Most mothers of three choose to catch up on sleep in the quiet hours of the early morning, but not Tatiana Scheetz. Instead, you can often find her in front of the mirror at 3 a.m., putting the finishing touches on an intricate face of character makeup. As her Instagram handle @NoOrdinaryMakeupMom would suggest, Scheetz isn’t your typical mom.
Despite not having any formal makeup training, Scheetz transforms herself into multiple fictional characters each week. She first dived into the world of cosplay after her daughter was born, dressing up as Disney Princess characters. An avid fangirl (of Marvel, DC, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Tim Burton, and Disney to name a few), Scheetz eventually ventured into villains and superheroes to expand her repetoire.
She attended her first con — Wizard World Philadelphia — cosplaying as Maleficent in 2016, but didn’t really begin to post makeup transformations on social media until just more than a year ago. Since then, she has amassed more than 4,700 followers on her Instagram account.
Now, she posts character transformations nearly every day, sometimes as selfies and other times edited onto an image of the character. There’s seemingly no limit into who Scheetz can transform. Some of her recent looks include Jafar from Disney’s Aladdin, Vision from Avengers: Infinity War, The Night King from Game of Thrones, Captain Marvel, and both lead characters from A Star Is Born. Actress Karen Gillan even featured Scheetz’s Nebula transformation on her Instagram account in the week leading up to the premiere of Avengers: Endgame. The post got more than 226,000 likes.
When it comes to choosing a character to become, Scheetz says she has to be inspired, or the look won’t turn out well. “A lot of people suggest characters, but if I’m not feeling it, I just can’t do it,” she says. “I do have a list of characters I want to transform into, but I have to feel completely into it to be able to do the transformation.”
She also doesn’t plan very far ahead for her transformations unless she is collaborating with another artist. Typically, she looks to see if she has the resources she needs for a character, then does the transformation right away. “I’ve collected so many wigs, clothes, and materials, so I usually have what I need for transformations. And if I don’t I will go to the thrift store or craft store to get what I need.” For the more intricate outfits, such as Captain Marvel’s suit, she’ll paint the costume onto her chest.
On average, Scheetz says her character looks take about one to three hours to complete. The most complex looks — especially those requiring Crayola Model Magic clay, such as Vision or the Night King — can take four hours. Despite all of that time, Scheetz usually takes the makeup off right away because she has other things to do.
“I’m a busy momma, and have to get back to my role as a working mom and wife,” she says. “Or, for those really late nights of makeup, I have to get some sleep.”
Her intense contouring, Model Magic sculpting, and detailed face painting have impressive results, but Scheetz is using a mix of professional and drugstore cosmetics to become these characters, not special effects makeup. She swears by eyeshadow and concealer palettes from BH Cosmetics and Coastal Scents, gets colored contacts from spookyeyes.com, and usually orders wigs from eBay. One must-have, she says, is a pair of magnetic eyelashes for female characters.
“I use what I can find that’s affordable in craft stores or dollar stores to accomplish my looks,” she says. “I do plan on learning how to use actual special effects makeup, but I’m just having fun right now using unconventional stuff to create my looks. It makes me feel like MacGyver.”
Though her primary focus is still makeup, Scheetz started making her own cosplay costumes for cons, too. When she started out, she typically purchased her costumes. Now, she is “slowly but surely” learning more about how to make cosplays — especially props and armor — and searches thrift stores for pieces she can use.
This plays into what Sheetz considers to be a major misconception about cosplayers: You aren’t a real cosplayer if you don’t make your own cosplay.
“That’s so ridiculous,” she says. “Whether you buy your cosplay, reconstruct clothing into a cosplay, or make it, you are still a legit cosplayer. Cosplay is literally the words ‘costume’ and ‘play’ put together, so as long as you are having fun in costume, that’s all that matters.”
Although she is still relatively new to the cosplay world, Sheetz has already been a SYFY Wire featured artist, was an official guest at The Great Philadelphia Comic Con, and recently joined The Philadelphia Avengers, a cosplay group that raises money for charity by appearing at different events.
In addition to all of this, Sheetz always emphasizes the “mom” part of her identity. So, how do her three kids feel about her cosplaying? The reactions are mixed, but generally positive. She says her 18-year-old son, a performer himself, tells her she posts too often on Instagram, but “it doesn’t seem to bother him much.”
Her 10-year-old son has no interest in cosplaying himself, but enjoys seeing the end result of her transformations. Things really come full circle, however, with her young daughter. Nearly 5 years old, her daughter has started asking to transform into her favorite characters. She occasionally appears on Sheetz’s Instagram account, dressed as characters such as Vanellope Von Schweetz from Wreck it Ralph or young Maleficent.
Sheetz says her daughter is often a fan-favorite among her followers, and is happy to share cosplaying with her: “I love that she wants to be like her mom and transform into different characters,” Sheetz says.
Photos: Tatiana Scheetz
This article was originally published in the Pop Insider’s Summer 2019 Issue No. 4, click here to read more!