any advice you would give them?
JH: That's tough. Honestly, searching yourself and figuring out if you're actually ready for it. I prepped. I did speed sculpts. I did painting. I did anything I could imagine before I got there. But as soon as you are part of the competition, all that's swept away. You have to know yourself and know what you're bringing to the table before you even walk in that door. If you have self-doubt, that's what's gonna eat you in the end.
SK: How did you get on the show?
JH: I applied and I applied until they let me on [laughs]. I've been a fan since the show first started. When I found myself actually making makeup a career, I figured, why not? I went for it and just kept applying.
SK: Would you do it again?
JH: In a heartbeat. I would give anything to walk back into that lab. Even knowing the critiques, even knowing the whole outcome, I would do it all again in a second.
SK: Do you have any upcoming projects you can tease to?
JH: I am working on a small line of Halloween masks. I've always wanted to. I can do that while I still freelance. I'm working on some bigger projects with some of the queens that I know. I'm getting ready to do a big demo at an upcoming horror convention. I'm kind of leaving the next year open to see where I go, where I fall, what happens. Long-term goal is finding a place in an effects studio where I fit in and I can keep doing cool projects.