Two members of the Westmore family, including Oscar and Emmy-award winning makeup artist Mike Westmore (Star Trek: The Next Generation through Enterprise) and his daughter McKenzie, talk about McKenzie’s current project, Face Off.
McKenzie Westmore is the host of Face Off, a competition/elimination series that “explor[es] the world of special-effects make-up artists.” Challengers compete against one another in the hopes of surviving each week to win the ultimate prize, “the opportunity to become a guest lecturer at the Make Up For Ever Academy in New York and Paris, the 2012 Toyota Camry hybrid, and $100,000.”
Season Three of Face Off will “star with a bang,” said McKenzie. “We open it up with a Star Wars theme. The contestants are asked to create their version of what you would have seen in that cantina scene. We even have it set up on the elimination stage, with that whole theme, with the same music playing. All their creations came out and sat at the bar, and it brings you back to the first Star Wars and that iconic scene. There are some really cool challenges that go on throughout. One is Chinese New Year’s Dragon, which is one of my favorites. They had to take the traditional Chinese Dragon and recreate their own take on it and have it dance on stage, in a fully choreographed dance and music routine.”
McKenzie’s father Michael Westmore explained the appeal of Face Off to viewers. “It’s more of an educational show for people watching how it’s done, how a mold is made, and the struggles that these people have,” he said. “And they do. The contestants aren’t trained makeup artists who’ve been working for forty years. They’re new people coming into the field and they’re going through all the things that I had to go through, and that every established makeup artist has gone through, where you’re learning at the same time. So, the viewers are seeing what a person has to go through in this occupation, and I think it’s more of an interest in watching that than it is seeing things exposed.
Michael Westmore also spoke about his latest project, writing his biography, which has been in progress since 2004. “I thought I was done with it until I spoke to some writers and publishers,” he said. “I hadn’t put in anything about my career with Star Trek. It was all about my career with Elizabeth Taylor and Sylvester Stallone and all my back stories about the movies and my personal associations with them. Everyone said, ‘No, no, you’ve got to put Star Trek in.’ So I am literally back to the computer and I’m adding in a good full chapter with highlights from working on all four series and on the movies. I’m just trying to give a little Star Trek meat to the book.”
How does he feel about his daughter’s work on Face Off? “I’m enjoying watching McKenzie doing what she’s doing on Face Off,” he said.