MUD Talks: Kato DeStefan

Design2Kato DeStan 2

We recently sat down to talk to make-up artist, Robert Kato DeStefan.
Below, you’ll find out about his work on Guardians of the Galaxy, NCIS, Teen Wolf and more!

MUD: Where were you born?
Kato: Rockville Center, New York.

MUD: What was it like for you growing up?
Kato: Fun! Also I was a shy kid, so it was kind of lonely but at the same time, I grew up in an Italian American family. Even though I was an only child, I had a lot of cousins around so there was always somebody to mess with.

MUD: Where do you get inspiration?
Kato: It’s totally from my friends. I’m very fortunate that my friends are really some of the most talented make up artists out there constantly pushing the bar setting it higher and higher. I really need to look no further than them. Whether it be Margaret Prentice, Eryn Kruegar Mekash or Richard Redlefsen here in Burbank they are all such brilliant artists. Surround yourself with good people and it makes you want to be better.

MUD: What drew you to make-up as a career?
Kato: Growing up watching Star Trek and Planet of the Apes kind of set things in motion. I also watched a lot with the Universal horror films and Hammer horror films. Not being a sports related kid, I would sit inside all weekend and watch all those movies on TV. Then once the movie The Thing came out, that was the absolute final nail in the coffin where I said “I have to do this for a living!”

MUD: What was your first big break?
Kato: That would be getting a job at SFX working with Steve Johnson. Prior to that, I had done while still in make up school, I did a job with the director of the school. It was a little short film for Saturday Night Live called Sleep Tight where you had a sandman character. One of my classmates was Louie Zakarian who runs SNL right now. Louie was still working on his project when mine was done so he took me on set and I got to work on that for a couple of days.

MUD: Who are your heroes and mentors?
Kato: I would have to say Rick Baker because he really set everything in motion for all of us. Dick Smith on a personal level as a teacher and a friend. Steve Johnson as a boss and friend. Michael Westmore really was tremendous, because I was a huge fan of his work prior to meeting him. He taught me how to be production friendly and how to be good on set with etiquette by watching how he treats people. He is an incredibly kind human being and is very generous not only with his knowledge but with his time.

MUD:  Tell me about working on Suburban Commando and Batman Returns.
Kato: Oh God, yeah. That was the early days I was at SFX. Suburban Commando I was pouring dental acrylic into molds so you can get those little spines that came off the little suit or alien. I’d also be taking all the disinfectant and cleaning out the suit when it came back from set. Batman Returns was originally only going to be Bill Corso doing it. He was working on the burned corpse of Christopher Walken at the end of the movie that gets exposed. Steve had sent me since I was the runner down to Warner Brothers to pick up the sketch that looked like Jack Skeleington only with hair from Tim Burton. Bill was going to work on it and he realized it was more than work than he expected. So he was like “What are you doing this weekend? Do you want to help me?” So Bill was really the artist, I was just an extra pair of hands.

MUD: Tell me about your work on Con Man and The Guild.
Kato: It was great. It’s just like working on any other kind of set. Your still with professionals, it’s just the budgets are different. On The Guild, Felicia Day is an amazing producer and she did a great job writing on everything. She always knocks it out of the park. It was almost all straight make up with a little bit of character to it because of the steampunk characters for the season they did the convention. I wound up being in one of their convention shots actually.  They were like “Okay you guys can sit there but just don’t look at the camera.” So we tucked our set bags on the other side of the chair so the frame had just me sitting there texting on my phone in the background.

Con Man was great and some of the same people there had worked on The Guild.   I only did the one alien that we shot for two days on that show but I got to see Nathan Fillion again. I got to do his convention scene on the Guild. My friend Debbie Zoller is and was Nathan’s personal. I called Debbie and she told me how his make up is normally done. She even set it up so I went over to her house and picked up his bag so I had all the right stuff with me.

