By Dugan Arnett
The Kansas City Star.
KANSAS CITY, Mo.
Like many 23-year-old women, Elsa Rhae Pageler of Overland Park, Kan., occasionally stations herself in front of a mirror and fiddles with her makeup.
Unlike those others, she often emerges from the process looking like some kind of monster, which, as it happens, is exactly what she’s going for.
Armed with little more than some face paint, a 120-color palette of eye shadow and a handful of makeup brushes, Pageler captures the attention of geeks and gamers across the country as she transforms her face into vivid renditions of television, movie and video game characters.
Her Facebook page boasts a large collection of her handiwork. There she is as a White Walker, straight from the Sunday-night HBO world of “Game of Thrones.” There she is as Baraka from “Mortal Kombat” and as Captain Planet, in honor of Earth Day. There she is, too, as a grimacing Grinch.
“I couldn’t do any of this stuff a year ago,” Pageler says on a recent afternoon at her one-bedroom Overland Park apartment, which also houses a new puppy, a 3-foot lizard and a nocturnal gecko. “It’s just been growing as I practice.”
Pageler, a freelance video editor and producer and makeup artist, makes it clear she didn’t set out to make a name for herself as a face painter, though it eventually worked out that way.
She needed an elective to graduate from the University of Kansas with a film and media studies major, and a theater makeup class seemed easy enough.
In the end, the class proved rather dull for her tastes, “just learning how to shade and highlight and stuff, and I already knew that from doing my own makeup” but it did spark an interest in face painting.
When Pageler started toying with the art in her free time, it was mostly for friends and family. She would watch tutorials on YouTube, essentially teaching herself the intricate work.