Meet guest Spotlight, Chloe Sens ! Special effects makeup artist for film and television in Los Angeles, California!
What inspired you to be an artist?
Growing up I always had a fascination for makeup and often played around with it for friends for events. When I was a bit older I saw “American Werewolf in London” and “The Thing”. These two films changed my life. I remember the feeling of being so glued to these films and realizing that special makeup effects was a career. From then on, I became obsessed. Studying the masters, films, and techniques. I knew that I had to do whatever I could to be part of this industry and moving to California became my biggest dream.
You’re incredibly talented, there’s got to be only a handful of people that do what you do! Where did you learn the skills you have?
I had been saving for a couple years to attend one of the world’s best makeup schools, Cinema Makeup School. I was set to move to LA but two months before, I broke my collarbone in a freak hit and run accident. Over the course of the next year I spent time recovering and had to spend the money I had saved. For my 21st birthday I flew myself to LA for IMATS, one of the largest makeup trade shows. It was there that I saw the director of the school and explained what had happened. Before I left to come back to Austin, he offered me a work study internship. I would work for the school during the day and attend class at night. I called my parents crying with joy. It’s a day I’ll never forget. That same day, I flew back to Austin, packed my car and 3 days later was driving with everything I owned to start a new life in LA.
A month into my internship, I ran out of money and could not work a paid job because I was always at the school. I had to make a hard decision to drop out and find a job. Shortly after that, I heard about a full scholarship that they were going to give away. I built a female Creature From the Black Lagoon and entered for the scholarship. I ended up winning and went back to school in the winter of that year.
You live in California! Is the demand higher there for what you do? Does the demand in general affect where you will live?
I live in California because this is where all the action is! The demand is definitely greater here than most other places. Not only do I work on set but, all of the shops that create the special effects are here and I bounce around between a few of them when I don’t have set work.
What is your favorite part about what you do?
My favorite part about what I do is that every day and job is different. The people that are part of this industry are some of the most passionate people I’ve ever met. I feel like for the first time in my life I found my tribe. I have worked really hard to get where I am but, the support of the professionals that surround me has been a huge part of my career.
I’ve noticed you’ve had some opportunities to travel and even appear on a television series! Tell us about that 🙂
I have had some absolutely incredible working national and international experiences. When I graduated school I was cast to be a contestant on season 6 of Syfy’s Face Off. It was a once in a lifetime experience. I learned so much about myself as a young artist and the friendships that came out of it are very special to me. I have also had the opportunity to work and live in Hong Kong, Japan, London, New York, Vancouver, and Vegas among many other cities. It’s such an incredible experience to see the world and also get to work around artists with different styles and from different countries.
Name some artists that inspire you.
There are so many artists that inspire me but a few that are closest to my heart and inspire me the most are: Jack Pierce, Rick Baker, Dick Smith, Howard Berger, Tami Lane, Eryn Krueger Mekash, Ve Neill, Norman Cabrera and Rob Bottin.
What do you like to do in your free time?
My entire life is based around makeup. I live with 3 other incredibly talented effects artists and we have a home shop that we all work out of. The majority of the conversations around the house are makeup related and free time is generally spent with other artists. I’m constantly trying to study and better myself as an artist.
Do you have any advice for people who wish to pursue Costume Makeup?
The biggest advice I can give someone who wants to be an effects artist is to study the history, films and artists that have come before you. There are a lot of people in this industry but the ones that really make it are the ones that have dedicated their lives to this art. Practice over and over. Ask for advice and take it. Never stop learning. And most importantly don’t take no for an answer and never stop pushing yourself. This isn’t a glamorous industry. Days can be insanely long, money can get tight and you have to start from the bottom but if you truly love it, none of that matters. The high that I get with each new piece or accomplishment is something unexplainable.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years I hope to be department heading union features and television shows.