Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Local Relishes the 'Face Off' on Syfy Reality Competition

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Local Relishes the 'Face Off' on Syfy Reality Competition

Article excerpt

You are a makeup artist. You are from Pittsburgh. You have two hours to create a look that says a lot about who you are ....

Go.

Of course, Greg Lightner chose "zombie."

Mr. Lightner, 35, is one of the contestants on Season 2 of the Syfy reality competition, "Face Off," which premieres Wednesday.

It's a fun show, and the work is impressive. Judging from Season 1, contestants are challenged to create big bold makeup statements involving prosthetics, body paint and a wide weird variety of materials, and not skimp on the creativity.

"I had no idea what the [show] would be, and after I watched it, I fell in love with it instantly," said Mr. Lightner, who jumped at the chance to audition for Season 2.

Unlike many of his fellow artists, the Port Vue resident is self- taught. He has a day job, working as the lab prep director for the University of Pittsburgh's department of biological sciences.

Mr. Lightner has a degree from Point Park University in marketing and advertising. He also does event makeup for weddings and formals, as well as special effects for experimental theater group, Rage of the Stage Players.

Getting into makeup and special effects design, he said, "was almost by accident." When his sister was 13, she got her first beauty makeup kit as a gift, which he'd steal the moment she left the house.

"It was the '80s [think: lots of glitter], but I made it work," Mr. Lightner said, laughing. "I'd make myself look as gruesome as possible."

Halloween was of course a favorite time of year. Mr. Lightner's boyfriend worked in special effects for Kennywood's "Fright Nights," which prompted him to join in. Mr. Lightner is still makeup supervisor for the annual scarefest.

Except for last Halloween, when he was in Los Angeles to shoot "Face Off."

The contestants were delivered to Universal Studios' famous back lot, where their first task was to create a signature design on a live model.

"It was something that was supposed to reflect us, and so I thought a lot about zombies," he said. "It's akin to what I do at Kennywood."

A second, elimination challenge involved reinventing four iconic characters from "The Wizard of Oz. …

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