MUD: Tell me your work on Horrible Bosses 2.
Kato: That was actually something that was a break. I didn’t expect to work on it as much as I did. I started out as a day checker doing tattoos on Jamie Foxx’s stunt double who worked a lot more than Jamie Foxx did because it’s a lot of driving scenes. I think Jamie himself only filmed for a couple of days but his stunt double was used more. I believe it was Greg Nelson who started with Jonathan Banks’ character and they eventually gave me Jonathan to do. The Department Head, Debby La Mia Denaver, and I got along really well and she knew I needed days. So she brought me in whenever she could even if it was an eight and skate down in Irvine.  Because of that I got to work on the poster shoot. There were two artists who did Jamie’s tattoos and one was off on another project. Since I did the double, I was familiar with the tattoos and I would help Kantaro Yanno with Jamie for the poster. That established me with Kanaterro working together and he gives me work all the time now.  So that was really a very important film for me.

MUD: Tell me about your work on The Goldbergs and NCIS.
Kato: On the Goldbergs, I just get brought in to do background. Occasionally Bonni Flowers who’s Department Head will have me keep an eye on a principal actor on set. It’s standard day checking stuff. Kim Greene brought me in on the first season. Once Kim left and Bonni took over, she continued to bring me in when I was available. I’m very thankful for that because it was a special show having seen Sean Gianbrone, the little kid, grow up and watching the other characters grow into their parts has been a lot fun. Everyone on it is so nice. All the actors, all the crew really are family. I’m not as close there as I am with the Teen Wolf crew but close.

On NCIS, is a show where its “ok who’s the dead person of the week?”  You go in early in the morning, you kill somebody, film it, go back, you clean ‘em up and you’re gone. So it’s a quick in and out. Tina Hoffman who’s one of the keys on the show, is the one who’s been bringing me back and she got her start under Michael Westmore. So we’ve got a great connection there.

MUD: Tell me about your work on Guardians of the Galaxy
Kato: Guardians involved just four days of pick up shots being done over at Disney. I was going in and painting box circles around people’s eyes and doing a little bit construction worker make up on the miners with the yellow dust on them. Just day checking and doing background make up for people who will be composited into shots. It was a great experience to be on it, because the sets and everything were fantastic.

MUD: When you work only a few days on larger high profile projects do you find those bigger credits help you get better work?
Kato: I never know. There’s the part of me that says it looks great on my resume but does it look great to me or to other people?  For me, it’s great experience to be part of such a huge film. It makes me feel good. I also did Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I got to do an eight and skate on that. I got to make up some of Gary Oldman’s people, which were about 15 background players on that. I jumped at the chance! I was working doing all night on Teen Wolf. I got out at 5:30AM, and I had to be at Fox at 9:00AM.  I barely had time to stop home, shower, grab my kit and head down to the lot. I did it because it was Apes that was such a huge part of my life growing up. My mom took me to see the original five movies back to back that played all night at a drive in theater. I didn’t sleep! I was awake all the way through sitting in the back of our hatchback just glued. So the tiny bit I was attached to that film was fantastic for me.

MUD: Tell me about your work on Teen Wolf.
Kato: It’s a big part of my life for three seasons and a couple of episodes. It’s how I’ve paid my rent, how I’ve got my health insurance and how I’ve made some of the best friends I’ll ever make in this Industry. The show has a phenomenal group of actors and we actually do hang outside of work. It’s the only experience I’ve had quite like it.

I’m friends with Chris Gallaher who’s Department Head. He was in need of someone to come in and day check. I ran into him at Monsterpalooza and said to him “Hey if you’re filming I’m available” and he was like “Oh okay” so he brought me in for a few weeks to test me out. Gradually he kept bringing me back. I try to get along with everyone and I just wound up being a good fit.

MUD: What is your favorite make-up? Or If your house was on fire and you could only save one scene from all your movies what would it be?
Kato: By myself, my favorite is probably a Charlie Sheen look-a-like make up for the film that got me in the Union called Not Another Celebrity Movie. I got to work with the actor David Burliegh a good portion of the time and it was only a three week shoot. It’s a favorite because it was doing someone who’s a contemporary figure.

