American Horror Story is in it’s fourth season and it’s bringing in millions of viewers pure episode. One of the best character’s on the show, that appeared in both the Asylum season and now Freak Show, is the microcephalic woman Pepper, portrayed by the talented Naomi Grossman.
Grossman has starred in several short films, many she has directed, written, and pproducedherself.
Like all the rest of us AHS fans, Grossman’s co-workers on set, thought she she really was a microcephalic.
Grossman told ET, “That first day on set, no one wanted to make eye-contact with me. They assumed they’d cast a real microcephalic. Then, they began to warm up, figuring, ‘Oh! It’s an actress! In makeup! We’re shooting a TV show!’ Immediately the hierarchy of star vs guest star vs co-star vs background was dispelled. Everyone wanted to know what I actually looked like, how long it took, did it itch, etc.”
Grossman also revealed Salon what the interview process was like, how people have responded to knowing Peppers true identity, and what’s it like playing Pepper.
On auditing for Pepper:
It was an audition like any other. Agent called. Sent some sides to prepare. Of course it wasn’t the real script, since that’s under lock and key, but rather scenes from the first season — just so they could see me act. I had no idea what the character was. Not until I was cast, and they were fitting me for prosthetics and asking me to shave my head, did I have any real sense. Because “developmental actors” (like me, at the time) are typically reduced to itty-bitty costar parts, like second nurse to the left. We say things like, “Scalpel, Doctor.” And that’s it. So it never occurred to me that this might be my big break. Hollywood so rarely entrusts the little guys with these types of opportunities. Again, it’s not our job to forecast the future, and decide this is how I’m going to become famous! You do the work, and it happens. Or maybe it doesn’t. But the end result is really out of our control.
On people realizing that she doesn’t have microcephaly:
I’ve never been told I was so pretty until I played the ugliest person on TV. But now I have a twin! So now maybe he’s ugliest?
On being bald:
I kid, of course. My agent and manager were concerned about my decision to go bald. They feared I would look like Pepper. I was actually slightly insulted by that! It takes two makeup artists working feverishly for three hours for me to look like Pepper!
I like being bald. It was really hot when we got here in July. Plus, no one knew me (yet). So I could take on this whole, new, bald persona. Which was sort of fun and empowering.
You know, every day I get dressed and think, “Who do I want to be today?” So, lately I’m enjoying being a badass baldy! People take themselves too seriously. Especially women about their hair. I’ve never had more male attention than since I came here and shaved my head. I don’t know if that’s Nola, or my hair, or just my general swagger, but the fact is: MEN DON’T CARE.
On her new found fame:
Yes, well, it’s so easy to get famous now. Have a big butt and an Instagram account. I happen to have both, but that’s not how I want to be known.
In order to transform into Pepper, Grossman had to shave off her hair and was fitted with prosthetic ears, teeth, hands and as mask that covers her nose and forehead.
Watch Grossman’s transformation into Pepper: