It was my pleasure recently to get a chance to talk with Wunderkind Constance Hall of SyFy’s Monster Man.
In case you did not know, Monster Man is a reality TV program that follows FX artist Cleve Hall as he works with his two daughters, Constance and Elora, and ex-wife, Sonia, at SOTA FX in Hollywood; at a time when practical FX work is being challenged by computer generated special effects.
Artistic talent seems to flow heartily through the Hall clan.
I approached Constance because I personally enjoyed watching the show, but as much as I adore Cleve Hall \m/, I wanted to know more about her.
RobotxRobot: From the perspective of a makeup artist, what are some of your favorite product(s) to work with?
Constance: Well firstly, I am a shameless makeup brush addict. I love my set of MAC brushes, I want to be buried with them when I die. They are pricey (therefore not to be used for adhesives and such- strictly makeup!) but they are very good quality and will last for many years if properly cared for. I am also a huge fan of Kryolan aquacolors-for both FX and beauty- because they are very versatile and strongly pigmented. Honestly, I am a total product junkie-I could go on for days about different products and their uses.
RobotxRobot: Knowing how frustrating it can be to live with your parents, how do you deal with working with you father and mother? How do you personally deal with creative differences?
Constance: I haven’t lived with my mom for several years, which is probably why we get along so much better these days hahaha. My dad…well my dad is a different story. My dad and I live together so working together can sometimes get a bit tense. We bicker a lot. Sometimes we argue not so much because we disagree, but simply because we’re sick of eachother’s faces. I get frustrated sometimes because he is sometimes stubborn and doesn’t want to even listen to my ideas; partially because I’m his kid and partially because he never really grew out of his “rebellious teenager” phase. I also do the man’s laundry, keep our house clean (not an easy task with him around), and loan him my car (often without my knowledge or consent). I know it sometimes seems as though I have a short fuse, but that’s not entirely true. I actually have a very long fuse, it’s just that most of it is burnt down before we make it out our front door in the morning.
RobotxRobot: To date, what has been your favorite job experience and why?
Constance: Hmmmm, well I’ve gotta say: in my years of doing this crap I have had a ton of fun. Even the toughest, crappiest, most exhausting gigs are usually good for some laughs. But I’d have to say that my trip to Dubai was probably my favorite. I got to go to Dubai for a week to work on the grand opening party for the Atlantis hotel. Dubai is a crazy cool place, the hotel and the man-made palm tree shaped island on which it stands are stunningly beautiful, and I got to watch the world’s biggest fireworks show- which was an incredible experience! It was even worth the many many hours spent crammed into an airplane- including a 17 hour non-stop flight back to L.A.
RobotxRobot: When you aren’t tinkering with makeup and other effects work, what do you like to do to unwind?
Constance: I like to doodle and draw quite a bit, I love to read and write, I play bass and I am learning guitar. I’ve also been getting into gardening and I find it very relaxing maintaining and caring for the plants that surround my house. I’m not real great at it, haha, but I’m working on it. And of course my absolute favorite past-time of all is cuddlin’ with my kitties.
RobotxRobot: As a young female in the makeup and effects business, do you ever feel any gender bias or have a tough time garnering respect from male counterparts? Do you believe your presence on MonsterMan on SyFy is empowering to other young woman thinking about pursuing makeup and effects?
Constance: Um, YES. I’m not a feminazi or anything and I try not to blame a lot of the BS I deal with on sexism but sadly over the years I’ve come to terms with the fact that that is exactly what it is. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the boys and I have a fun time working with them. Growing up around shop guys is probably the main reason I developed my quick wit and also my hard work ethic. Yes I wear a push-up bra and high heels but I also know how to use tools and I can break down a spray gun or airbrush and re-assemble it in record time. Sometimes that fact earns me respect from the guys but I have dealt with a few boys who seemed to be intimidated by the fact that I can fix shit without their help (Don’t get me wrong; I dont know everything and when I do need help or am uncertain about something I ASK- it would be unfair of me to expect others to accept my advice if I refused to hear theirs). In the past year or so I’ve come to terms with the fact that standing my ground and stating my opinion will inevitably earn me the title of “Bitch.” But I’ve decided – after having things blow up in my face on many occasions because I kept my mouth shut when I knew somebody was doing something wrong – that I’d rather be a “bitch” who’s good at her job and gets respect than a “nice girl” who’s never happy with her work and gets walked over. I’d like to think my presence, as well as that of talented ladies on shows like “Face Off”, on tv is empowering or inspiring to young women – however I have a hard time wrapping my head around that concept. I’ve been told by several parents that their girls want to be like me when they grow up or that they have my picture on their bedroom wall (that one still makes me tear up a lil every time). It’s kind of mind-blowing and a little frightening, but if I’m helping them in any way then I’m happy as hell.
RobotxRobot: With professionals that make a living out of wearing makeup and effects, as a makeup and effects artist what do you do to help protect the skin of your clients? Are there any product recommendations you can make?
Constance: Firstly and very important: ALWAYS ASK YOUR CLIENT IF THEY HAVE ANY ALLERGIES before you begin! Honestly, a lot of the skin damage and irritation that results from prosthetic makeup is caused by it’s removal. Removing prosthetics has to be done with care but a lot of the time it gets rushed or not even fully removed because the talent and/or the makeup artist are tired after a long day of shooting and rushing to get the hell out of there. Patience is key. Unfortunately the fastest removers are the ones containing the harshest chemicals. I have found that the real magic “product” to aid in the removal process is …plenty of hot water. No one ever believes me but once they try it they’re always amazed. I prefer to soak a towel or cotton pads in hot (not too hot!)water and then use it to gently soak the appliance for a couple minutes. This should help loosen the adhesive so you can (hopefully) get away with less remover and less pulling. Also very important is that the client is gentle with their skin for the rest of the day. I always tell my victims not to scrub and not to use any harsh cleansers or astringents for a day or so.
RobotxRobot: All good things come to an end eventually and this brings us to the last question, if you were to throw a dinner party what cast of characters would you invite for the evening? (5 + Yourself)
Constance: Dunno if I would throw a dinner party per-say…I’ve thrown a hell of a lot of beerpong parties though hahaha! I’d have to say I’d invite the girls fom “Jem and the Holograms.” More specifically “The Misfits” because Jem is a bit of a goody two-shoes and I always kinda wanted to be Pizzazz when I grow up! Either them or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Turtle Power!!).
Thank you once more to the gorgeous and talented Constance Hall! Please check out Monster Man in re-airs on SyFy or check out full episodes and other awesome content on-line at: http://www.syfy.com/monsterman
And….if you like what you see, go over to SyFy on Facebook and make some noise – We want a Season 2 of Monster Man on SyFy!
This is Lynn Shipp….ta ta for now my little robot minions! ^_^
(Disclaimer/Disclosure: The interview was conducted via e-mail and Constance’s responses are as she typed them without alteration.)
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