Theatre makeup brings the haunt to life at Knott’s Scary Farm


Tiara White

Fernanda Vazquez airbrushing some color onto the actors face. Photo credit: Tiara White

Tiara White

Marilyn Parra and Tiara White

The theatre makeup program’s annual trip to Knott’s Scary Farm allowed students to talk to special effect makeup artist and learn tips and tricks to improve their craft. They were taken to the annual trip on Oct. 7.

Students in the program were able to get hands on experience in turning the witches and demons to life.

Professor Susan Watanabe says, “I always enjoy taking my students to experience this event, I want all my students to work in entertainment.”

Watanabe used to attend Knott’s while she was a student as well, pushing her to give her students the same experience down the road.

She started off by taking students one by one, sometimes sneaking them in and later upgraded by taking a whole class.

Theatre students were welcomed into a warehouse full of costumes, prosthetic masks and spooky faces.

For graphic design major, Fernanda Vazquez it was her first year attending the event and loved every second. Vazquez says she’ll be changing her major to theatre makeup.

Vazquez, along with several other students learned how to airbrush for the first time, improving their ability to keep a steady hand while doing the makeup on the monsters.

Not only were students given tips on how to perfect their craft, but also tips on how to start their portfolio and book jobs in entertainment.

Former Cerritos College student Alba Griffin, currently works as a makeup artist for Knott’s Scary Farm.

Griffin was lucky to be a part of the first group of students in 1994 to go backstage and study special effects makeup.

Griffin said that she “knew right away” that she wanted to work at Knott’s. It is something she is passionate about as she continues her 23rd season.

Ever since then, the theatre program has been attending and Griffin has been there every season to give Watanabe’s students special tips.

Griffin stated that the best advice for students interested in the special fx industry is for them to take pictures of all their work.

Tips like documenting work, help show the artist where they have improved or show room to better their craft, said Griffin.

Griffin emphasized the importance of practicing, whether if it’s on a friend, or oneself- there will always be something to perfect.

Lastly, she expressed how important it is to take as many classes to pick up on new techniques and to never give up.

Students were nervous, but excited to be able to add final touches to the monsters when given the chance.

Stephanie Morales, theatre makeup major, is in her second year at Cerritos and enjoys attending their annual event.

Morales said, “Professor Watanabe has taught us all so well and she deserves more recognition.”

Morales liked learning a bit of everything, she said “I learned a lot about different makeup products.”

In theatre makeup, mistakes are allowed as they help each student grow as an artist, said multiple students.

The students were given a mini tour inside a cargo container carrying different types of unused mold.

Angel Teutli, theatre makeup major, loved the atmosphere of the program.

He said, “It allows us to be free and not judge because we’re all freaks in our own way.”

Teutli and many others were given the opportunity to get hands on and up close with monsters to help create their scary look for the night.

Students at Cerritos College were not the only ones to enjoy this event.

High school student, Arlyn Gutierrez, was chosen from Somerset Continuation High School to attend this event.

Gutierrez is very passionate about theatre makeup and was very intrigued with how fast a makeup artist could complete a whole face in 20 minutes or less.

Gutierrez will be attending Cerritos College next year to further her education in theatre makeup.