What do you get when you cross a room full of anxious students, one shirtless candidate for Mr. All American Gent 2013, eight knowledgeable hands working on his bald head and a jar of Vaseline?! HA! I know what it sounded like but it was SO much more. I arrived to Joe Blasco’s Makeup Training School in Hollywood only a few minutes late blaming that the “dog ate my homework.” You should ALWAYS blame it on the dog. I had spoke to Veronica at the school via the telephone a few times before arriving about what we were working on regarding my Creative Costume category creation. Joe had asked her personally to take on my project and her creative juices have been boiling! Without popping my Pageant Cherry in front of your eyes I will allow only so much of what went on in Hollywood last Monday. Come see me March in Dayton and I’ll show you EVERYTHING.
I made my way back through the school to the workroom where a dozen of students moved around making “Life Casts” (or head/shoulder busts) of each other’s heads for future prosthetics work. I stood and observed for a few minutes before sitting my ass down in a chair for my turn. It was explained by a few of the instructors what the process would be while I listened intently, half nervous/half excited. Standing there gave me a great chance to really see what transpires. Everyone seemed to be handling it well so I figured I’d be just fine.
When it was my opportunity to position myself in the chair, Veronica, a senior student at Joe’s school and my special liaison, placed a black trash bag around my legs and draped one over my shoulders like a yearbook portrait with tape to hold in place. From what was said, the alginate formula which is what they would be making my cast from dries very quickly and runs wherever it wants. Since I already had my head shaved there wouldn’t be a need for a skull cap. Veronica brushed Vaseline on my beard and mustache (and top of my chest hair) so the finished mold wouldn’t get stuck and rip my facial fur out at the roots.
Mr. Rob Burnam, an experienced instructor and true go-to man in Hollywood, mixed up the alginate and brought it over to us to begin. Alginate is like the thick mixture one would have teeth impressions made from. I was given a few instructions but the experience was worth more than anything they could have told me. As the cold mixture was immediately placed on me, four people stood around me and started working on my head pressing in crevices, smoothing it out with fingers. Slowly the mixture went over my ears and down past my chin and over my shoulders. The sensory deprivation was on overload at this point. If you’re into bondage, you may really enjoy this.
The alginate indeed does harden and gets very heavy fast. I was hearing conversation around the muffled atmosphere but would be told to either press against their pressure for resistance or to give me a time check. I returned with a thumbs-up from under my plastic California Raisin costume. Only a few times inside the head cast did I think “what if” I really needed to get out of this because from my angle I wasn’t going anywhere soon. I had the urge to blink my eyes inside but kept a round of patient breaths while the process continued. It gave me a few very peaceful moments to contemplate just what this title has truly become to me. It’s more than these words describe.
Atop the alginate, a full head and shoulders of white plaster bandage strips were then placed across the hardening mixture as one would have during a broken arm or leg to compete the casting. Even more smoothing continued and the weight was becoming considerable. Slow breaths continues peacefully. Slits around my nostrils were carefully trimmed for better accessible breathing. No straws, just my nose. Coughing would be out of the question. It was quite snug around my throat, as well.
I was alerted that when they begin to split the cast that they would not be cutting my actual ear but it may feel like it since the trim would be straight across from one shoulder to the other. I was instructed to lean forward as fingers began to find their ways under the neck slits for gripping the structure. Once I started to wiggle my nose and cheeks, I soon slid out of it with their help and my part was done. I was very happy to have finished it. They showed me inside the two pieces and how well it turned out. With the talented Chris Bergschneider, Mr. Burman, Veronica and her instructor working on me at once the process only took thirteen minutes I was told. I felt incredibly special having the full attention to every detail.
I cleaned up, slid my shirt back on and discussed some of the formalities and details of the pageant and what the mask would be in finality. Students continued to buzz about and I truly felt like I was on the set of Face Off. Man, this was quite the experience! I’ll be back in February for Veronica’s final exam and the reveal of my grand Creative Costume for Mr. All American Gent 2013. This creation is going to be SIQ off-the-chain for your nerves D-O-W-N the house, Hunty!
And yes, I’m just saying…
The brilliant magic being created at Joe Blasco’s Makeup Schools needs to be seen to believe. If this has EVER been a remote interest of yours, look into it. Like I was saying to Veronica, this business will always be in demand and isn’t going anywhere. It’s made me even think about my future possibilities.
Big THANK YOU to Joe, Veronica, Rob, Chris and crew. This was one of my absolutely favorite experiences, for reals. I’m one lucky man to have Joe Blasco on #TeamStevenMichael for AAGent 2013. I can’t stop staring at the picture above of my life cast. I looked concerned but I thought I was smizing! Ah… It looks amazing, nonetheless. So damn happy!