April 2017

Specialist Hair and Media Make-up newsletter: Issue 2

Read time: approx 8 mins

Talented student shares her tips

Stephanie Harrison is one of UCB’srising stars. Still in her first year, she has achieved success after success at national competitions, and even featured in a Channel 4 documentary. On completion of her degree, Stephanie hopes to undertake a Masters in Fine Art at Oxford University.

The 25-year-old from Tamworth in Staffordshire said: “Competing is an incredible experience. The prizes alone have landed me jobs such as being part of the make-up team for Mr World and Miss England 2016.

“I have had many proud moments, but nothing can beat the feeling of overwhelming joy when you hear you name read out in first place. So far, I have competed in six competitions and achieved four first places and two second places.

"My inspiration for looks can come from literally anywhere. My last two competition pieces were based on Lan Nguyen Grealis’s showcase booklet and the feeling you get when you’re in love; so it varies!

"Not only do competitions help with networking, but they also help me unleash my creativity and push my skills to the limit. I’ve already had some humbling jobs come my way, ranging from working with celebrities to being involved in film and television. Who knows what the future may hold.”   

A student’s perspective

by Laura Eaton

If two years’studying at UCB has taught student Laura Eaton anything, it’s that support is always available when you need it, and that you should never be afraid to ask for help. Here, in her own words, Laura shares her experience.

“Specialist Hair and Media Make-up is such a varied and interesting course,you will encounter modules you excel in (maybe not the ones you initially suspected) and modules you do not do so well in. It’s so easy to feel disheartened and discouraged when you compare yourself to your classmates and the work that they have done.

Maintaining a positive attitude towards all your modules, even the ones you may not necessarily love, will give you the confidence to succeed in your work and leave you feeling proud of the effort you have put in; meaning your grades and overall skill level will almost certainly improve. After all, no one became a successful make-up artist or hair stylist overnight. Reaching a level of success takes time, effort and perseverance; no one ever achieves success by giving up as soon as things do not go to plan.

It is also so important to recognise when you achieve something, such as a grade higher than you expected. Documenting your work and skills can be so important from day one of your studies, as it will help you to see how you progress and develop, even if you don’t think you are getting any better.

Comparing your work on day one to your work six months down the line will give you the confidence you need to keep trying.

The main thing I have learned throughout my almost two years of studying at UCB is that it is so important to ask for help when you need it. This could mean asking your tutor for guidance,taking advantage of workshop sessions designed to help you if you fall a little behind, or just simply telling someone what you are struggling with.

Never let pride stop you from admitting your struggles and seeking help from a tutor, another lecturer, the Academic Skills Centre or even another student whose work you admire.”

Imagine working on an award-winning film as part of your work placement.That’s exactly what SHMM student Kristi Conway got to experience thanks to the outstanding connections UCB has within the industry.

The University arranged for Kristi and fellow students Tegan Cecil and Amy Carter to work behind the scenes on Lady in the Park. The film was subsequently nominated for Best Short Film at Los Angeles Cinefest, and went on to win Best British Film at Southampton International Film Festival, and received a nomination for Best Hair and Make-up. We asked Kristi to share her amazing experience.

Tell us about your placement?

The make-up team had to arrive before anyone else.The production had a base near where we were filming in Sutton; an old house fitting the 1960s theme of the film. I arrived so early on my first day, half of the cast were barely up! Make-up had its own room, so we picked any decent surfaces we could find and organised our products. We had to keep our stations tidy, sanitary and follow the guidelines the director had given us. Sometimes we would be given unexpected actors and have very little time to create a look. If this happened and there were enough spare hands, someone would be on make-up and another on hair. Teamwork was essential to keep things on time. Aside from make-up, I noticed the crew needed help with other odd jobs such as finding supplies in supermarkets, stopping on coming traffic, and cooking for the cast and crew after a long day of filming. I didn’t have to do these things, but if you’re available to help the people you’re working with, they will appreciate and remember you. Recommendations are extremely valuable.

What did you learn from this experience?

Films are, for the most part, great fun to work on. When you are on standby, it’s fascinating to watch the actors do their thing. In the space of a few days, it became like a small family, but you do have to work hard; it isn’t all fun and games. You must do your job well or you could throw the whole shoot schedule off course.

How have you benefited from being involved in this placement?

The biggest benefit was being recommended by the director for other work. I ended up on another film this way, this time in London. It was my first time travelling to London alone. You learn a lot when you’re thrown in the deep end – without your familiar friends nearby you must be confident and build relationships quickly. I received much less direction on this film; I was only informed of the kind of products I would need the night before shooting. I, obviously, bought every make-up item I owned with me,but I completely missed any special effects equipment, which was required. By the time I got the email, I was already in London and could not go back.

What advice would you give other students intending on taking part in placement opportunities?

  • Work hard and go beyond what’s expected of you.
  • Always remember all the necessary equipment.
  • Don’t ever be late and be prepared to stay calm if things go wrong.
  • Finally, enjoy the experience while it lasts. 

Work placements are an excellent way of expanding your skills and exploring future careers. West Midlands Fire Service recently asked our Level 5 students to assist with special effects reconstructions for a training day. 

Kris Delaney, one of the students in attendance, knows only too well how important it is to make a good impression. Her professionalism while on various placements has opened doors to exciting opportunities and resulted in her being selected for additional work experience.

She takes photographs of all her work and the portfolio she created and displayed at the Hair and Beauty Show in London resulted in more offers of work placements with industry professionals.

Kris isn’t afraid to ask for help and has collaborated with friends who are photographers and make-up artists to enhance her portfolio, which she believes will be a powerful tool when she graduates and begins looking for employment.

Asked what advice she would give herself if she were a new Level 4 student, Kris said: “Try and do as many placements as you can. Don’t leave your coursework until the last minute, and don’t be afraid to approach people and ask them to model for you.

“I have asked people all over the University and almost everyone agrees to  do it. They feel complimented that someone would ask them to model for them.”

Take look at Specialist Hair & Media Make-up student Emilia's blog 

Emilia's Blog

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