I truly feel very lucky to be a film make-up, hair and prosthetic artist.
I love my job more now than ever, even though it has changed and become more demanding as the film industry becomes digital and we now shoot on 4K.
I originally wanted to be an interior designer and secured a place at The London College of Furniture, but could not secure a grant…. which at the time I was so disappointed, but in hindsight I may not have been inspired while watching a program on the BBC called ‘I Claudius’ starring Derek Jacob, John Hurt and Sian Phillips.
It was a history of the Roman Empire and had ageing make up on all the main character.
I remember watching it and thinking Wow! someone does that as a job.
I waited for the credits to roll and saw that there was a makeup department at the BBC, I looked up the switchboard number and I rang them the next morning.
To my utter surprise when I asked for the make up department, they put me through.
They took my details and told me the next time they had a makeup school starting, they would call me.
They sent out a form to me with all the qualifications I needed.
I went to night school to take a hairdressing course and also to take ‘A’ level English.
True to their word I was called and successful at the interview, even way back then 200 applicants applied for 12 places on the course.
I then trained and worked for the BBC for 15 years… I believe it was the best training ground at that time.
What is your favourite type of makeup to do? Beauty, special effects, period?
I adore all makeup, hair, wigs and prosthetics, whatever it takes to create a character that is written on the page of a film script.
I love creating characters, I love looking through the camera to see the effect it has on my make up.
Whether it is period production, which may mean there is more hair work or an action movie with lots of blood work, I enjoy it all.
What for you has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
I have been fortunate to have had a few highlights of my career, so far.
Working on The Theory of Everything where my work on Eddie Redmayne was recognised, as was my work with Eddie on The Danish Girl.
Also, the most amazing experience on the film Everest, travelling to Nepal and filming just under base camp on Everest.
And lastly, what three products would you recommend every new artist to have in their kit when starting out?
The three products I would recommend are….
· The Grand Palette from Le Maquillage, it is a beeswax based makeup that looks beautiful on film and digital, can also be used on prosthetics.
this palette is a little expensive, but if you are on a budget, I have put together a smaller palette of 6 foundation colours that will allow you to make up skin tones from very pale to the Arabic skin tone which can have quite a bit of green tone.
· Skin Illustrator Camouflage palette by PPI.
This palette will let you cover tattoo’s, something we have to do more and more these days and also make up prosthetic pieces.
Again if you are on a budget they have the smaller ‘on set signature’ palettes in lots of different colours.
· Thirdly, a good set of makeup brushes.
Bdellium brushes are lovely, affordable and have a huge range of SFX brush sets to individual brushes which allow you to grow you collect slowly.
All of the above can be bought at the PRO store that I’m a Director of, www.themakeuparmoury.com, and they give student discount too!