BA (Hons) Fashion, Theatrical and Media Hair and Make-Up Student Testimony
What made you choose your course?
I had done the Level 3 media hair and makeup course on the same campus and wanted to delve deeper into the basics that we had passed over in that course. I just wanted to learn, I wasn't doing it to say I had a degree - just wanted to increase my skills.
What did you enjoy most about studying at the University Centre at Leeds City College?
As mentioned, I had previously studied with Leeds City College and therefore knew the tutors and classmates and was able to apply internally. I had enjoyed my time on Level 3.
What did you enjoy most about studying at Leeds City College?
I enjoyed the variety in teaching and different things that we were able to cover, for example we touched on things that may not have been done in all courses, e.g. hair knotting for wigs.
How did the specialist guest speakers/workshops provided on the programme add to your employability skills?
I think it's always good to have met various people from the industry and hear them speak as the reality of working in industry is so different to the comfort of college! You also never know who you may meet on further jobs so its very good to have previously met someone; it gives you that introduction.
What work experience did you complete whilst at college and what did you gain from these experiences?
I completed quite a variety of work experience whilst with the college. At the beginning it was mostly pantomime work and small films, however in my final year it veered more towards theatre. I was able to go down to London twice; I went behind the scenes with the wig team at Les Mis and then I also got to visit Sadler's Wells theatre, where they do mainly ballet shows, and meet with the designer there. We had a group meeting with Kim Freeland from Opera North, and then I returned for a one on one day to see how I liked it and show me a bit more in depth. This turned out to be very beneficial as she asked me back to work a few opera shows with her and I have since completed two seasons with her working with the ladies and gents chorus wigs - I'm returning this weekend to help the main team out with Kiss Me Kate!
What jobs/experience have you completed since graduating and where are you working now?
As previously mentioned, I have worked on two of the seasons with Opera North since graduating last year, and earlier this year I got accepted into the film Creative Skillset Trainee Scheme, as one of their seven hair and makeup trainees, which is very exciting as it aims to place its trainees onto small and large scale film sets. Very excitingly, only a few weeks ago I had an interview down in London at Pinewood Studios and found out that I will be completing two months this summer as a hair and makeup trainee on Maleficent 2 that they are shooting down there! So that is my next project coming up.
What do your jobs on makeup sets involve?
Maleficent 2 will be my first proper job in film, as my only paid work so far has been in theatre. From my weeks work experience that I spent at Warner Bros Studios on Fantastic Beasts 2 however, my role as a trainee entailed setting up work stations, doing tea and breakfast rounds, cleaning brushes, getting crowd through registration and ensuring a makeup artist, taking continuity photos, organising kit stock etc etc. This is pretty much what a trainee role entails on big budget films, however if i were to be working on a smaller scale film they would have me doing more hands on makeup as it is a smaller team.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in your industry?
Don't be disheartened at small things, it takes a long time! Say yes to experiences, however don't let people take the mickey out of you working for free - try to weigh up what you will gain from it versus what you will lose. If you can try and get in with someone in you area that has a lot of contacts and is looking for trainees- for example Kim at the theatre is excellent at giving newbies a chance to come in and impress - if I hadn't met her on work experience I don't know what I would have done since leaving college last year! Also, I think it only comes around once a year but definitely apply for Creative Skillset Trainee Scheme. I did it thinking I had nothing to lose but didn't expect anything and its got me a short placement on a Disney film! Also everybody knows everybody! So be careful what you do or say.
How do you apply the skills you learnt on the course in your job role?
The practical skills are really helpful, for example learning the basics of hair prep for wig application at the theatre, however everyone has different ways of working so it has been being able to adapt what you have learnt in a college environment to the way the industry professionals may change or do things. Sometimes it is exactly the same and some designers work very differently! I think this year however for my trainee jobs has been having the right personality - you can learn as much as you can and think you know everything but really the designers will ask you back on jobs if you have the right set etiquette, have a good personality and are organised. This is why its really beneficial to listen when makeup artists come in and talk about etiquette, I remember I used to always love asking people about their big dos and don'ts!
What advice would you give to someone who is unsure about what degree to choose/whether a degree is for them?
I would say don't do a degree because you feel like you have to or because all of your friends are. I did this degree because it enabled me to further my practical skills and gave me the opportunity to meet lots of industry people that I might never have met otherwise, therefore leading to jobs. However, there are lots of different ways into the industry, some people that are lucky enough to know a designer may train through them, however i didn't know anyone in the industry and so this was beneficial for me to start extending my skills and my circle of people.