Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Exclusive Interview with Wendi Allison - Heroes Key Makeup Artist

Wendi Lynn Allison, Key Makeup artist on a little NBC show you might have heard of or seen called Heroes, is one of those wonderful people you're happy to know and love. Before returning to Heroes for the fourth straight year, she most recently lended her talents to A&E's The Cleaner, and has previoulsy worked on many other television series such as Joan of Arcadia, Charmed, 24; as well as on such films as Dracula 2000 and Hellraiser: Inferno. (I invite you to go to her website HERE to see all the fantastic work she's done.)

Wendi (as we all affectionnately call her) has also been on Twitter for many months now, sharing with us Heroes - and Wendi - fans the behind the scenes of the show, makeup tips, and fun trivias.

It was with trepidation that I decided to ask her for an interview both because I find her work utterly fascinating and because I believe she's one of the most important people on the show.

Without Further ado, here we go!

You are currently working as Key makeup artist on NBC's Heroes. Can you tell us about your responsibilities on the show?
My Dept. Head Lori and Myself are in charge of the Makeup Dept. on Heroes. I myself primarily get put in charge of most of the mild effects and Airbrushing on the show, along with day to day Makeup on our Cast. We are a well oiled machine, the two of us. Lori and I have been working together almost 10 years. ;)

What mainly brought you to this profession?
Purely by accident. I was very young and took a job at a Glamour Photo Studio. I worked with a girl there who was in the biz and was in between jobs. She got offered a show and in turn asked me to come with her and she would show me the ropes. The rest as they say is history.

Who are the actors you are mainly taking care of this season?
Milo, Zach, Jack, Sendhil, Grunny, Ashley, Cris, James for main cast.

Basically, what consists of a typical workday for you on the set of Heroes?
It varies. But the days are always long and usually very intense. You are wiped out by weeks end. We usually start at 4:30 on a Monday and by Friday we are into wrapping (going home) by 5am Saturday morning. Doesn't leave much time for our lives outside of Heroes.

You specialize in mild Special Effects and Theatrical makeup and we do get to see some of your wonderful makeup artistry on Heroes. Can you tell us about some of your favourite work that you've done on the show?
I would have to say all my work with Milo. He is in fact My Character, so we have done everything together. I am sure if you watch the show you will know, Milo has had the most effects outside of Hayden, so we have had a lot of fun. His Scar and the head slices along with some of my bloody effects with Zach have been among my favorites.

You've been working in the industry for a while now, and you've worked on a few other genre shows and movies (such as Charmed and Freaky Links on TV and Mimic 2, Dracula 2000 and Hellraiser: Inferno for film) - Hellraiser: Inferno appears to be the most makeup effects heavy of them all. Did you have a lot to do on this film? What character (s) were you responsible for?
I again was in charge of regular Makeup as well as blood and smaller effects. A special effects Master in our Business Gary Tunicliff does all the intense characters for all the Hellraiser films including his genius creation of Pinhead himself. Hats off to his incredible work on all those films.

In your career, what makeup effect was the most challenging and rewarding for you?
In recent times it would definitely be a Wing Tattoo I had to do for The Cleaner on Actor Gil Bellows. It took 3 hours to freehand it on and with his patience I was thrilled with how amazing it turned out.

Is there anything you would like to tackle next?
Anything with effects and blood. I feel most of my enjoyment comes from this side of Makeup and for me its the most rewarding.

If there is a Science-Fiction or Fantasy movie or show (past, present or Future) you'd like to work on, what would it be?
I would probably say Star Wars, after all, who wouldn't have wanted to be a part of that film? ;)

Thank you so much Wendi for taking time to talk with us!


  1. Wendi is such a sweetheart! And she's right: that wings tat on Gil Bellows back is very, very, very realistic.
    Thanks for posting this interview, Nat.

  2. this was so kewl Nathalie :) thanks for sharing it :)

  3. Great interview Nat! I love seeing Wendi's tweets and I love hearing about how awesome it is to work on one of my favorite shows.

    Thanks! =)

  4. I love Wendi's tweets and look forward to getting the latest about Heroes through her tweets. She really does excellent work on Heroes! I never miss an episode.