Stella Sensel is a New York based makeup artist who can currently been seen competing on the SyFy reality competition show Face Off, where special effects makeup artists compete against each other to win $100,000. We talked to Stella about the experience of being on Face Off, and how she made the transition from acting to working behind the scenes as a makeup artist. I think that the photos of Stella’s work below will blow your mind and give you a little Halloween inspiration.
Congrats on being on Face Off! What was the audition process like? What were the best, and the scariest parts of being on the show?
In order to audition for Face Off you have to be invited to send an audition video. To do this you usually answer their casting notice by emailing them your portfolio. Then they will send you an application and instructions for creating a 5 minute video about yourself and of yourself applying an original makeup to yourself. After they they invited me to a callback in LA where they interviewed me several times, had me fill out tons of paperwork including a psych test as well as a meeting with a psychologist. Then you have another original 2 hr makeup that you have to again apply to yourself.
The best part about being on the show was pretty much the entire experience, I would often look around and give myself a reality check and say to myself, I’m on Face Off!” Meeting my fellow competitors, creating the makeup and getting critiques and advice from the judges and Mr. Westmore were priceless experiences. The scariest part was every single reveal stage day when your makeup is complete and put in front of the judges.
You studied drama at NYU before shifting your focus to makeup. What inspired you to focus on makeup, and how did you develop your skills?
I realized soon after graduating that I didn’t like the lifestyle of being an actor. 90% of the time you are auditioning and I hate auditioning! Plus the things that people say about your appearance make you feel really bad about yourself! As an artist that creates things that have NOTHING to do with the way I look but the way I can make others look is a much better fit for me. I was inspired to do makeup after seeing the first season of Face Off. I had always wanted to get into it as a kid but my mother was insistent that I go to college so I was never able to give it a serious thought because you can’t really go to college for makeup! However when I decided to quit everything and get into makeup I enrolled in a 6 month program at the MakeUp Designory in Soho.
What advice do you have for someone looking to work as a freelancer in the creative industry?
Know what you are getting yourself into and be prepared to work HARD and to be poor for the first few years. In this industry you have to be able to network and make contacts which can be hard for people who don’t like to talk to strangers (like me.)
Which female entrepreneurs do you look up to?
I love women who are independent and passionate about their work. I can’t think of any entrepreneurs off the top of my head only female makeup artists that I look up to. Michelle Burke, Lois Burwell, Ve Neill to name a few.
I noticed that you do Halloween makeup. How can we sign up to have you create a Halloween look for us? What do you think that the big trends will be this Halloween?
I set up outside of Halloween Adventure (a store I worked in for many years) in NYC and take appointments. People can e-mail for an appointment firstname.lastname@example.org
I get a lot of requests for skeleton and sugar skull makeup, but I’d rather take the prosthetic application appointments.
Which makeup projects are your favorite?
I love creating original fantasy syfy makeup, but thats not an everyday request. When I get projects like those, I’m really having a good time.
WCBC has a few beauty bloggers. Do you have any tips for everyday makeup?
Sometimes less is more. I enjoy very simple everyday looks and often forego foundation for tinted moisturizer, a nude lid and liquid eyeliner. When I’m feeling fancy I might even wear mascara and lipgloss.
How can we help you to win Face Off?
You can’t help me win the show because we already filmed the season, but you CAN help me win the Fan Favorite vote by tweeting for me multiple times every week by using #FaceOff and saying something nice about me. The more tweets I get each week, especially on Tuesdays when the show airs helps me get closer to winning the Fan Favorite title. The more you tweet the better!
Follow Stella on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter! AND help her win fan favorite by
red alien – Brett Patrick-Jenkins, steampunk alien – Angel Cheverestt, Parasitic Twin – Seth Miranda