Spooky Creatures Come To Life With Special FX Make Up Artist Antonina Henderson

Published on in Exclusive Interviews

A version of this post appeared on Crew Connection.

Special Makeup Artist Antonina Henderson is making a name for herself in the industry by creating elaborate creatures and transforming talent for film, TV and live events. The one-time U.S. Army firefighter turned artist found her calling in college and has since turned her passion into a blossoming career.

While Antonina’s resume ranges from weddings to Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No, we really wanted to get in the Halloween spirit and showcase some of her creepier work. Be sure to check out the eerie time-lapse of her ghoulish creation, Fluffy the Demon, for Six Flags’ Frightfest at the end of this interview.

PH: Let’s dive right into the good stuff. What’s your favorite horror movie?

AH: I have to say, the best horror movie that really gave me the shivers was The Exorcist (1973)!

PH: How about your favorite makeup effect you’ve seen in a movie?

AH: My favorite makeup effects that I have seen in a movie is the transformation scene from An American Werewolf in London (1983), hands down!

PH: What was your first professional makeup project and how did it affect the course of your career?

AH: My first professional makeup project was on the film Cotton in 2012. I was hired to assist the Makeup Department head. I told her that I was a makeup enthusiast who did a lot of theater makeup in high school; and moulage (injury simulation makeup) for the local fire department and EMTs. Under her mentorship, I learned set etiquette, sanitation, and HD makeup. In exchange, I taught her how to make camera-ready vomit and realistic bruises.

 

PH: What are your career goals?

AH: My career goals are to be a department head on a studio feature with lots of fantasy or alien creatures.

PH: Can you tell us more about your process to create your characters?

AH: A lot of planning and a lot of love goes into creating my characters. It starts with a design concept, finding a model who fits my vision, maybe even a costume designer. Next, I have to determine if I am going to create my pieces or buy them. This decision usually comes down to my time and cost-effectiveness. When it comes to a production, I am usually pressed for time and have to find the quickest and most cost-effective method to match the producer’s/director’s vision.

PH: How is CGI currently changing or affecting the makeup effects world?

AH: Overall, I think audiences are tired of straight CGI. We are witnessing a resurgence of practical effects in the film world. Directors are finding that sweet spot between CGI and practical makeup. Too much CGI tends to look fake; not enough CGI limits a director’s creativity. I think Special Makeup Effects Editor and Creature Designer Rick Baker made a good point about CGI when he said, “CGI is an amazing tool, and it’s only as good as the artist behind it… If you have a crappy director and give him good tools, he’ll still make a crappy movie.”

 

PH: How you do you prepare differently when working on a project with CGI?

AH: The preparation includes meeting with the visual effects artist and the director to collaborate one cohesive look, similar to any other creature design.

PH: Can you speak a little about the projects you work on that don’t require effects makeup?

AH: Other projects that I have worked on that don’t require effects makeup have been what we makeup artists call the “no-makeup” look. Which means I use makeup to blend away any perceived flaws, like uneven skin tone, acne, eye bags, tattoos, etc. to give the illusion of a fresh face or natural beauty.

 

PH: How would you describe your signature look?

AH: I don’t really think I have a signature look. I do like to see real skin instead of layers of foundation and contouring. I try to stay away from trends and be inspired by nature. I minored in biology, the study of life! I like to study the facial anatomy of the person in my chair. For example, do they have amazing cheekbones, juicy lips, or longer than average eyelashes? What’s unique and special about them that I can enhance?

PH: What is it that sets you apart from other makeup artists?

AH: I believe what sets me apart from other makeup artists is that I am forever a student of the arts, always looking for new opportunities to grow my craft or learn a new skill. I love collaborating with other artists because I get to see what’s in their kits, see how they may use products differently than I do. Or see what out of the box application techniques they are using.

See more of Antonina's work on her website.

ProductionHUB ProductionHUB Logo

About the Author

Dani Lyman
Dani Lyman is an award-winning filmmaker and writer who has worked behind the scenes in video production for over a decade. Since graduating from ASU, Lyman has worked as a freelancer in sports broadcast, production and content writing for top clients like ESPN, Mayo Clinic and Sheknows.com

Related Blog Posts
Producer & Cinematographer Brandon Riley Takes a Bite Out of Retro Horror with New Film Slice
Producer & Cinematographer Brandon Riley Takes a Bite Out of Retro Horror with New Film Slice
A new film, now available on VOD and in select theaters right in time for Halloween, “Slice” from A24 and director Austin Vesely, follows some of the best supernatural beings we know and love - from ghosts and witches to werewolves. One of the main factors that went into crafting the look for the film is cinematographer Brandon Riley, best known to audiences as the cinematographer of HBO’s “The Shop” and several of Chance the Rapper's music videos. We talked to Riley about his work on the film, A24, working with Austin and Chance and more.
Published on Monday, October 8, 2018
Crazy Rich Asians Is Especially Meaningful For yU+co Founder & Creative Director Garson Yu
Crazy Rich Asians Is Especially Meaningful For yU+co Founder & Creative Director Garson Yu
In 1993 Garson Yu, Founder/Creative Director of the award-winning 20-year-old company yU+co, was a young designer with the then leading design studio R/GA LA working on his first title sequence design project for the film “The Joy Luck Club,” the first Hollywood film with an all Asian cast.
Published on Monday, September 24, 2018
How the "Searching" Editors Created a Thriller That Never Left the Computer Screen
How the "Searching" Editors Created a Thriller That Never Left the Computer Screen
Directed by Aneesh Chaganty and starring John Cho, Searching proves just how powerful technology has become by bringing viewers into the story through the lens of one MacBook and iPhones. The editors used Adobe Premiere Pro to craft a suspenseful narrative of a father searching for his missing daughter under the unique confines of FaceTime conversations, iMessages, Google searches and live-streamed news. Editors Nicholas D. Johnson and Will Merrick shared their experience working on the film, its challenges and upcoming projects.
Published on Monday, September 17, 2018

Comments

There are no comments on this blog post.

You must be logged in to leave a comment.