Skin Wars season 2 premiere recap

The judges Skin Wars season 2 episode 1 Channel Guide Contributor
Avi angel wings Skin Wars season 2 episode 1
Avi’s guardian angel is here to welcome you to Skin Wars season 2

Since RuPaul is involved, I’ll be recapping the Skin Wars season 2 premiere.

I watched Skin Wars last season and it was ok. Like most of the reality shows I watch, I enjoy seeing people with a skill set I completely do NOT have compete. My one disappointment last season was seeing a lot of what looked like collages painted on people. It just wasn’t my thing. I preferred the body art where the models blended into the background. What I did enjoy about Skin Wars were the names of some of the contestants. Gear Boxxx. Mythica Von Griffyn. Dutch Bihary. I mean, come ON! And these people AREN’T drag queens and their names are fabulous.  So let’s see what season 2 brings.

cast Skin Wars season 2 episode 1

Rebecca Romijn totally steals Ru’s “Hello, Hello, Hello!” upon entering the workroom. This forces Ru to steal Alaska’s “Hiiii!” upon his entry. Craig Tracy and Robin Slonina opt out of Drag Race opening catchphrases. Competing this season, and my initial impressions of them, are:

  • Aryn Fox (Cincinnati)
    • Purple hair
  • Avi Ram (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
    • Israeli painter overalls
  • Cheryl Ann Lipstreu (Belews Creek, NC)
  • Dawn Marie (Madison, WI)
    • C’mon midwest!
  • Fernello Nelson (Queens, NY)
    • Catchphrase Kanye confidence
  • Kyle Vest (Orlando, FL)
    • Goofy Fabio. From the romance novel covers, not Project Runway. Wins for male best name.
  • Lana Chromium (San Diego)
    • Katya Zamolodchikova. Wins for female best name.
  • Marcio Karam (Pompano Beach, FL)
    • Ew
  • Rachel Deboer (Maui)
    • Havaii. And yes, that’s how it’s pronounced.
  • Rio Sirah (Atlanta)
    • Graffiti unicorn
  • Rudy Campos (Houston)
    • The mayor of makeup according to him, but according to me Dutch 2.0.
  • Sammie Bartko (Heber City, UT)
    • Preacher’s wife

There’s a lot of testosterone with some of these male contestants. Marcio is checking out all of the female contestants. He loves painting naked women. Ew. He may be a decent guy but he’s giving all kinds of a skeevy vibe. Fernello is another alpha male who’s very impressed with himself.

Fernello wins the first mini-challenge, which was a painting based on things like “favorite song” or “passion.” We’ll see if he continues on a winning streak or if the crash & burn comes for him.

Fernello winning design Skin Wars season 2 episode 1
Fernello’s mini-challenge winning paint

The main challenge is a head to toe paint of a chess piece. The top 6 contestants get to pick their chess pieces and then they pick another painter to also get that same piece. Those 2 competitors are slated to go head to head against each other. Fernello gets to select his piece first. Of COURSE he picks the King. He also selects Kyle as his competitor because he thinks Kyle’s the weakest link.

In this challenge we learn that Kyle is kind of a goofball. He expresses himself best visually, so when you ask him to come up with a narrative, it’s not quite clear. He’s got this weird convoluted story to go with his paintings. And Fernello as a queen in the center. It makes no sense at all and the model has to flip her hands around to ‘demonstrate the narrative’, but it looks good. Except for the pig nose on Queen Fernello, but that’s intentional.

Rio, Kyle, Sammie, Lana, Cheryl Ann and Avi are the winners of each pair.  That means Aryn, Dawn Marie, Fernello, Marcio, Rachel and Rudy are in the bottom. Marcio and Fernello are in shock that they’re not great.

The judges Skin Wars season 2 episode 1
We will tell the contestants when they are great

The top 3 are Kyle, Lana and Cheryl Ann. Cheryl Ann is continuing to demonstrate her alpha-womanness by declaring herself the strongest painter of the bunch. Ummm, no. Probably not. IJS. Next.

Marcio, Fernello and Rachel are the bottom 3. The winner of this first challenge is Lana.

Lana Skin Wars season 2 episode 1
Lana’s winning paint

Hmmm… the contestants are expecting the cute Russian not to be such a contender, but she’s surprising them with her skill. Sounds like another show I recently watched.

Fernello is sent to safety first. He thinks he needs to take charge. That probably won’t help, but give it a go Fernello! Eliminated in this first episode is Marcio. Rachel is safe.

Marcio doesn’t get a redemption arc for his skeevy first impression, which is unfortunate but he was the weakest link. Earth tones for a color challenge was a bad choice Marcio.

Marcio Skin Wars season 2 episode 1
Marcio’s look that got him eliminated from Skin Wars

And then he leaves us with “There’s a lot of naked women in Miami for me to paint.” Ew. Bye Marcio.

Marcio Lana water Skin Wars season 2 episode 1
Don’t drink the water Lana!

What did you think of this first episode of Skin Wars?


  1. Ruthie Ru!!!!

    I am sooo happy you’re reviewing the show so we can continue our word affair, hehehe! But in all skin painting seriousness, like you said, it’s enjoyable to see people with skill sets I do not have and painting is a skill I truly hold in high regards, cuz if it’s not a paint by numbers, my skills are limited! Plus Ru is ultra adorbz…I don’t think we’ll necessarily see Michelle, even though I love her and I know she probably truly appreciates stuff like this, but I’m not sure, I think when she’s off season she’s off cuz she still has 2 kiddos runnin around the house, and she travels all the time, but then again I think the comp is out in Cali and that’s her stomping grounds so it would be nothing if she rolled through, but I don’t know cuz technically Rebecca Ro is the lead so it should be HER side kick, but who knows. But also like you said, collages are cool, but I like to be like…where the heck IS that person ya know? I think it was this show if not the Face off on Syfy where they DID have to body paint 2 people and one had to be blended in the background and the other had to stand out in some way, should have connected to the background but some chose some really interesting ways to do things and I’d love to see that on THIS show since body painting is there specialty!

    And yeah…Marcio…ew.

    • Yeah, I’m interested to see where this season goes. Like you, I’m more interested in the realistic/actual make-up challenges rather than the collages. I know they need to stand out from Face/Off but Face/Off has kind of set the bar in terms of awesome makeup. I hope these contestants get to show a little skill in that direction.

  2. Hey Ruthie,

    Come through!! <—- What does that mean? I've been meaning to ask.

    I'm still on the fence about Skin Wars. As you mentioned there are similarities to Drag Race. They have mini challenges main challenges and the ultimate prize is $100,000. At this point I'm waiting for Michelle Visage to show up.

    I was fine with Marcio going home.

    I'll be back next week.

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