SANTA FE, N.M. — Three hours. That is the time it takes for makeup artists to help physically transform Naomi Grossman into character.
Wearing prosthetic hands, nose and teeth takes some getting used to, but Grossman is up for the challenge.
The actress has been transforming into Pepper in the “American Horror Story: Asylum,” “American Horror Story: Coven” and currently “American Horror Story: Freak Show.”
“Pepper is a gift that keeps on giving,” Grossman says while filming “Freak Show” in New Orleans. “At the end of last season, it was all downhill from there. Then I got pulled back for the show and it’s just been amazing.”
Pepper is a microcephalic woman who has been committed to Briarcliff Manor in the series.
She was introduced on the second season of the series and continues to be a fan favorite.
“(Show creator) Ryan Murphy has done it again and he made this amazing role better,” she says. “It’s been a pretty dreamy part. Pepper is any actor’s dream. She’s so complex and she’s not black or white. She’s many shades of grey.”
Grossman says Pepper is a multifaceted character who is very complex.
“She can be so sweet, but is accused of a horrible crime,” she says. “I really have to dig deep to get her right.”
Since being cast on the show, Grossman’s profile has been rising – especially in the comic convention world.
Grossman admits that she didn’t know much about this world until she started to do conventions, and is grateful for the opportunities.
“It was not so long ago that no one would ask for my autograph,” she says. “Now they do and it’s very flattering. (Conventions) are a whole underground world that I didn’t even know existed until I was smack dab in the middle of it. Horror fans are on a whole other level and it’s exciting.”
Grossman will be one of the guests at the Santa Fe Comic Con. She will also be having a sort of “homecoming.”
Grossman grew up in Colorado, where her father was an architect. The family had a second home in Taos that Grossman would often visit and now considers it her home.
“My mom still lives out there and I’ll get to see her when I come to the convention,” she says. “None of my family lives in Colorado anymore and my mom is out in New Mexico, so that’s home to me now.”
While Grossman and the rest of the cast are filming in New Orleans, she’s taking advantage of seeing the city.
“I do yoga and just take in all of the ambience,” she says. “Being in this cast with all the amazing actors is something that I would have never dreamed of. It’s amazing, though we are pushing through to get done filming by December, so we have some long days ahead of us.”