Originally from Charleston, West Virginia, “Face Off” Season 2 runner-up RJ Haddy earned his spot on “Face Off” by winning the Syfy Viewers Choice Contest, which took place at the 2011 San Diego Comic Con. Haddy won his spot in a live competition against two other artists in a make-up challenge that showed off his talents in prosthetics, paint and airbrushing. Haddy won, claiming his spot in the “Face Off” lineup for season 2, and the 35 year-old high school media and special effects teacher quickly became a fan favorite with viewers.
Haddy made it all the way to the finale, ultimately achieving the runner-up position behind Season 2 winner Rayce Bird, and alongside fellow contestant and finalist Ian Cromer. I had the chance to catch up with Haddy recently, to ask about his time on “Face Off,” and he shared his thoughts about his experiences, as well as his plans for the future.
Angela Mitchell: RJ, was there a particular movie or TV character that was instrumental in making you want to create makeup and effects as a career?
RJ Haddy: Yes, there are two or three that stand out in my head... Puppetry-wise, I was mesmerized by Lyle Conway’s Audrey II puppet [for Little Shop of Horrors]. Makeup-wise, I remember the creatures of and the title character of Beetlejuice having always been a huge inspiration to me, but the biggest of them for me was Jack Nicholson's Joker makeup by Nick Dudman in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman. I was literally obsessed with figuring that out. As a kid, I would watch that movie, and I thought they had pinched the sides of his mouth together and pulled them back into that grin.... I said before in a different interview that I’d wanted to do that character for Halloween, and it was a small obsession of mine until I finally discovered foam latex!
Angela Mitchell: Who was the most surprising boot, to you? For me, it was Brea. I thought the argument could have been made for Jerry or Athena going that round, instead.
RJ Haddy: We are all friends and family now. But it is a competition as well as a show. I know I started sizing up the competition from day one, wondering who would be left at the end. Jerry was a surprise to me, given his experience, and Beki was also a surprise. I disagreed with the judges that week. There was one infinitely worse that ended up staying, and that’s really what it boiled down to -- not whose was better, but more about who had a bad day or whose just wasn't on par with the rest.
Angela Mitchell: What was your favorite challenge? As I mentioned in my other “Face Off” interviews, I absolutely loved the Tim Burton Challenge, and thought the creations were fantastic for that one. And I loved your incredible concierge with that touch of whimsy ("chest of drawers!").