Coven FX bring us SFX Makeup and Products by Women, for Women (Part 2/2)
The announcement of a collective of women specializing in all aspects of makeup and special effects has rocked the SFX world! Coven FX brings together a team of talented women, each with varying backgrounds in makeup and special effects, coming together to form an FX company run by women, making FX products for women. Along with their original line of women’s silicone masks, Coven FX will also be offering services including but not limited to: mold making, casting, prosthetic and transfer making, prop making, foam fabrication, FX dentures, and life casting.
I previously brought you Part 1 of the story and introduced you to the owner/founder Haylee Detroit and her co-founders Cassandra Byers and Melissa Coulter. Now here is your chance to get to know the rest of the team of women of this groundbreaking company!
Meet the rest of the Coven FX team artists: Angela Merritt: Shop Manager/FX Artist, Bailey Dukes: Costume Designer/Doll Maker, Brenda Salome Salamone: FX Artist and Miranda Riddle: FX Artist. I asked all the amazing members of the team the same questions and found out everything I could about where they came from and where they are going!
INTERVIEW WITH THE WOMEN OF COVEN FX
Los Angeles Zombie Girl: Hi ladies! I am so excited about Coven FX. The videos and photos I’ve been seeing are fabulous! What got you all started in this business?
Angela Merritt: It was really my love for Halloween, every year even as a kid I put together these elaborate costumes and makeup was always part of it. So I kept playing and practicing and it hasn’t stopped from there. Always loved the creeps and spooks.
Bailey Dukes: I’m new to the business end, but I have always been a fan of special effects! I love makeup and creatures and the amazing artistry that goes into them. I met Haylee a couple of years ago and we’ve worked on a couple of projects together since then. I’m very excited to start this new chapter and gain new experiences.
Brenda Salamone: When I was in high school and college, makeup was my life. My family used to tease me that the local drugstore always threw a party when they knew I was coming home from college because I’d buy so much makeup!. But I was interested in more than beauty. I grew up watching Labyrinth, Legend, early Star Trek, and of course, Star Wars, so I was keen to create makeups that were beautiful and otherworldly rather than gory and frightening. I took my two greatest loves, painting and makeup, and found a way to make it happen. Funny thing is that I never would have been able to do it if I hadn’t have gotten divorced. My ex very generously gave me a settlement all at once so I could go to Make-Up Designory instead of the standard monthly alimony payments.
Miranda Riddle: I have always been involved in the arts in one way or another, and basically as soon as I could walk I was running around the house finding things to make costumes and use as makeup. However, after high school, I decided to take a more “serious approach” to my life and study child development. It wasn’t until I made a trip to MONSTERPALOOZA during a self-inflicted schooling hiatus that I realized I was missing out on my passion.
Los Angeles Zombie Girl: What can you each tell me about your journeys into SFX makeup?
Angela: December 2013, I bought was a Ben Nye Bruise wheel and was hooked. I loved the idea of playing with makeup in ways that freaked people out. My first gig was working for Terror Trucks at Scare LA doing frozen zombies that lead to a theater called Loft Ensemble where they had a horror play. I have been with them for 2.5 years now and it has led to many connections in the industry. I have booked Short Films, haunt jobs and learned all about the horror conventions and the amazing opportunities those bring! I will not stop until I can make monsters every day.
Bailey: I’ve been interested in makeup and costuming for as long as I remember. I always played dress-up as a child and as a pre-teen got very involved in my local theater where I started learning theater makeup techniques. My focus eventually shifted to costuming, but my love of horror and special effects didn’t fade and I started gravitating to people who were interested in those same things.
Brenda: While at M.U.D. in 2011, I interned with Mike Spatola at Makeup and Effects Labs. It turned out to be the best thing I could have ever done. Not only did I get to learn a lot about sculpting and molding, but Mike is the best mentor anyone could ask for. He brought me on to assist on an indie film the day after I graduated. Right after that ended, I got a 3-day zombie movie, and right after that, Mike introduced me to Scott Ramp and the Scream Team, and I started doing makeup for Fright Fest at Six Flags. I’ve done it every year since, except for one when I had a job that didn’t allow the time off. I was also incredibly honored to be able to work with Joel Harlow and his team in the lab creating the old age prosthetics for Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger. That lead to me working directly on Joel’s line of silicone wounds he debuted at IMATS Los Angeles in 2013.
Miranda: After that trip to Monsterpalooza, I put it out into the world that I was changing my career path and I needed guidance. I was amazingly lucky to be friends with Emmy winning and now Oscar-nominated makeup artist Chris Nelson, who basically said, “I see what you want, I know you can do it. Let’s go.” He guided the early months of my career and within 6 months of studying and getting my hands dirty wherever I could, I had booked my first feature. Less than a year into my career I was working for Scott Ramp at Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Fright Fest making 80 zombies a night and absolutely living for it.
