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Why This American Horror Story Actress Was Accidentally Kicked Off Set

Nobody's here to cast stones. One can be asked to exit the premises for any number of reasons. Making too much noise in a move theater? Out you go. Causing a ruckus in a classroom, or not using your "inside voice" in a library? Leave at once! That said, getting kicked out of a place for doing your job too convincingly isn't the sort of thing that happens every day — and isn't something you can usually count on a former employer backing you up on in a future reference letter.

This is what happened to Naomi Grossman, the Emmy-nominated actress whose work on "American Horror Story" brought fans one of their favorite characters: Pepper, who premiered in Season 2, "Asylum," before getting the prequel treatment in Season 4, "Freak Show." Grossman's transformation into Pepper has been well-documented, and rightly so. Apparently, her unique look on the anthology series, combined with the air of secrecy surrounding her character, led to a misunderstanding with studio security. It's all thanks to an award-winning effects team and the human tendency to forget to tell local constabulary that you've dressed someone up like a mid-20th century circus performer.

Security guards didn't realize it was Naomi Grossman under all the prosthetics

As Naomi Grossman herself explained in a guest piece she wrote for Entertainment Weekly, from the first day of her deeply secretive casting process, "American Horror Story" creatives and FX executives were asking her troubling, zero-context questions like "Are you claustrophobic?" and "Will you shave your head?" She eventually learned that she'd be playing a microcephalic woman with the help of lots of prosthetics. They included "a forehead complete with punched-in eyebrows, a nose, ears, and even a bumpy little spine-piece for [her] back," "fake teeth," and "a wacky lens for one of [her] eyes," according to Grossman. She also noted that "the entire process takes about two and a half to three hours, and that's with two men working the entire time!"

The result: a remarkable metamorphosis, which both captivated and bamboozled the studio guards — so much so that one day, they kicked her off the set, not realizing who she was. When HuffPost asked Grossman about her more uncomfortable experiences as Pepper, she recalled being mistaken for someone with an actual medical condition. "It happened a lot," she said in the 2013 interview. "Finally, I've been around set now enough that people know what I actually look like. But at one point, security escorted me off the set!"

Hopefully, Grossman managed to avoid the same fate by dressing like an ordinary, run-of-the-mill satanic cultist when she returned as Samantha Crowe for "American Horror Story: Apocalypse."