San Francisco-based mum-of-three Jessica Rotich is a popular and well-known face among the Apes fraternity. Here she talks exclusively to Archives Of The Apes about her adventures in make-up and costuming, her sculpting talents, and our beloved Apes universe.
How did you first discover the Planet Of The Apes universe?
When I was 8 years old, my dad was watching the original movie on TV. My English was rudimentary at best, as we had just emigrated, and it was a movie without much dialogue in the beginning. I heard the roar, a buildup to the canes whipping through the cornfield during The Hunt. When the first gorilla appeared onscreen, I was as shocked as Bright Eyes. Life was never the same since.
What was your opinion of the Tim Burton “re-imagining” and the recent reboot entries Rise and Dawn?In one of my favorite quotes from Kim Hunter, "Ladies never tell." I am unable to answer that question, as my words will not be fit to print.
How did you first become involved in Apes makeup/costuming?
My childhood dream was to be on the Planet of the Apes. I was not sure if it was even possible. I met up with a local makeup artist and sculptor who assured me that it could be done. I learned everything I could to make my dream a reality and started putting together a costume in 2008. I am still learning, and each makeup application hopefully is better than the last. The internet is a wonderful thing.
What’s your favourite scene or moment from the classic films?
The Hunt scene. No matter what or where, the moment that scene plays onscreen, I must watch...mesmerized. Also I can never get enough of the Ursus speech.
You’re lucky enough to live in California. Have you ever visited any of the locations from the original movies or TV series?
The locations are a full day's journey in a wagon from Ape City. It is impossible for me to survive the long haul. Plus, I can't imagine the family being remotely interested in seeing the locations, so it is something I have not pursued.
You’re well-known among the Apes community for your sculpting/costuming skills. How did you first become involved in sculpting?
In 2007 or 2008, I chanced upon the Mego Museum. I had never owned a Mego as a child. It fascinated me to see how the figures were customized. I figured if they could do that, I could too. I surfed the internet and discovered that sculpting is a skill that gets better with each sculpt you make. My goal was to be able to make myself apes figures that nobody would ever produce. Also, if I were able to make my own prosthetics, then I would not have to spend so much money on my makeup/costume, which is very expensive if you do not have the skills.
Jessica's Apes nativity
(Photo copyright Harbin Hearts Photography)
What would you say is the Apes-related achievement you’re most proud of?
Spending a good half hour under Norman Reedus' armpit while he signed autographs during a meet and greet in Sacramento is the craziest and funniest moment while in full ape regalia. I am sure many fangirls died when they saw that. HOW did that happen? I think because my makeup sets me apart from the crowd.
I was finally able to meet some of my internet friends in Atlanta for Dragoncon in 2014. It was wonderful to be among other apes, because sadly I am usually the only ape in town. Hopefully with time that will change.
When she's not in Ape makeup, Jessica makes a very attractive Space Tracker.