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Unmasking the Real Star of `Mr. Personality’

May 12, 2003  •  Post A Comment

It may make them look like understudies for a rainbow-hued spinoff of Blue Man Group, but those head-hugging headpieces on Fox’s Mr. Personality have more tongues wagging than scandal-forged host Monica Lewinsky. In fact, the masks were put together even faster than the show, which hit the air only three weeks after it was created in a brainstorming session. Co-executive producer Brian Gadinsky’s original idea for the masks was “a combination of Phantom [of the Opera] and Eyes Wide Shut.” The actual creation and delivery of the kiss-tested masks was the work of costume designer Tina Haatainen Jones, who ultimately whipped up some 70 masks.
That includes the pewter-colored coverings in which the suitors first were (partly) seen, the colored masks designed to make it easy to distinguish who is wooing “sweetheart” Hayley at any given moment, an assortment of backup, prop and specialty masks and then-don’t blink-the “chastity” mask that will be unveiled in Episode 5 May 19, when it’s time for the competition to go beddy-bye. “It isn’t to prevent sexual activity,” Mr. Gadinsky said. “It’s to prevent peeking.”
The chastity mask adds a web of leather straps (down the back of the hood and around the neck) that will be secured in back with a luggage-style lock that’s flat and anchored in back to make it easy to sleep (or whatever). Ms. Jones previously created face wear for members of Cirque du Soleil who appeared as extras on Star Trek: Voyager: “I had some experience in knowing what was uncomfortable.”
It is secured with a combination lock, “So we wouldn’t get stuck with any `where’s the key?’ situations,” Ms. Jones said. In the event of panic, the contestants “could tear their way out of the mask,” she added.