EXCLUSIVE: Face Off's Evan Hedges reacts to negative viewer feedback (PHOTOS)
We were the first to interview Evan Hedges just moments after the Face Off finale. In our one-on-one conversation, Hedges discusses his thoughts on the negative feedback tossed his way by some viewers on social media. Plus, he explains which makeup was his favorite and reveals what was going through his mind as the judges announced Nora Hewitt as the season's winner.
SheKnows: You seemed surprised to even make it to the Face Off final three. Going into the competition, did you ever expect you would make it that far?
Evan Hedges: No. Absolutely not. I went into it just like anybody else hoping for the best, preparing for the worst. I was honestly just humbled to make it past the first three challenges. To make it all the way to the end — I was shocked.
SK: There was a lot of reaction from viewers when you made it to the final three. There were harsh things on social media, with some people very angry that you were selected as a finalist instead of Scott or Jordan. What was it like for you to read some of that brutal feedback in which some said you didn't deserve to be there?
EH: I think people like to focus their energy on saying negative things. It seems easier. I definitely think both Scott and Jordan had just as much potential as I did. My personal opinion: I think maybe I did change more stuff. I seemed to become the comeback kid a little bit. I think it's sad to see people say that. It was anybody's game. I also think there [were]... a few makeups I did that didn't get a top look. I also heard a lot of fans on social media give feedback from that, too. If they want to take all that into consideration and then say I didn't deserve it, that's a different story. It is what it is. It makes me feel sad that people are that negative about a TV show, but that's just the reality of it. I'm bummed that Scott couldn't have been there with me. If he would've made it, or Jordan would've made it, I would've been just as happy and I would have thought they definitely deserved it just as much as I did.
SK: Did any of the viewer comments bother you at all?
EH: Some of the comments that I don't appreciate [are] that I suck and I haven't done anything good on the show. That's ridiculous. I may not be the most confident about my work, but I'm pretty proud of a lot of the makeups I've done. I've heard comments like that, and it is what it is.
SK: When you were standing on the finale stage waiting for the judges to announce a winner, were you thinking that you had a shot?
EH: Yeah, I was. I thought I had a chance. Even Ben was like, "Dude, you might win this thing." I thought the final makeup that I did was pretty awesome. I was very proud of it. I thought, "Holy crap. I might have a chance. I can't believe me and my team were able to create that." I was a little surprised, but Nora is a really good friend of mine and I definitely think she earned it. But yeah, I thought I had a chance for sure. My heart was racing.
SK: After the lighting test on your first two finale makeups, you opted to redesign one of them completely. Tell us about that process on top of having to add a surprise third character.
EH: I think I was actually very down on myself about the first part of the challenge as far as that thing I made. Mine was probably most on the bottom in that episode as far as the lighting test. I was like, either way, if we didn't add a third character I would've redone it anyway [see before and after redesign makeups below]. I was so excited to do a third character. I was like, "If we're gonna do a third character, we might as well redo that one because I don't like it at all. I do not want it at the finals." I think it was a very smart decision. I was happy to do a third character. I was so pumped and ready to do this. Now that there's an evolution of this, we can make something super awesome. I was excited. That's why I think it came out the way it did. I was just so into it.
SK: The judges loved your third character. Tell us what it took to create that successful makeup.
EH: I'm a huge fan of The Thing. It's like my ultimate, favorite movie. A lot of influences [from the film] were put in that. In the script [for the challenge], there [are] these giant claw marks on the wall. I was like, "What could that be?" Let's make him have no hands; his hands have just evolved into these mutant claws. He's just an endless, growing, festering thing of bone and whatever it is from this disease. I really think those claw marks influenced my design a lot. I knew I had to have that in there. I kept thinking [of] the South Park character ManBearPig [laughs]. I just wanted to do something that was really bizarre, but made sense. That could be an action figure or something.
SK: Was that the character you are most proud of from this season, or is there another that stands out more to you?
EH: It's a hard one. I really love my Death character. That was one of my favorite makeups that I did. I got some interesting feedback. Lots of positive feedback, but a lot of that [said] it was copied from Attack on Titan, which is an anime that I literally have never heard of until they started bringing it up. Also, my alien from The Gatekeeper's Challenge, I really love that one, too. I'd say probably the Death character is my favorite this season.
