Makeup Effects Magician Tony Gardner transforms Katy Perry into five of the World’s Worst Party Entertainers for her latest music video, “Birthday,” with amazing results

Katy Perry Goes Undercover for her Birthday and Wreaks Havoc

n the new video for the song “Birthday,” Katy Perry achieves something amazing, successfully disguising herself as five unique characters and then crashing several birthday parties and one bar mitzvah.

Playing the “World’s Worst Birthday Entertainers,” a list of which includes a scantily clad elderly Las Vegasstripper, a male Jewish MC, an alcoholic clown, a mouse-eating animal trainer, and an artistically challenged face-painting princess–she successfully wreaks havoc on everyone’s lives, and gets away unrecognized.

Filmed over the course of three days, the video succeeds thanks to the makeup effects artistry of Tony Gardner, whose other milestones include turning John Travolta into a buxom housewife for the film “Hairspray,” and unleashing an elderly Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) on the unsuspecting public for all of the “Jackass” films to date, including the Oscar-nominated “Bad Grandpa.”

Gardner credits Katy Perry for the makeup’s success: “Working with someone like Katy, who’s as confident as she is creative, is extremely liberating,” said Gardner. “Collaborating with someone so willing to lose themselves into the makeups, and have no vanity, makes it possible for me to really push the character’s design and layer a lot of detail into each character’s appearance. Add her fearless performances to that, and all of those characters succeed in coming to life as real people in the real world.”

“It takes guts to walk out cold into the world as Goldie, a ninety year old showgirl with full body prosthetics, or as Yosef, the pudgy male MC character with chest hair and a mustache, and then perform in character in front of a room full of strangers and try to elicit a response. She makes it look easier than it is.”

Gardner and his team of artists at Alterian ( had less than two weeks to create the prosthetics required for the four makeup effects characters. “Having very little prep time seems to be the name of the game these days,” says Gardner. But the challenge presented by those limitations is exactly what he finds most energizing.

And Gardner is no stranger to customers with high demands. Gardner helped Daft Punk realize their robotic selves and then bring those chromed characters to life, functional LED read-outs and all. And Director Danny Boyle came to Gardner to realize sequences from the film “127 HOURS” that involved James Franco having to sever his arm on camera in real time with complete medical accuracy.

“What others might cite as ‘problems’ or ‘limitations,’ I look at as ‘challenges,'” says Gardner. “And those challenges quite often inspire you to approach things from a different and new perspective, which might lead to solutions you would have never even anticipated otherwise.”

“Time was definitely our major challenge with the ‘Birthday’ music video characters, though, on the days filming as well as during the pre-production design and manufacturing.” All in all, Katie spent over 15 hours of the video’s three day shoot in the makeup chair getting in and out of the makeups, five of those being the hours required for Goldie’s full body prosthetics. And a children’s birthday party has its own schedule to keep, guest performer or not.”

“The entire process was a great experience, and I’d love to see Goldie make a come-back some day …or go on tour with Katy,” said Gardner, adding, “she was definitely a charmer.”