My second favorite was the Abigail Folger make up on Aquairus. It was a challenge because that was the first time I had to do a make up based on an autopsy report.

MUD: Do you feel there’s any difference working on TV vs Film?
Kato: I don’t think it’s any different. Time is maybe more of a factor but you still need same quality on the level of finishing a piece because most of TV is HD now. The only thing is you’ll do more scenes in one day on TV than you will in film. Film is about trying as many angles as you can. TV is more about how many scenes can you get done in a day.

Is there a paycheck difference on TV versus film? Depends on what level you’re working at. Department Heads will likely make more, probably a lot more, on film. For us day-to-day grunts, just going in on a contract rate it’s the same either way.  I made my best paycheck on a TV job actually. However, that’s because that FX shop I was with had negotiated a higher rate, and higher kit fee. On my own, I’m not really able to negotiate that rate. This is what rental is, our rate is and that’s it. As a Department Head you can get that higher pay but that’s dependent on experience and awards.

MUD: What has been challenging about make-up?
Kato: Having to match anything that Kenny Myers has worked on. Because we work next to each other on Teen Wolf and sometimes he’ll be doing the make up and I’ll be doing the stunt double. Kenny is a meticulous artist so it’s tricky for me to try and match anything that he’s doing. I can usually get the right side fine. Looking across at Kenny, I can see right side fine. It’s when I have to work on the left side it gets harder because it’s not the side I was constantly looking at. So it’ll be a lot of me stepping and running around to the other side looking at Kenny’s and then running back to duplicate it. This is especially if it’s the first day the make up is established.

MUD: What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Kato: Strangely it’s don’t be a d**k. Just try to get along. Don’t think you’re the best because strangely enough those who are don’t think they’re the best. Check your ego at the door. It’s a matter of attitude. Don’t have one.

MUD: What Advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Kato: There’s a quote from Todd Macintosh, which is “Know your craft.” Learn as much as you can constantly. The Industry is always growing and it’s better you stay on top of everything that’s currently happening but don’t totally dismiss the stuff that’s come before.

Graduate Spotlight: Claire Doyle



“Never stop researching and never stop networking.”
– Claire Doyle

MUD: Where were you born?
Claire: I was born in Los Angeles, California.

MUD: What was it like growing up for you?
Claire: I’m the youngest of three. My parents are immigrants from South Africa. My father is a physician and plastic surgeon. My mother is an artist.  I kind of felt make up was a funny combination of both of their careers together: reconstructing faces and dabbling with art.

MUD: What was your first experience with make-up in your life?
Claire: Probably when I was a teenager. In my grade school through teenage years, I was a ballerina and I was involved in theater.  I used to always do make-up for our shows and I remember people saying, “Oh I like how you did yours, can you do mine, too?”  So I carried that Caboodle around with all my make-up supplies and we did each other’s make-up.

 MUD: How did you choose MUD as a make up school?
Claire: I was in my 2nd year of college at Emmerson College in Boston. I took a make-up class for fun and really enjoyed it so during my summer break, I wanted to use the time to pursue the make-up education further.  I researched schools at the time and there were only three then: Joe Blasco, Make Up Designory and Westmore Academy.  Maurice Stein, the owner of Cinema Secrets, was a patient of my father’s and he said to him, “Oh my daughter’s interested in make-up, which school do you recommend?” So Maurice was the one who actually suggested looking into MUD. I was just drawn to the curriculum and I think it was also about how the schedule worked out during my summer vacation! So all the cards were in the right place and that’s why I ended up choosing MUD.

MUD: What was your first big break?
Claire: I don’t know because it feels like it keeps happening! I was just so excited to get my first job out of MUD and it was with another make-up artist. It was a three picture deal. She did the first picture and then she jumped ship to go do something else. I was left hanging with 2 low budget movies back-to-back and I just thought, “Wow what a great start!” I want to say my first big break in my make-up career was not actually doing make-up. It was being the production assistant on the first 3 Pirates of the Caribbean movies but that was about a year and half already into my career! Even more recently, I went to the Super Bowl and I did the first live commercial ever for the Super Bowl! Like I said, I feel like these keep happening.

