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'Skin Wars': Rebecca Romijn talks hosting new show, motherhood and acting

GSN has put a new twist on reality competition shows with their newest show, “Skin Wars.” Premiering tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT, the show has rounded up 10 of the best body painters around and have them in a competition with amazing challenges and where their only canvas is the naked body.

Rebecca Romijn hosts Skin Wars on GSN
Rebecca Romijn hosts Skin Wars on GSN
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

To top it off, the show is hosted by Rebecca Romijn. Romijn herself is an expert in the art of body painting first hand thanks to her role as Mystique in the “X-Men” movies. For Mystique, Romijn had to endure 9 hours of painting and make-up each day before shooting began. For judges the show lined up style expert and icon, RuPaul along with body painting experts Craig Tracy and Robin Slonina. The winner of the competition will receive a $100,000 cash prize, a one-year supply of paint and will be the featured guest artist at IMATS, the premiere body painting trade show in New York City.

Classic TV Examiner caught up with Romijn during lunch at GSN’s TCA Press Tour presentation to get her thoughts on hosting the show, motherhood, acting and more. Check out the interview below:

Phyllis: What made you decide to do the show?

Rebecca Romijn: Well I'm a fan of competition shows. I was not looking to ever be involved in one but this subject matter is something that I know very well. It’s something that I happen to have some personal experience in. I felt like I had something to offer and it made sense - and having been a fan a competition shows, I wanted to know if I would be invested like I am when I'm an audience member and I did become invested.

Phyllis: What was your schedule for the show like and how did it affect your home life?

Rebecca Romijn: How is my schedule? Well we shot it in 3 and ½ weeks. It’s hard. It was hard when you're doing it but it’s so fun. It’s fast paced and it's exciting. So it was great it was really good fun. And for the schedule? It was great schedule because it was fun, but now I'm in Portland shooting another series. I've been up there since April. I was on the plane this morning so I had to leave [my girls] there. They’re up there with me but they’re in summer camp. I left this morning and this afternoon I’m flying back up there.

Phyllis: Are they in school?

Rebecca Romijn: They’re going into kindergarten.

Phyllis: Since you’ve done the show, do you view art any differently now?

Rebecca Romijn: Well body painting is an underground art movement that’s becoming mainstream. I was a part of it. I was a very first model painted for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, which I believe is why I was chosen as Mystique in the “X-Men” movies. I have a lot of experience and a lot of history in this world, other people might not necessarily. It’s been around for a long time. The level of art is phenomenal. These artists are just so talented. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Phyllis: I was talking to [contestant] Dutch [Bihary] a minute ago and he talked about the short amount of time they get to work on their projects. Do you feel for them during their strict deadlines?

Rebecca Romijn: Yeah, but as a subject, I was relating more to the models. I was more concerned about their blood sugar levels and if they were freezing cold or sweating. The hours were so long on the shoots. If you had a project like this on a competition show like “Project Runway” for example, they give me your final challenge that is shot over two days. They then do the reveal on the next day. On this show, because the painting takes so long, we had to do it all in one day. The models had to keep it together for a very long time. My makeup job on the “X-Men” set took 9 hours every day and that was with four people working on it. The very first time I was painted for Sports Illustrated, that took 12 hours -- and that was with 3 people working on it. These painters only had 4 hours per challenge, so that was a really tall order. That they did what they did in that amount of time is mind blowing. The final result was like nothing ever seen before.

Phyllis: Can you talk about some of the challenges?

Rebecca Romijn: The challenges were is really interesting. I don't know how much I'm allowed to reveal. Some of my favorite challenges, I love it when my eyes get tricked. We had some camouflage challenges. For example, they had to put the models in the aisle of a supermarket. I love things like that.

Phyllis: And what about [your husband] Jerry [O’Connell]. Is he a fan of the show?

Rebecca Romijn: He loves reality competition shows. He loves going to the set and meeting everybody and getting involved, seeing the inner workings. The people that produced this show are the best of the best.

Phyllis: Do you do any arts and crafts projects with your kids?

Rebecca: Yeah, my girls are very artistic. Jerry and I both come from families of artists so it’s sort of in our blood. We have this challenges that is a superhero challenge and we have
Lynda Carter as one of the guest judges for the superhero challenge. My girls were desperate to come and meet Wonder Woman. They wanted to be involved that day. [Laughs]

Phyllis: What’s the other show that you're working on?

Rebecca: I'm working on a series called “The Librarians.” which is a TNT show. It’s a series of three movies starring Noah Wyle, Jane Curtin and Bob Newhart. They franchised it into a series that we're shooting now. I co-star with Noah Wyle and John Larroquette.

Phyllis: You’re working with a great cast.

Rebecca Romijn: Yes, John Larroquette. I was so excited. I couldn’t believe that I was working with Dan Fielding! It's a really fun show. I actually play the bodyguard. I get to do action stuff. I like doing the action because it breaks up the day. We work long hours and I don’t have to work out and get up in the morning and go to the gym.

Phyllis: What is the new show about?

Rebecca Romijn: It’s kind of it is very action adventure. It's [about] people who travel the world seeking out magical artifacts to keep them out of the wrong hands. We have a few episodes left and then we’re finished with production. It starts airing on TNT in December.

Catch “Skin Wars” premiering Wednesday, August 6th at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on GSN.