Five Facts About Naomi Grossman, The Actress Who Plays Pepper On American Horror Story


Of all the patients/inmates on American Horror Story, Pepper the pinhead has definitely been the breakout fan favorite. From the very first episode of the season, in which she introduced us to the asylum with her creepy little “play with me!” dance, to her participation in this week’s epic dance number, to her character’s more recent, um, developments (no spoilers!), she has peed and danced her merry way into all our hearts. But who is the actress responsible for bringing Pepper to life? Is she really a microcephalic, or is it makeup? Has she been in anything else of note? Here are five facts about Naomi Grossman, the actress tasked with playing Briarcliff’s most lovable “freak.”

Photos: IMDB


She does not actually have microcephaly, the medical condition afflicting her character. This is what she looks like normally.


She's (probably) never been in anything you've heard of before, with the notable exception of a 1998 episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, in which she played a cheerleader. But that doesn't mean she's not super great! She's primarily a comedian; check out some of her other work at


She really did shave her head for the role; here she is wearing a look I can only describe as "sexy Pepper."


It takes two guys two and a half to three hours to completely apply all of her Pepper makeup.


She's pretty excited about all the positive fan attention Pepper has been getting.

"I was surprised along with everyone," she told The Huffington Post. "You can't plan on what the audience is going to react to or what's going to resonate with them. There's just no way of knowing. I think it's incredible people are so fired up over Pepper when over eight episodes, she only said six words! [Laughs.] To get all this fan art and attention after six words, it's really something."

Could this be her breakout role? Perhaps! PEPPER FOR PRESIDENT.
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    • ryan

      wow I thought she was really micro-cephalic….

    • denise

      Great makeup on pepper she cought my eye the very first time

    • disqus_tQyN6jX4WQ

      always curious who performed pepper, finally found her…

    • Mommy of Microcephalic Baby

      This is offensive to any mother with a microcephalic child, like me. Especially to label them as “freaks” as this article does. No one, not even for useless entertainment value, should label anyone with microcephaly a freak. I take the utmost offense to the creators of AHS for even coming up with a microcephalic character, no matter how loveable. Especially labeling her a “freak” and creating a character to encourage stereotypes and insults towards these people. I hope the author of this article retracts the last statement of this article and realizes that a person born with this condition is never a “freak” but rather amazing angels capable of being incredibly resilient, despite all the hardships they are faced with. More than any “normal” person could ever fathom dealing with for a minute of their boring and ridiculously easy lives.

      • FreakShowFanatic

        Nice. You tell them “normal” people. I’m glad that I am not one of those losers.

      • Robbie Bobby

        Is the show historically inaccurate? Or is it true that in the past microcephalic people were considered “freaks” and sometimes mistreated, misdiagnosed, and/or abandoned/put in homes? I’d tend to think the latter. I don’t think the show’s creators imagined any of that to offend you. I think it’s important to remind people how far we’ve come.

      • XYZ

        Boo fucking hoo

      • Chad

        You’re obviously not someone who watches AHS or you would know the accusations you made were false. First, Times have changed but the past has not and this show is depicting a time in our past. AHS 2 is set in the 60′s back during a time when most people wouldn’t think twice about calling someone a freak for looking or being different. The show depicts her as very sweet, but a sick killer until later episodes. In later episodes, Pepper explains how she was wrongfully accused of a crime just because of the way she looks and makes the comment “Us freaks” in a tone that says human society judges her that way. Neither AHS nor this author has in any way said or created anything offensive. If anything they depicted Pepper the exact way you described someone with microcephaly. The quotations used with the word freak means the author of this article is QUOTING the word. Therefore there is nothing to retract. It was an accurate quote.

      • Lunch Lady


        a person, animal, or plant with an unusual physical abnormality.synonyms:aberration, abnormality, irregularity, oddity;

        It may not sound pleasant, but it is correct.

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