MUD: What was the biggest challenge working on the live Super Bowl commercial?
Claire: I feel like I had the most challenging element because we were filming live and I couldn’t go in for touch ups! Of course, it was a very emotional commercial and the talent was bawling non-stop. One woman was crying for twenty minutes straight and I had no monitor to look at what they filming.  So that was a challenge of placing trust to ride it out for what it was. Afterwards, I got to run and give tissues when they called cut.

MUD: What has been the secret to having such a strong career?
Claire: I think it’s never giving up. There was a quote I was going to share with the students that I read recently in a book that has more to do with general business but it applies: “You aren’t finished when you are defeated. You are finished when you decide to quit.”  I was adaptable with the industry. I’m going into my 17th year of my career now. And if you think about it, when I started there was no Facebook, no Myspace, and no Instagram. I worked through 2 strikes — we had an actor’s strike and a writer’s strike, and I’m still doing what I’m doing. You know, with every challenge that comes with our industry, it really comes back to you. Just don’t give up. If it’s something you know you’re supposed to do and you love it, you’ll find a way to do it.

MUD: What is your advice for people starting out?
Claire: Get organized. Stay motivated any which way you can whether that’s being around good people or reading books. Also just enjoy your own life and avoid getting work burnout. This is supposed to just be a part of your life, not entirely who you are.

Any final thoughts?
Claire: Never stop researching and never stop networking.


Interview by Bob Mitsch

Dylan Smith Visit



MUD graduate, Dylan Smith (Multimedia 2016) came to speak with the MUD students yesterday.  Mr. Smith’s professionalism, charisma, and talent have made him a great addition to the makeup world.  He was able to share his experiences networking, building his own business, and working in a billion dollar industry. 

It was such a pleasure having Mr. Smith as a graduate guest speaker.  All of the students and I gained a wealth of knowledge in branding and business etiquette.  We would love to have him back again in the next month or so when more students will be available to hear him speak.

Not only did he share some great tips and inspiring words of advice, but he also offered interested students an opportunity to be considered to work with him on an upcoming wedding!” 

— Sheriece Isaac, Career Services @ MUD LA

Graduate Spotlight: Angel Radefeld-Wright



Angel and MUD go way back. Back to the beginning. Angel took a chance and left her life as a cosmetologist in Kansas to attend the brand new Make-up Designory school which was then based in a tiny space in North Hollywood, California back in 1998. 

Since graduating from MUD, Angel has been riddled with success in the industry for the past 19 years, most recently and notably, serving as the assistant make-up department head for LaLa Land. Over the years, Angel has always worked on projects such as Little Miss Sunshine, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Hangover. Angel is currently the make-up department head for Showtime’s series, “Ray Donovan.” (For a full list of credits, visit her IMDB.)

MUD: Tell us a little bit about your background. Where are you from? What did you want to be when you grew up? What led you to MUD?
Angel: I’m a Midwest girl! Drove to LA with my car and cats behind a U-haul. Growing up, I always knew that Los Angeles was where I would end up. It wasn’t until I was in high school, during our plays, that I realized make-up was and always had been a passion. I can’t sing very well so when our school would do the musicals, I volunteered to be the backstage make-up artist.


MUD: What are you doing now?
Angel: Currently, I’m the Department Head on Showtime’s Ray Donovan. We’re on our 5th season and I’ve been fortunate to be a part of it since the pilot. I’m currently living in Los Angeles with my husband and our 2 beautiful kids. (Along with our dog and a couple of desert tortoises.)