Los Angeles Zombie Girl: So where did you all get your inspirations?
Angela: Working with talented, positively driven people inspire me. Anytime I work on a project and I can help make a look or an idea come to life really gets me excited. Also, I grew up watching the horror movies of the 80’s and 90’s and to see the progression of makeup from where it was to where it is now, really shows that if I push hard enough I can really create anything.
Bailey: I was a huge fantasy fan growing up, so a big inspiration for me was fantasy movies from the 80’s such as Labyrinth and Legend. Labyrinth was the first thing that I can remember really sparking something in me, that wanted to be part of that kind of beautiful, strange world. However, I didn’t start sewing until years later when I got into anime as a teenager and found out about cosplay.
Brenda: As I said early, sci-fi and fantasy movies from the 70’s-90’s. One thing that has been great about my artistic background is that I’m able to use those skills to paint nice makeups at Fright Fest, even with the limited time available.
Miranda: I’m inspired by film, first and foremost. I consider film my religion. Movie theaters are my place of worship. The classic Universal Monsters paved the way for so much. A more modern movie that sticks out as being a game changer for me was the original FRIGHT NIGHT. That movie was one of the first I watched and thought, “I want to know how to do THAT!”. I’m also constantly inspired by the amazing women in our industry, past and present– from Millicent Patrick to Eryn Krueger Mekash. (Another huge influence in my career path and my life in general!)
Los Angeles Zombie Girl: Why you are doing this together? Why an all-female team?
Angela: Within the FX industry there really isn’t a large female presence and ladies like us want to play with the monsters and blood just like the boys. There is also a huge gap in women’s silicone masks. You don’t see many female characters or even a smaller fit of the mask for a lady. With Coven FX, our goal is to close that gap.
Bailey: Since I already had worked with Haylee and Miranda in the past I was thrilled to be able to work with them again and the chance to work with other amazing women was a plus as well. Even though things are better, there are still a lot of places where women are not equal to men and having a group of all women means that not only can we share in similar experiences, but we can help advance each other and hopefully show other aspiring female artists that they can get involved in this business as well.
Brenda: Haylee is the nucleus we’re all revolving around!! Her driving force to get this started was really inspiring to me. I met her and Miranda because of Fright Fest, and I think this business just has a way of making sisters out of artists. We work well together, and each of us brings awesome skills to the table that really play off each other and blend perfectly. Plus, it gives us a way to learn even more from each other. We’ve already started thinking of things we can do beyond makeup, like fabrication, and it’s very exciting.
Miranda: Because girls rock! This industry has always been a “boys game” no matter how many women are in it. Now is the most perfect time to show everyone how powerful and amazing women are, even and especially if it means getting dirty and bloody. Plus, no one is manufacturing masks for women, and we want to fill that gap. By women and for women, always!
Los Angeles Zombie Girl: What is the ultimate goal for Coven FX?
Angela: The overall goal is to provide a line of female masks that women and even possibly smaller size men can wear. We also would like to produce our own prosthetics and host our own workshops to inspire youth to continue to not be afraid of the dark.
Bailey: I believe the ultimate goal is to provide a high quality, unique product that serves a need in the business and in doing so also allow all of us to get fully involved in a creative job environment. Most all of us work regular day-to-day jobs at the moment and while they pay the bills it’s not exactly what we’d like to be doing. We’ve also talked about doing seminars and the like, sometime in the future, in order to share the knowledge and love of the craft with others.
Brenda: My ultimate goal is fulfilling work, and results that I can be proud of. Learning more, and becoming a better artist. Creating something together that we can all be proud of, and hopefully, showing young girls today that professional effects makeup isn’t just a boy’s club.
Miranda: For me personally, this is a chance to work with some amazing artists, and learn from, and teach women all over. I have been a theatre educator for the last 5 years as well, and I want to bring that into our world at Coven – teaching FX classes to younger girls, and making them know exactly how powerful they are and how they can thrive in this industry or any industry they choose. We all want to inspire and empower women and girls, and the cool bonus is that at the same time we are inspiring and empowering each other.
SUPPORT WOMEN IN HORROR, SUPPORT COVEN FX!
The Coven FX GoFundMe site is now live to help raise funds to open their shop this summer. Your donations will go toward all the necessities of opening any new business: Business License, Insurance, Website, Shop Deposit, Utilities, Materials, Supplies, Business Cards, Marketing, etc. To make your donation go to: www.gofundme.com/covenfx.
These women are amazing and I see great things ahead. Please check out all their sites, watch their videos, support them any way you can and have fun doing it! And stay tuned for Part 2 of this story which will introduce you to the additional team members that make this an unstoppable company.