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Skin Wars begins on GSN

Contestant Gear Duran with model Nickole Muse at the premiere.
Contestant Gear Duran with model Nickole Muse at the premiere.
by author

What else do you do when you are already a nationally-known makeup artist and owner of the dominant body painting and special event staffing company in a city where body painting is big business? Why, you produce a body painting television show.

Robin Slonina hosted a party for a few hundred fans at the new Inspire Theater in Las Vegas to introduce the premiere of her new show, “Skin Wars”. The party was full of fans who know body painting and its star personalities They laughed, cheered and thoroughly enjoyed the premiere.

Skin Wars is not the first show to feature body painting. Face-Off uses body paint as part of its special effects, and some other shows have featured body painting in contrived scenarios. But Skin Wars shows body painting, and the beauty it can create, as no other shows have. It also doesn't hurt that the near-naked models used on the show are themselves works of walking art, which should attract something of an audience.

But it is the first honest, contest-based reality show to follow the successful production model used by Project Runway and Face Off. There is a cast of contestants, including nationally-known names like Dutch Bihari, Felle and Gear Duran, and a slate of lesser known talents from around the country. Judges include Robin, whose accomplishments and reputation in the body painting community are stellar, and “rock star” painter Craig Tracy, with RuPaul added for fashion and showmanship commentary. The series also was able to bring in Rebecca Romijn as its host, which adds to the luster.

As is common in reality shows, the personalities of the contestants are very much a part of the story line. The first episode shows Dutch full of confidence, and how he deals with it when that confidence is shaken by the results of the first main contest. It also deals with the emotions and relationships between others – some rivaling Dutch in confidence, others struggling with self-doubt. That one of the lesser-known contestants was the winner of the first episode suggests some complexity in these relationships as the series progresses.

We probably can't complete a review of the show without noting an innovation. Each contestant has a model assigned to them for the duration; when he is eliminated, his model washes off all her paint in a “shower show” in a glass shower with partially frosted glass.

Skin Wars' first season consists of eight episodes, with $100,000 and other prizes awarded to the winner at the end. If the first episode is any indication, the winner is far from a foregone conclusion. The first episode aired on August 6, and will be seen on GSN (the former Game Show Network) at 9:00 PM (8:00 Central time) each Wednesday.