MUD: What did you do RIGHT after you left MUD?
Angel: Right after I got out of school, I hit the pavement hard. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. My first “job” out of school wasn’t even doing make-up, it was getting it put on! I wanted to get on a set and didn’t have ANY connections. I signed up to do background work and got on a movie. I didn’t realize that it would employ me for 3 months solid! Every morning at 4am, I had to show up at Universal and go through hair & make-up for about an hour. There were over twenty hair & make-up artists there. I learned a lot about being on a set. I learned good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s all come full-circle and I have had the pleasure of working with some of those artists as peers to this day.

MUD: What do you remember most vividly about your time at MUD?
Angel: I remember being excited to create on our classmates everyday. I also remember being frustrated at certain lessons that I thought I could never master (like laying beards). I also had NO money and that gave me the drive to never give up — I had left everything back in the Midwest for this! I felt there were no other options. Not to mention I LOVED BEING AT MUD!


MUD: Do you/will you stay in touch with the friends you made at MUD? Why do you think that is important in your line of work?
Angel: I can’t say that I’m in contact with anyone from school these days. A few of us did for awhile, but as time moved on, so did our interests. I am, however, still in touch with my mentors and teachers. I’m forever grateful for them. When I taught at MUD, that was another big influence in my career. I’m still very much in touch with my fellow instructors from that time. Keeping connections in this business is a must. There are people that I talk to on the phone or shoot an email to that I physically haven’t seen in years. But we recommend each other for jobs all of the time.

MUD: Tell us about your best day at MUD?
Angel: My best day at MUD was the first day and my last day doing our final projects. I was excited to start this journey.


MUD: What are some lessons you learned at MUD that you think will be most beneficial in the “real world?”
Angel: When I was at MUD I was fortunate to have the director of the school’s father Byrd Holland give us a lesson in “set etiquette.” He was a retired master of the craft and had been on more sets than I was old. He gave us a brief look at what to do and what not to do while at work. His ways today would be considered “old fashioned” & “dated.” Not as far as I’m concerned. I believe those words he said are the golden rule book. I try very hard to make sure the people I surround myself with at work believe that as well.

MUD: Would you have done anything differently?
Angel: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! (Well, maybe have a little more money in savings.)


MUD: Do you have any words of encouragement for those considering applying to MUD?
Angel: Learn as much as you can. Take all of the programs and ask all the questions you want. It’s a forever learning industry and you never know which direction you’ll go.

MUD: Lastly, what advice to you have for today’s MUD students?
Angel: NEVER GIVE UP! No job is too little and no position is too small. You never know who’ll you meet on that job and where it could lead you.


MUD Talks: Fred C. Blau


We recently had the honor of having Fred C. Blau speak to our students at our LA campus in Burbank. Fred has worked on such legendary films as Apocalypse Now, Planet of the Apes, Charlie’s Angels, Armageddon and Con Air. During his career, Fred was even challenged with the task of creating realistic looking artificial blood which led to his company, Reel Creations.

Battle of the Brushes Competitors

Battle of the Brushes Header

BOTB_collage.jpgBattle of the Brushes brings makeup artists together who share the same passion. What inspires me the most about past competitions is the amount of talent that participants display as well as the amazing judges participating in the event.”
— MUD graduate, Jerry Noriega

Battle of the Brushes is upon us once again! In a few short days, MUD graduates from Los Angeles and New York will be heading to IMATS New York to compete in this exciting event! Students who have graduated within a year of the competition date are encourage to apply. The competition is broken down into two categories — one portion is character/prosthetics and the other is beauty/fantasy. A different theme is selected for both categories each year. 2017’s themes will be Guardians of the Galaxy for character/prosthetics and International Beauty for beauty/fantasy.

We’re so proud of our MUD grads who will be competing! A total of eight MUD grads will be competing this year and we wanted to see what was on their minds as they prepare for battle…of the brushes.

What made you decide to enter Battle of the Brushes?

Korbyn Rachel: I decided to enter Battle of the Brushes because I thought to myself, “what do I have to lose?” I entered the competition with the mindset of “everything happens for a reason,” so whether I got in or not, I would be proud of myself for entering.