SK: You got to work on the final challenge with Kevon on your team. When I interviewed him a few weeks ago, he said you guys have known each other for years, explaining that you're co-workers at a haunted attraction in Colorado.
EH: Yeah, we're working together right now, actually.
SK: What was it like when you realized you both were going to be on the same season?
EH: It was awesome. It was really great that we both got accepted to be on this season. I don't think it would have been the same without him. Us both going there really helped us get through it. If we didn't get on it [together], it would have been kind of begrudging: "Well you got to go on and I didn't." I'm just glad we both got to go on the show. I think it made the experience that much more awesome for us.
SK: Was it the first time either of you auditioned to be on the show?
EH: I think he auditioned for Season 3 or 4, but it was my very first time auditioning.
SK: When you picked Kevon to be on your team to help with the final makeups, you definitely had the advantage of working with somebody who understands your style.
EH: Yes. I picked Kevon because I knew that I could just look at him and go, "OK, dude, we gotta do this. You know how I work, I know how you work. Let's go and do it." That was a really big advantage for me to have him on my team. That was the same way with the wedding challenge, because we were on a team for that. I already knew his work ethic. That's how we do it here [at the haunted house].
SK: What is your day-to-day job like? Is the haunted attraction full-time for you?
EH: I'm the art director for 13th Floor Entertainment Group. We're a haunted-house franchise. We own the 13th Floor and the House of Torment. We have multiple locations in the country. I basically do a lot of set design. My main job as the art director is I design icon characters for the haunts. I make silicon masks and full suits. I basically just supply all of the haunted houses with our characters. Me and Kevon run the shop here, and we just come up with new characters and make them for our haunted attractions.
SK: Have you seen any extra-special attention on your attractions this Halloween season since your company has two contestants on Face Off?
EH: Yeah, we went on a little tour to all the different markets to promote the 13th Floor and Face Off. People have been coming to Denver to meet me and Kevon and see the haunt. It's been a really great year for us.
SK: As you've been watching the season unfold, has there been anything that's surprised you?
EH: Some of the things that they don't show. The way they edit things always surprises me. I really enjoyed the way they put our season together. It's television, but I think some of the things they didn't show [are surprising]. I helped a lot of people on the show. One of the things they didn't show on The Gatekeeper Challenge was me actually opening Nora and Jasmine's mold, which I was surprised about.
SK: When Nora walked away as the winner, what went through your mind at that moment?
EH: Of course I was bummed out, and I'm sure Ben was a little bit, too. At the same time, I was really happy that she won. She definitely deserved it. We're both Savini students [iconic makeup effects artist Tom Savini], and we're very proud of that... Just as long as a Savini won. Not that we didn't [want] Ben to win — we would've been just as happy — but I think that was our goal because we have an intimate connection with the school. I was very, very happy for her. She definitely deserved [it]. Of course, I wish I would have won. I was that close, but that kind of stuff happens. I'm happy that I made it that far. That's me winning. If I had just made it to the top five, I would have been just as happy. Very, very awesome that she won.
SK: Being Savini students, did you guys go to school together?
EH: No. We didn't go to school together. She literally graduated the same day she went to get on the show. She's like at graduation and then flew out to be on the show. I graduated in 2007, and she had just recently graduated. We were a few semesters apart.
SK: Anything else you want viewers to know about yourself that we didn't get to see on the show?
EH: I know a lot of people that say I'm kind of serious, but my personality on the show is not a reflection of the person I actually am. I guess that's kind of what they do on TV. There were just so many moments where everything was so funny, and we had such a great time. They edit it for stress and worry, but I think there [were] just tons more fun times.
SK: If you could go back and play again, would you do it?
EH: Absolutely. In a second. I think watching the show air [is] almost like watching a football team that you're gonna go against to see their plays — it's the same exact way I felt about watching the show. I would go back in a second and do a lot of things differently. I think I would do a much better job the second time.
SK: What would you do differently?
EH: I would just not worry as much. I think I would take my own internal advice instead of being influenced. I think a lot of times [mentor Michael] Westmore would say something and I would just take it like, OK, that's what I have to do. I think I would just really listen to myself a little more and do what I thought, as opposed to what I think the judges want to see. I think [that in] some of the challenges I won, that's what I did.