Alana Rose Schiro was paralyzed with fear, which was kind of funny if you think about it.
The first two weeks of appearing on Syfy's reality competition, "Face Off" (9 p.m. Tuesdays) have featured Ms. Schiro, 22, fretting over time management and her relative inexperience in creating monster movie makeup.
Ms. Schiro is a graduate of the Tom Savini Special Make-up Effects program at the Douglas Education Center in Monessen, as is "Face Off" contestant Jason Milani. In Week 1 of the competition, she and a partner were frantically trying to create a cowl and prosthetics for a "Star Wars" creature but eventually turned out a good product.
Tuesday, Ms. Schiro's individual challenge was incorporating "crabs" into a pirate-themed creature. She did a nice job, but once again, the path to perfection was far from smooth.
That is so unlike her, she said shortly before the show's debut. But she was initially thrown by the fast pace of the challenge and somewhat intimidated by the skill level of some of the other competitors.
"I went in there feeling cocky; I'd just gotten out of school and everyone always told me how great I was," said Ms. Schiro, a New York native now living in Los Angeles.
"When [the filming began] I thought, 'I'm just a kid, I don't know half of what I need to know.' "
In the first challenge, contestant Rod Maxwell helped her team with advice on mold-making: "Rod was really my No. 1. He really helped me through all this, especially in the first episode."
With her magenta hair and multiple piercings, Ms. Schiro is a colorful character among many on the show. Growing up, she was a self-proclaimed "bad girl" who was hit with detention in the first few days of high school after drawing a stained-glass spider sleeve tattoo on a classmate's arm.
"I went to a performing arts high school, but I didn't want to be on stage," she said. "In one of the classrooms, there was a picture of someone applying a prosthetic, and I just said, 'This is what I want to do with my life.' "
She heard about the Savini program and Google-mapped "Monessen."
"I just saw the town, and I loved it," she said.
Next week on "Face Off," designers get about as far from Monessen as one might imagine -- They'll be creating Chinese New Year dragons.
• As always, machinations in the "Big Brother" house (CBS Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday and Showtime After Dark) defy logical explanation, but let's just say this was a painful week for Shaler High School grad Ian Terry.
Mr. Terry appeared incensed that one of the members of his "Quack Pack," Britney Haynes, was marked for elimination at the last minute. Ms. Haynes was indeed sent packing during Thursday's live show. Alliances have once again shifted, and Mr. Terry, an engineering student at Tulane, is going to have to dance a little faster to keep up.
• Here is an interesting take on reality TV from an unexpected source. Alice Cooper has a blog on Huffington Post:
"Believe me. I might be a rock star, all glitter, fake blood, makeup and theatrics (with awesome rock anthems of course) but you've no idea the hard graft and craft that's gone into my career.
"The problem is with wanting to be a reality TV star, you're only famous for a little while. You can't live on that fame forever. That's one of the major problems with the whole schtick.
"Want an example? I pick up a magazine and it says, 'Brenda is leaving Tom,' and I go, 'Who's Brenda?! Who's Tom?!' If it's Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, I go, 'ohh!' If it's Angie and Brad I go, 'wow!' If it's Claudia and Herman, I go ... 'I don't care! I hope they do break up! I don't even know them and I hope they break up!' Like, why should I care about these losers? I hate them more because they haven't earned the right of being famous!
"... When it comes to music reality TV however -- because, let's face it, if you're prepared to get on a stage and sing live in front of thousands, if not millions of people, you must be some kind of genius -- the only thing I have against 'X Factor' and 'American Idol' and things like that is that they just keep putting out the same person. They keep putting out these cookie-cutters that can go, 'Oh yeah, I can sing Barry Manilow!' Well, how about you write your own song?"tvradio
Maria Sciullo: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG.