Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Monster Challenges Don't Scare Colorful 'Face Off' Contestant

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Monster Challenges Don't Scare Colorful 'Face Off' Contestant

Article excerpt

Alana Rose Schiro was paralyzed with fear, which was kind of funny if you think about it.

The first two weeks of appearing on Syfy's reality competition, "Face Off" (9 p.m. Tuesdays) have featured Ms. Schiro, 22, fretting over time management and her relative inexperience in creating monster movie makeup.

Ms. Schiro is a graduate of the Tom Savini Special Make-up Effects program at the Douglas Education Center in Monessen, as is "Face Off" contestant Jason Milani. In Week 1 of the competition, she and a partner were frantically trying to create a cowl and prosthetics for a "Star Wars" creature but eventually turned out a good product.

Tuesday, Ms. Schiro's individual challenge was incorporating "crabs" into a pirate-themed creature. She did a nice job, but once again, the path to perfection was far from smooth.

That is so unlike her, she said shortly before the show's debut. But she was initially thrown by the fast pace of the challenge and somewhat intimidated by the skill level of some of the other competitors.

"I went in there feeling cocky; I'd just gotten out of school and everyone always told me how great I was," said Ms. Schiro, a New York native now living in Los Angeles.

"When [the filming began] I thought, 'I'm just a kid, I don't know half of what I need to know.' "

In the first challenge, contestant Rod Maxwell helped her team with advice on mold-making: "Rod was really my No. 1. He really helped me through all this, especially in the first episode."

With her magenta hair and multiple piercings, Ms. Schiro is a colorful character among many on the show. Growing up, she was a self-proclaimed "bad girl" who was hit with detention in the first few days of high school after drawing a stained-glass spider sleeve tattoo on a classmate's arm.

"I went to a performing arts high school, but I didn't want to be on stage," she said. "In one of the classrooms, there was a picture of someone applying a prosthetic, and I just said, 'This is what I want to do with my life.' "

She heard about the Savini program and Google-mapped "Monessen."

"I just saw the town, and I loved it," she said.

Next week on "Face Off," designers get about as far from Monessen as one might imagine -- They'll be creating Chinese New Year dragons. …

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