Make-up highlights

Make-up highlights

Sarita Allison has been a make-up artist for twenty years, and has worked for a diverse range of designers and A-list actors including Bob Hoskins, Sir Ben Kingsley, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen. Other high profile credits include working with Nick Dudman’s team on the feature films Judge Dredd (1995), Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) and The Mummy (1999).

Speaking to The Knowledge, Sarita gives us an insight into some of her career highlights and challenges, including filming in sub-zero conditions on the side of a mountain…

How and why did you become a make-up artist?

I had worked as a fashion model which has a shelf life. Being from an artistic background and looking for a more creative challenge prompted the move.

Armed with a few good make-up books, such as The Technique of the Professional Make-Up Artist by Vincent J-R Kehoe which remains an industry classic to this day,   taught myself the basic skills of make-up artistry.

Inspired to learn more, I studied a special effects make-up course under Shaunna Harrison, who taught the course at Greasepaint make-up school.
What are the main challenges of your role?

Each job you do brings different challenges, whether filming on location in a desert or at the side of a mountain in sub-zero conditions. You must always ensure you satisfy the artist you are transforming as well as the director or client.

The hours can be exceptionally long with some very early make-up calls. You must be able to deal with a range of personalities and people, who are working under stress to deliver projects on time and on budget.

What’s the most challenging job you’ve ever worked on?

One of the most memorable jobs was Touching the Void (2003). This was based on a true story of two mountain climbers’ horrific experiences upon reaching the summit in the Andes.

Their story was recreated for the film in the Alps at 3800m above sea level – sometimes a ninety minute walk from basecamp where the daily make-up effects were applied early each morning.
What’s the most enjoyable job you’ve worked on?

There are so many! Most recently, the Gringott’s Bank ‘goblin sequence’ for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011).

The silicone prosthetic make-up took up to four hours to apply. Despite the early calls it was an immensely enjoyable experience, one that will remain with me for a long time.
How is your job changing?

Working in the digital era has made an impact in that make-up can now be far more obviously visible. Using alternative products and different skills does help, but working in HD can be very challenging.

Budget cuts have affected essential prep time as well as the amount of crew you can have in a team. There is also more pressure working within time constraints.
What key skills do you need to become a make-up artist?

You need to be artistic, have strong people skills and empathy and be able to interpret ideas with your hands as well as your eyes – all this while remaining calm and flexible while under pressure.
What advi

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