Atlas Obscura

Meet Jonna Mendez, the former CIA Chief of Disguise (a real job!). During her tenure, Mendez oversaw the equipment used by spies to conceal their identities, including a five-second mask, which had been inspired by Hollywood. The technology, developed over a period of 10 years, allowed for facial movement—and, unlike its cinematic counterparts, which required hours in the makeup chair, it could be put on and removed at a moment’s notice. Listen to Mendez explain the ins and outs of this unique piece of spy technology.