Faces Behind the Fear: Renata Rodrigues of Fright Nights at the South Florida Fairgrounds

On October 11, ghastly ghouls and scary creatures of the night will come out to play as Fright Nights at the South Florida Fairgrounds celebrates their 17th year! One of the characters you’ll be drawn to this season, Massara, is the personification of why sometimes it’s better to stay in the shadows!

Recently, Palm Beach Happening had the opportunity to talk to the woman behind the make-up, Renata Rodrigues, and find out why she decided to turn to a life of murderous mayhem, at least for part of the year.


Fright Nights 2017

Are you ready?

Posted by Fright Nights at the South Florida Fairgrounds on Saturday, August 19, 2017


Do you like scary movies? Yes, I like watching scary movies, although I prefer the more creepy kind than the gore kind. The ones that linger on your mind way after you watch it. 


What inspired you to work at Fright Nights? My husband is Craig McInnis, creative director of Fright Nights. When we met and I got to know about his work at the haunts I was very interested in being a part of it. I always wanted to do some acting and thought this was a great opportunity. In 2015 I volunteer for a weekend and fell in love with it.


Who is your favorite Hollywood creature creator/make-up artist, and why? I can’t say I have a favorite.  I just watched the new IT movie and it was great! In my view the creation of the character and the acting is where it is at. But of course, great costume and make-up brings it to life.


Escape Rooms (and Zombies) seem to be the No. 1 thing in the haunted world this year. What is the allure of escape rooms? Escape rooms are so much fun! It’s thrilling as people feed on each other’s fear. Many times you will be with total strangers and yet you learn to work together and see what each person’s strengths are. 


Do you like haunted attractions? If so, which is your favorite? I am Brazilian. We didn’t have a Halloween tradition back home when I was a kid and was never part of my growing up. I have always been very scared of going to one, and still am! I have been to a few over the last 2 years, but Fright Nights is awesome and it keeps getting better every year. I like going to haunts, but I love being a part of one. 


How does your day job help you at Fright Nights? I am an artist and that helps me a lot putting together my character. I did the dress for Massara, hand sewn, and I am getting the hang of doing my own makeup. My husband helped me with that and I learn a lot from watching him work in and out of Fright Nights. 

Last year I did a sculpture made from doll parts for his haunt. 


There are many different scare techniques used at haunted attractions. How do you do it? I try to use all the techniques out there for my scares. Whatever the situation asks for. I am always paying attention to everyone around so I can jump scare the distracted ones and also go heavier on people that I can tell are really uncomfortable with my character.


What can fans expect from your part of Fright Nights?
Fans can expect to get mean thrills and scares from me. I will be roaming all around the place. Midway, lines for food, lines for haunts, inside the haunts. I will go everywhere for a good scare, I NEVER get out of character and I always make sure my costume and make up look the best. And of course I will stop briefly for photos and do my best for the public to have a cool pic to remember us at Fright Nights. 


What advice would you give someone interested in working in a haunted attraction? DO IT! It’s so much fun working with a group of creative and outgoing individuals. You have the opportunity to act out your own inner demon and see how it all works behind the scenes, gaining experience not only in acting out a character, but also costume making and FX makeup. Plus you will make a lot of friends. Just remember to eat well and keep yourself hydrated! It is tiring and hot! Especially if you have a mask on. But it’s so worth the experience. Many of us get addicted to it.


For those who’d like a peek behind the scenes, Fright Nights is offering a lights on tour on October 10.  For more information on Fright Nights, visit the event’s website, www.myfrightnights.com.


Remember that Halloween is a time for fun and frivolity. It is a time to come out of your shell, and to acknowledge the mischievous spirit that resides within all of us. Be sure to keep following Palm Beach Happening for news on other spooky events in the Palm Beaches. If you know of another local event that would appreciate the undead light shone upon it, please let us know!