Jerry Noriega: The one thing that made me decide to enter Battle of the Brushes was the love I have for this industry and for what I create, along with the support of my friends, family and mentors throughout my career. I think the challenge and having this new experience out of my comfort zone drove me to enter in this competition.

Lacey Buccina:  I entered Battle of the Brushes mainly for the experience. My Beauty 101 teacher, Lisa Leveridge, always pushed for us to compete. I applied for the first time to the NY location and got in and I am so honored!

Crystal Gomez:  I wanted to enter Battle of the Brushes to push myself into creating and designing more make-ups on my own. I also saw it as a way to have my makeup viewed by amazing artists and the people I’ve looked up to for years!

Shideh Kafei: Battle of the Brushes has always been a dream of mine. I attended MUD where my amazing professors encouraged students to enter. My mind was set when Michael Key came in to speak to the us. Now, not only am I super pumped about attending IMATS for the first time, but also to say that I will compete for the Battle of the Brushes!

Chelsea Nowak: I was entering my last leg at MUD, focused on graduating with some awesome final projects and an invaluable wealth of knowledge, when some former students started coming into MUD to practice for Battle of the Brushes LA. They were producing some pretty cool work and I didn’t really consider that I could be ready to do the same thing in just a couple short months. Once the buzz started around MUD about the NY competition, I couldn’t come up with a good reason not to apply. I realized that if I didn’t dive in right then, I would never get the same opportunity again, and I knew I needed to put myself to the test.

BrittanyRose LaFemina: I knew that I was going to apply for Battle of the Brushes the second I learned about it and IMATS. I found out about it when Michael Key came to MUD to talk to us about IMATS and the industry; I was immediately inspired. I had multiple friends that had been in BOTB (and won!) and I had helped them through their preparations, so when it came time for me to apply, they were super supportive and helpful. They still inspire me while I prepare for my own makeup; I always go back to their make-ups for inspiration because if they can do it, I know that I can do it, too.

What was the process of entering like?

Rachel: The actual process of entering was super simple and easy. The prep to enter though, was stressful (yet exciting and fun, of course), but totally worth it. I stayed after class many times during the week to plan out and apply make-ups, and went to the Saturday photoshoots as well.

Buccina: You have to submit 8-10 photos of what you think is your best work. This doesn’t need to be anything like what you will be executing for the competition. I submitted mainly beauty pictures from by Beauty 301 class and one avant garde photo.

Gomez:  It started with me making the initial decision of entering then, brainstorming ideas for make-ups that would showcase my makeup the best. I’m on a very tight budget so I knew it meant that my make-up should stand out and I had to keep wardrobe simple.

Kafei: When thinking about submitting for the Battle of the Brushes, I knew I had it in me, but that I wouldn’t make it with the portfolio I currently had. So when I graduated MUD in November, I put myself to work. I tested with as many photographers as I could, but knew I needed to do projects on my own where I could have creative freedom. I put together shoots with various models, stylists, and an incredible photographer. I did looks that I thought would stand out. I printed out more than I need to submit and only sent in my favorites. And then the hardest part…the waiting game until I found out I had made it!

Nowak: Another competitor and I actually spent a few busy weeks in January working through the entry process together, which definitely made for an exciting start to this journey. We put in some late nights brainstorming, sculpting, pre-painting, and applying make-ups in order to produce creatures and characters we were proud to submit. MUD has been very supportive of us both from the beginning, providing us with the means and guidance to do so to the best of our abilities. For me, it was a gratifying achievement simply to meet the challenge of applying, and being invited to compete was one of the proudest moments of my life.

What is your strategy going into the competition?

Rachel: While preparing for the competition, I will be studying the background of Guardians of the Galaxy. I really want to understand the environment the characters live in, and why they are the way they are. Practice makes perfect, so I plan on practicing many many times up until the competition to get everything in line — so I am mentally and physically prepared.

