Hey, hey, hey! It’s Chris Salce again, bringing you a new edition of “The C-Word.” For this edition, I have a very special guest. You may have seen her and her awesome work on season 7 of Syfy’s “Face Off.” My guest is none other than Keaghlan Ashley. In this interview, Keaghlan talks about her experience on “Face Off,” what she’s up to now and cosplay of course. Enjoy…
Chris: How long have you been doing makeup/prosthetics? When did you realize you had a passion for it?
Keaghlan Ashley: I’ve been a makeup artist since high school, I started as a performer in musical theatre and while developing my skills onstage, I began to explore the arts off stage in technical theatre, costuming and makeup. After taking Stage Makeup courses in college I realized that it was a passion I could pursue in addition to theatre. I attended the Tom Savini Special Makeup Effects program in Monessen, PA where I cultivated my skills as a sculptor and in prosthetic makeup application.
Chris: Your Livewire cosplay is AMAZING! Easily one of the best cosplays ever. How did that come about?
Keaghlan Ashley: Thanks so much, I really had a blast with it and I’m so flattered by all the attention it has received. The actual costume, came together pretty quickly. My best friend and frequent collaborator, Alana Rose encouraged me to take on the persona during one of her demos at Amazing Vegas Comic Con and that is where I first premiered the cosplay. Neither of us had seen it done very often and we’re both fans of taking characters and adding our own design sense to them. I sculpted the lightning bolt, and with the assist of fellow ‘Face Off’ Alumni Adolfo Barreto, they applied my makeup and styled my hair live during the convention. Since then I appeared as Livewire opposite Traci Hines as Harley Quinn at Comikaze Comic Expo, this time everything was self applied and styled and I chose to do a more punk rock version of the character.
Chris: What other characters would you like to cosplay as in the future?
Keaghlan Ashley: I definitely have a long to do list of characters, both to create for others and myself. I’m currently working on a Bellatrix Lestrange cosplay; after appearing as Mrs. Lovett for a party at hosted by Ve Niell at Cinema Makeup School in Los Angeles, I’ve been unintentionally going through Helena Bonham Carter’s line up of characters. One of my dream cosplays is the 1992 ‘Batman Returns’ Catwoman. I also would love to do a female assassin based on ‘Assassins Creed.’
Chris: You mentioned that you are working on developing and creating custom prosthetics for the cosplay community, can you talk a bit about that and what your plans and goals are for it?
Keaghlan Ashley: I’m forever so impressed by the craftsmanship in costuming and prop fabrication that cosplayers bring to conventions across the country but there have definitely been occasions when I’ve noticed cosplays that could be taken to the next level with film quality prosthetics. There are so many people that make a name for themselves with custom props and costuming but very few people who stand out creating custom prosthetics geared toward popular fandoms. It is my goal to bring high quality prosthetics at a reasonable price to the cosplayers that commission them especially to the female market where there is a lack in pieces that express the powerful femininity of those that hope to wear them.
Chris: Appearing on Syfy’s ‘Face Off,’ you were able to showcase your talent to the world. How was that experience for you?
Keaghlan Ashley: ‘Face Off’ was a dream opportunity of a lifetime, it never stopped being surreal. It was the most exciting and fun, but quite possibly the most nerve wracking experiences I have ever had as an artist. There is really no other experience I could compare it to. I was able to show the world what I am capable of when given few limits with the exception of time, and I am so grateful for that. I have the privilege of being a part of this weird little family of artists who are so incredibly talented, and continue to inspire me and drive me to challenge myself. For me, it was always a competition against myself rather than my fellow contestants. I got to create ten characters that I am incredibly proud of that each tell their own story and if given the opportunity, I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Chris: (If you can pick) Which makeup of yours (Face off or in general) has been your favorite and most fun to do?
Keaghlan Ashley: That’s always the hardest question for me to answer, every makeup I design is like one of my children in a way. I love each of them for different reasons, if anything I have a top four from the show. My Muse (modeled by Amanda Dilks), she is literally the muse I see when I create each character and the entire experience creating her fell into place like it was meant to be. She is the character I am most often remembered for and I’m happy for that because it says exactly who I am as an artist in one makeup. My Egyptian Alien Queen (modeled by Akemi) she is the most ambitious makeup I have ever tackled solo and probably one of the most unique sculptures I have ever done. I feel like it was my best paint job I had the opportunity to execute on the show by far. My Tin Man, was a dream come true to create. I grew up loving the ‘Wizard of Oz’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ so to join those two worlds provided me no greater joy and I am honored to have created it with my partner Rachael Wagner. Finally my Twisted Homecoming Queen, though she wasn’t a favorite of the judges, I created an entire movie in my mind in the process of creating this character. One I hope to film one day. While the Muse reflects who I am as an artist, she reflects who I am as a person, classic with a twist. My model Alexandria Sounis couldn’t have embodied this character more perfectly and I will stand by that design forever.
Chris: Do you have any tips for our readers that want to get involved in the makeup/special effects industry?
Keaghlan Ashley: Never stop practicing and never stop learning. Develop a strong sense of anatomy and pay attention to nature and your surroundings. The more you understand the fundamentals of art and design, the easier it is to manipulate them to create fantasy characters. Don’t just think of a makeup as eyeshadow and blush, or prosthetics and paint but think of the character you’re trying to create. What environment does it exist in, is it a predator or prey, does it speak, what does it eat? All of those questions can help you in the choices you make during your design process. The most believable fictional creatures and characters are always grounded in nature.
Chris: When you’re not busy being creative and turning people into works of art, what are some of your hobbies that you enjoy doing on your free time?
Keaghlan Ashley: What’s free time? Haha, I often find myself devoting my free time into personal projects. I hang out with my friends by collaborating. We’re all so busy and driven that most often that’s the only way we get to see each other. If I do get a spare minute to myself though I love to read, I also spend a lot of time writing and putting down my characters into short stories that maybe one day I’ll strike up the courage to put out there. I love going to see live theatre and I have a pretty bad addiction to thrift store shopping and antiquing.
Chris: Do you have any projects going on at the moment in the tv/movie business?
Keaghlan Ashley: I’m currently assisting a few friends with some features and independent movies. I can’t say what exactly but I have a lot in the works for the future that I’m excited to announce when the time comes.
Chris: Will you be making any appearances at any conventions/festivals soon?
Keaghlan Ashley: The next Con i’m scheduled to appear at is Monsterpalooza at the end of March in Burbank and I will tentatively be at Wonder Con as well.
And there you have it! I hope you all enjoyed this edition of The C-Word. A special thanks to Keaghlan Ashley. She’s a very talented artist and I know we will be seeing more of her amazing work on television, theatre and even on the big screen, in the future. For now, you can see more of her work on Facebook, on Instagram @RedTillDeadDesign, follow her on Twitter @KeaghlanAshley and visit her Etsy shop. Thanks again for reading. I’ll leave you with a few pics of Keaghlan’s awesome designs. For NTF this is Chris Salce saying “A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.”