Make Yourself a Zombie

It seems like everybody's a wannabe zombie these days. In the past two months, we've seen the faux undead at various events all over the Valley, and this Friday, they'll be invading Heritage Square for the annual Phoenix Zombie Walk.

If you want to join the flesh-eating fray, you'll need to know how to make a zombie out of yourself. And makeup artist Ginger Champagne (a.k.a. Ginger Mortis) can help. As co-captain of the Arizona Derby Dames' Coffin Draggers team, she knows a lot about real blood and bruises. As a professional makeup artist, she knows a lot about fake carnage, too -- and zombie makeup is one of her specialties.

"Zombie makeup is fun to do because it doesn't have to be precise," Mortis says. "Dead people aren't symmetrical or pretty."

But there are a few things you can do to make sure your zombie look is particularly hot.

Find inspiration. "It helps to watch zombie movies and see what the zombies in them look like," Mortis suggests.

Choose your makeup wisely. You can use water-based airbrush makeup or eye shadow, but Mortis prefers oil-based makeup colors. "They're easier to blend," she says.

Start with a good base. "I always like to start with a pale blue or white, but any pastel color works," Mortis says.

Focus on contouring. The most important part of zombie makeup is good contours and shading -- without them, bruises and hollowed eyes don't work so well. "For contouring, follow your bone structure -- feel on your face where the bones are and draw lines with pastels," Mortis says. "Then go between the bone lines with black shading."

After applying the base and contouring, Mortis says you can add other effects. "Put blood where necessary and add some bruising, maybe a bone sticking out here or there."

Put makeup on any exposed skin. "If you just paint your face, it's going to look like you're wearing a mask," Mortis says. "Put makeup down your neck, arms, fingers -- anywhere that skin's showing, and do contours."

After getting zombified, catch Ginger Mortis and the rest of Arizona Derby Dames in a Halloween bout on Sunday, October 31, at Veteran's Memorial Coliseum on the Arizona State Fairgrounds. The bout starts at 5 p.m. Admission is free with admission to the Arizona State Fair. Visit for more information.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea