Makeup artist adds realism to the wounds |

Makeup artist adds realism to the wounds

William Ferchland
Jim Grant/Tahoe Daily Tribune South Lake Tahoe makeup artist Steve Romero puts the finishing touches on volunteer victim Vicki Clarke before the start of a rescue exercise on the Tahoe Queen.

Vickie Clarke appeared at the Tahoe Queen around 6:15 a.m. to get glass in her forehead, a compound fracture on her left shoulder and more glass in her leg.

Clarke, a regular at the haunted Halloween house in Meyers, was one of roughly 30 volunteers who received makeup from Steve Romero to bring more realism to a rescue drill on the Tahoe Queen.

“She’s a pretty bad victim and we’re just elaborating her injuries,” Romero said as he applied black makeup to Clarke’s teeth. “If she was burned her teeth would be charred.”

A couple feet away stood Ken Marler, an 18-year-old high school senior from Reno, whose face was dusted white. His collared shirt had blood stains on his torso.

“My intestines are hanging out, I have blood poisoning and jugular vein distention in my neck,” Marler said. “I feel like I’m going to die.”

Romero, who works at Sessions Salon, does hair and makeup for photo shoots, commercials and films. His last work was a photo shoot at Kirkwood Mountain Resort for Kodak.

He did makeup for a movie on retrievers for Animal Planet in Placerville and costumed people for the haunted house in Meyers.

Romero’s makeup kit took up two tables on the Queen: plastic burn scars, broken glass, facial bones and even herpes were ready for application.

Dave Harron, a 24-year-old from South Lake Tahoe, received a plastic bolt to the side of his head. Harron cracked expected jokes like having a “splitting headache” and asking people for Advil.

A stranger object was in Matt Morrison’s head. Morrison, who also had a broken arm, had what looked like a popsicle stick protruding from his temple.

“I was sitting too close to a doctor,” he explained.

Romero enjoyed creating his small army of walking wounded.

“This is my one chance to escape from making people look beautiful all year,” he said.

– E-mail William Ferchland at

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