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Series / Skin Wars

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Skin Wars is a body painting Reality Show hosted by Rebecca Romijn that premiered on Game Show Network on August 6, 2014. Contestants compete to win a final prize of $100,000 as well as other prizes such as body paints and equipment. The judges usually consist of RuPaul, master body painters Craig Tracy and Robin Slonina, and various celebrity judges sometimes joining in as well.

Each week contestants compete first in a smaller challenge, usually only involving painting part of their model, to win and advantage in the second challenge (e.g. extra time, their choice of concepts). The second challenge involves at least one head to toe painting challenge, and the artist with the lowest marks is sent home that week and told "It's time to wash off your canvas." Occasionally the contestants will compete in pairs or teams rather than by themselves.


A spinoff called Skin Wars: Fresh Paint hosted by RuPaul aired as a special on August 26, 2015. It featured six highly accomplished artists, each at the top of their game, as they leave their comfort zones to compete in body painting for the first time. The artists must conquer three difficult challenges as they are mentored by three top artists from the first season, Dutch Bihary, Lawrence "Gear" Duran and Natalie Fletcher. As the artists work closely with their body painting mentors they try to quickly master the craft and win the $10,000 prize.


Skin Wars includes examples of:

  • Bait-and-Switch: The week where the contestants were shown silhouettes of muscular men to be used as their models...only for a group of muscular men with dwarfism to run onstage a moment later.
  • Bald Woman: Mythica from Season One.
  • Camp Gay: RuPaul of course.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Mythica was one of the new age hippie variety.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Often when something goes wrong with a compicated paint, though it's bleeped out.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Happens sometimes when contestants are masters of one school of art but amateurs at others. Being able to airbrush like a god won't help much on a challenge where block paint must be used.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Dutch expected this when he was up against his former student, Mythica. Hilariously enough, she won the challenge.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: A risky move. The judges tend to condemn it and ask for more color.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: The female contestants of Season Two were really happy when they got to use male body builders as models.
  • Drag Queen: RuPaul, natch. Also Seasons Two and Three had a challenge where all the models were queens.
  • Elimination Catchphrase: "It's time to wash off your canvas."
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: They often appear during horror challenges.
  • Eye Scream: In Season Two a contestant made a crown of thorns that bloodily covered his model's eyes.
  • Fanservice: The models, who tend to be shapely young women who are almost nude. They sometimes use muscular men, too.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Definitely averted. The artists who have put in the practice tend to go furthest.
  • I'm Not Here to Make Friends: There's usually at least one contestant like this. They tend to be disliked by their more friendly competitors.
  • It's All About Me: Dutch from Season One, Cheryl-Ann from Season Two and Hans from Season Three.
  • Monster Clown: A common choice for the horror challenges.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: In Season Two, one contestant referred to the other artists as "all my friends...and Frenello."
  • Oh, Crap!: Often happens when a contestant looks at the clock and realizes they have no time to finish their look.
  • Once a Season: Camouflage painting.
  • Once per Episode: One artist will go home and their model will shower off their art in the work room.
  • Picked Last: Someone must always be when there's teams. They're usually not too happy about it.
  • Proud to Be a Geek: Many of the artists will enthusiatically explain their geeky inspirations to the judges.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Ru and his pink suits.
  • Reunion Show: Happens Once a Season.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Hans from Season Three, stormed out and quit the show after he was placed in the bottom three of the tarot challenge.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Contestants who rank "safe" constantly will often complain about it.
  • Spin-Off: Skin Wars: Fresh Paint
  • Starving Artist: Many of them who don't work a back up job.
  • Teeth Clenched Team Work: When two artists who dislike each other are paired up for a challenge.
  • This Is a Competition: The judges scolded Gear for not doing his best when competing with Natalie after they had become close friends.
  • Uncanny Valley Make Up: Usually done on purpose. Usually.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: One challenge had the artists painting their own faces as their worst fears.


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