Noriega: My strategy going into the competition is to micromanage every step, and prepare ahead of time with exactly what I need to complete my character, paying attention to all of the categories that are going to be judged. Practicing a full run of my character and finishing in the amount of time given in the competition would be the best strategy.

Buccina: I have been speaking a lot with the LA IMATS winner, Kyrsta Morehouse. She gave me a lot of pointers on what I should do while I’m there. My strategy will be practicing as often as possible and just trying to keep calm. I am truly just honored to even be one of the 8 selected for the beauty/fantasy portion of this competition and I cannot wait for the experience.

Gomez: My strategy going in is to go to IMATS Battle of the Brushes, not with the idea that I MUST win, but to think of what an amazing opportunity it is to meet people I admire and to show them what I can do in the time allowed. I don’t want my time in NY to be clouded by anxiety and too much stress. I’m preparing myself as much as I can now with practice and design plans and hopefully everything will go well!

Kafei: My main strategy is to have a plan and be prepared. This competition has been on my mind since I submitted in January and even before that. I have made mood boards, have had mock trials, and have changed my mind on the look many times. I want the final look to be something I am totally confident in and passionate about. I think you need to be 100% into something for you to do the best at it. I also want to stay away for doing things that have been done in the past or that is expected from the winner. I want it to be different and unique.

LaFemina: As I prepare for BOTB, I have been doing a ton of research on my subject as well as styles of make-up from all over the world. I began with a fun/stressful trip to The Met to decide what part of the world I would be concentrating on for my makeup. There were so many wonderful pieces that I was flooded with amazing ideas. I was a little torn at first as to what part of the world I would be concentrating on, until I saw something in a store window that I took as a sign. It was perfect! Like a sign from the Universe that this was what I am meant to do.

How do you think winning Battle of the Brushes helps make-up artists in the long run?

Rachel: Battle of the Brushes is a great way for new artists to get out there. The competition helps in the long run by opening up opportunities for the artists that otherwise would take years to build up to.

Noriega: Winning in Battle of the Brushes helps in the long run and not just because you are exposing your work in the industry to makeup artists who can get in connect you to bigger job opportunities, but it challenges you to push yourself , grow and be better at what you do, and inspires people. When I watched past competitions, I see people who are just like me.

Buccina: I think winning Battle of the Brushes would help me to work better under pressure, with time management skills, concept development and hopefully it will gain me recognition from potential employers as well as role models.

Kafei: I would be so honored to win! It would be something I will remember forever and a great stepping stone for me. I will hopefully make a few connections that will open doors to bigger and better things in the future.

Nowak: Winning Battle of the Brushes is such an incredible prospect because of the experience and exposure it entails above all else. Competing alone is an opportunity to break out the big guns and show professionals, amateurs, and ourselves who we are as artists and what we can accomplish under pressure. Winning is essentially an endorsement from the people we admire, a stamp of affirmation that we know what we’re doing and we do it well. Success in this industry is all about networking, and earning first place in Battle of the Brushes is a great way to make valuable connections that will inform the trajectory of the future.

LaFemina: I’m so excited for IMATS knowing that it will be great exposure for my work. People in the industry that I might never have had the chance to meet otherwise, are going to be seeing my work which is the most exciting part about competing. It’s going to be a great experience.

Everyone at MUD wishes all of our grads the best of luck in the competition.

Battle of the Brushes_good luck

May the best brush win!


Below is a full list of competitors, their campus, their category and their Instagram: 

Brittany Rose LaFemina, MUD Studio NY, Beauty/Fantasy

Shideh Kafei, MUD Studio NY, Beauty/Fantasy

Lacey Buccina, MUD Studio LA, Beauty/Fantasy

Kunduz Duishenbaeua, MUD Studio NY, Character/Prosthetic

Korbyn Rachel, MUD Studio NY, Character/Prosthetic

Chelsea Nowak, MUD Studio NY, Character/Prosthetic

Crystal Gomez, MUD Studio LA, Character/Prosthetic

Jerry Noriega, MUD Studio LA, Character/Prosthetic