Titanicsailed into theaters December 19, 1997. “After it came out, I’d say, ‘I did the dead people for James Cameron,’ and, whoa, everyone wanted to talk to me,” Weiner says. The instant cachet helped boost her sales. Two years later, she came up with a spin-off idea. While she painted visitors’ faces at a Halloween convention, a reporter asked who made the best Halloween makeup. In a burst of inspiration, she replied, “I do. It’s called Bloody Mary.”
With her novelty makeup line launched, it only made sense for her to also produce fake blood, fangs and a slew of other vampire-related accessories aimed at the burgeoning goth teen market. She no longer worked on horror flicks but still enjoyed the challenge of creating realistic monsters. A bonus: She could sell the “blood” to the U.S. government for disaster drills and to film studios for special effects. “Gore is a year-round business,” she says.
Bobbie Weiner Enterprises’ sales hit the $1 million mark in 2007, and today annual sales exceed $3 million. Weiner lives outside Fort Worth, Texas, where she runs her business from a 3,000-square-foot warehouse decorated with Halloween convention freebies, like shrunken plastic skulls and little rubber duckies with devil’s horns. She dresses in T-shirts, jeans and a cowboy hat, and the only trace of her former luxurious Hollywood lifestyle is a fondness for designer shoes (“I’ve been poor and rich—and rich is better”). She’d rather work than play tennis, and travels 26 weeks a year, speaking at conventions or visiting the 252 contract workers who make and package her wares in a California facility. She likes to spend weekends experimenting with products and colors. “I was pouring fake blood all morning,” she said recently.
Among her proudest achievements, she says, are the awards she’s received from the Department of Defense for her camouflage paint. She still personally attends military and hunting trade shows, touting her wares at a 10-foot-long booth beneath two American flags. “But these days,” she says with a smile, “when the military comes calling, they don’t look for a guy named Bob. They ask for me.”
Michele Meyer contributes toTravel + Leisure and Real Simple.