The television show “Face Off” proved a wide audience could be captivated by watching artists transform a living model into a sci-fi character worthy of stage or screen. Disney and Universal proved cosplay can draw a massive audience. And Tifinie, a former Disney cast member and Universal team member, can teach you how to do both.
Tifinie spent 16 years working as a makeup artist at Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, and Universal Studios Japan. When she applied for the job of face painter at Walt Disney World, she had no idea what she was getting into, but when she learned Enjoy Your Face—the third-party vendor that supplies face painting artists for Disney—had locations at all major theme parks, and that she was chosen to work at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, she was extremely excited.
“It was my first time working in a theme park I had visited all my life,” Tifinie says. “My mom and my sister both held jobs at Disney, so to say I have many memories at Disney as a kid is an understatement. I was overjoyed to start my journey at such a magical place that held and created so many memories for me as a kid.”
She performed face-painting magic in all four Disney parks and at Disney Springs, and, as a “people person,” it was a role she loved. “We were given five minutes to paint a face, but in that short time I cherished talking with families and getting to know them just a little bit, and finding out how they were enjoying their time at Walt Disney World.”
She also wanted to take her craft further.
“I always had a fascination with makeup in movies while I was growing up. I loved Sci-Fi and horror movies. Just seeing people transformed into unique characters, creatures, robots, or animals using makeup for a show or movie totally sparked my interest and curiosity. But being a child of the ’80s. my exposure to the industry was somewhat limited.”
Through the Florida Film Academy—a company that teaches young adults the ins and outs of film, including production, photography, editing, acting, and other steps it takes to produce a film or short movie—Tifinie now teaches online SFX makeup and face painting classes, as well as costuming and cosplay techniques, for young makeup artists and cosplayers, helping them to express themselves and allowing them to share space with others who have the same passion.
“I would come in and teach a group of students different makeup techniques so they could create characters for the films and short movies they were producing,” she says of her early days with FFA. “It quickly turned into me holding weekly classes for students interested in learning more in-depth makeup skills, and it has been continuing and growing ever since then. To see the same spark [I had] in the students that attended my workshops showed me that I could provide these youths the opportunity for an outlet I didn’t have when I was younger, and hopefully give them the starting point for a career in the makeup industry. Many of my students make new friends and expand their relationships outside of the classroom.”
There is an added benefit to what she does, too. Tifinie says, “Makeup and cosplay are very social acts and I believe the class and students offer each other a secure environment that helps some overcome their shyness and encourages new interactions with each other.”
Does the success of “Face Off” come into it? Yes, says Tifinie. “I sometimes try to mimic the challenges they have on the show for the kids in the classroom. Halloween Horror Nights is something we talk about in the class as well, and some students have parents that are scare actors.”
Tifinie hopes to get the call that will allow her to “return to making magical moments with guests with a swipe of my paint brush,” but until then, she’s helping scores of young people tap into their passion for SFX makeup.
For more information or to sign up for a class, visit FLFilmAcademy.com (look for the SFX makeup class and Cosplay/Prop design classes under Classes, then Online Classes).
You can also contact FFA via email on Stefanie@FLFilmAcademy.com, or call (407) 654-8400 and ask for information on SFX makeup classes & Cosplay/Prop design classes.