bearded ladies: American Horror Story

American Horror Story ‘Freak Show’: Ethel Darling

Ethel Darling (Kathy Bates) was a bearded lady who was a performer in Fräulein Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities in ‘Freak Show’, the fourth season of American Horror Story, set in early 1950s Florida. 

For fourteen years, Ethel was the second in command and friend to Elsa Mars. However, their relationship began to disintegrate when Elsa brought Bette and Dot Tattler, a pair of conjoined twins, to the freak show to be the new headliners. Eventually, Ethel suspects that Elsa might be trying to poison her and shoots her one-time friend, only hits her prosthetic leg; Elsa responds by throwing a knife hitting Ethel in the forehead.

In flashbacks the young Ethel was played by Kathy Deitch.

The makeup

Eryn Krueger Mekash was the department head makeup artist; Kim Ayers was the key makeup artist.

David LeRoy Anderson & Justin Raleigh were the prosthetic designers; Michael Mekash was the key special makeup effects artist; Christopher Allen Nelson, Kim Ayers, Luis García, & James MacKinnon were the special makeup effects artists.

The ‘Freak Show’ season of American Horror Story won three Emmy Awards for makep and hairstyling: Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Limited Series, Movie or a Special (Eryn Krueger Mekash, Michael Mekash, David LeRoy Anderson, Justin Raleigh, Christopher Allen Nelson, Kim Ayers, Luis García, & James MacKinnon); Outstanding Makeup for a Limited Series or a Movie (Non-Prosthetic) (Eryn Krueger Mekash, Kim Ayers, Lucy O’Reilly, Michael Mekash, Christopher Allen Nelson, Jillian Erickson); Outstanding Hairstyling for a Limited Series or a Movie (Monte Haught, Michelle Ceglia, Daina Daigle, Amy Wood, Sherri B Hamilton).