It’s Women in Horror Month and we’re trying to acknowledge as many talented ladies in the industry as possible. Recently, we were introduced to Haylee Detroit, a dedicated and talented FX artist who has created her own company called Coven FX, a team of women who specialize in makeup and special effects. PopHorror was lucky enough to talk to Haylee about her love for horror, how long she’s been an FX artist, her new company, and more!
PopHorror – Hi Haylee, thanks for taking the time to talk with us! When did your love for everything horror begin?
Haylee Detroit – I’ve always loved horror. But I really came to appreciate the work that goes into horror FX when I moved to LA in the summer of 2014 and started working in special effects. Seeing the talent and ingenuity that goes into making a mask or turning a twenty-year-old into a rotting corpse firsthand shed a whole new light on the subject for me. I used to get squeamish during the really gory scenes. Now I’m on the edge of my seat staring at every aspect of it, trying to figure out every technique so I can improve my own work, taking it in as the art form it is instead of just seeing it as entertainment.
PopHorror – That’s awesome that your love for the horror genre led you on that path. How long have you been doing special effects/art?
Haylee Detroit – I only started working in FX makeup my two years ago when I moved to LA from Detroit. Before that, I was working as a cosmetics artist. My first job in the industry was as a part-time airbrush artist at Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Fright Fest led by Scott Ramp, the owner of the Scream Team. That experience was a life changer. Being surrounded by all that talent and so many great artists like Mike Spatola and Rod Maxwell, watching all those actors get completely transformed… I was hooked. I had to learn more so I could move up to a prosthetics position the next season, which took a lot of work but it was worth it.
Over the following year, I took on several internships at various FX shops to gain more experience, working with Erick Rodriguez’s Imaginerick Studio and KC Mussman’s Nocturnal Designz Studio. I came back the next year to Fright Fest as a full-time Prosthetic Artist and I was in love. Scott Ramp is an amazing mentor and without his direction, I wouldn’t be where I am today. The next year I moved to Orange County, which gave me the opportunity to work at The 17th Door Haunted House in Tustin as the Makeup Department Head, and now I am planning the opening of my own FX shop!
PopHorror – That’s amazing. Seems like you have a lot of experience and know what you’re doing yet are still learning how to prove your skill any chance you get. What do you love about it?
Haylee Detroit – It’s amazing to be able to turn a human into any creature imaginable. To watch the actors and models transform, seeing their whole demeanor change as they become the character is so cool. When you see them change their voice, their mannerisms, and even the way they walk, and knowing that the makeup I created helps them find the character and bring it to life, getting to be a part of that is such an amazing experience.
PopHorror – I can only imagine. I wish I had that talent. Speaking of, you recently founded Coven FX, a collective of women who specialize in all aspects of makeup and special effects. How did that come about?
Haylee Detroit – Being surrounded by so many talented women in the FX Industry is what gave me the idea to open Coven FX. I have so many talented friends who struggle to get FX work and when I started talking to Cassandra Byers, I decided that I wanted to open my own shop. With her Beauty Makeup and YouTube/Social Media Marketing background, adding Cass to the equation was a no brainer. I knew we needed a strong sculptor and when I saw Melissa Coulter’s work, I had to get her to come onboard. With our varying backgrounds, along with the help of some other amazing women, we’re more than ready to take on any challenge that comes at us. Along the way, we’ve become a family, a coven, and we’re all very excited to open Coven FX this summer!
PopHorror – That’s fantastic, so much talent! I think it’s wonderful that your team is all women. Is there a reason for that?
Haylee Detroit – The FX industry is a male-dominated one, and I wanted to create a space where women like Cassandra, Melissa and I could show off our talents. The best make-up artists, from Dick Smith to Tom Savini to Eryn Krueger Mekash, all came from the school of do it yourself and I figured, “What the hell. I’ll do it myself, too.”
PopHorror – Well, when you have talent like yours, it definitely should be shown, so I’m glad you did! Will you be attending any cons or festivals this year?
Haylee Detroit –Yes! I’ll be at Spook Show representing Inside the Haunt Industry, walking around and chatting with some of my favorite artists. You can also find me at Monsterpalooza at the Nocturnal Designz booth! This Sunday the 19th, I’ll be demoing KC’s Hag Prosthetic as the Snow White Witch and I’ll be cosplaying as Snow White! Coven FX also plans to have a booth and will be demoing at both Midsummer Scream and Son of Monsterpalooza.
PopHorror – I love those cons, there’s always a huge turnout. I’m sure many fans will love the opportunity to see your work. What’s your ultimate goal as FX artist?
Haylee Detroit – To never stop learning! I’d like to think of myself as a jack of all trades, and there are so many aspects of makeup and special effects that there’s no end to what we can do as long as we keep innovating and learning from what’s come before.
PopHorror – That’s a great way to look at things. In honor of Women in Horror Month, if you could work with any women in the horror industry, who would it be?
Haylee Detroit – I still yearn for the day that I will be able to work with Eryn Krueger Mekash on the set of American Horror Story. I am a huge fan of the show and her work is just stellar. She is so inspiring to women in the industry and is definitely my idol… that would be my dream gig!
PopHorror – She’s truly amazing and let’s just say I think it’s a dream that could easily come true! Can you tell us about your recent project that came out on Valentine’s Day and how horror fans can support your work?
Haylee Detroit – We released beautiful images by Chad Michael Ward of our Coven FX GoFundMe EXCLUSIVE “Lucretia” Mask! (The heart was added for effect for this shoot and is not a part of the mask). The mask is available as one of the perks in our fundraising campaign! Please check it out and support women in horror and support Coven FX. You can donate at www.gofundme.com/covenfx.