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Grayson’s story

Hi Petar,

I have got an update!

It seems your advice on getting hair experience before joining CBMA was one of the best pieces of advice I will have ever been given! 

As you know I've been working as a Swing in the wig department at Matilda the Musical, and have now been there for over a year – I even have a fellow CBMA graduate as my boss!!. Now the exciting this is, to top that off, I've gone and landed a job at Charlie and the

Chocolate Factory too! Woohoo! I never thought I would be working in the west end, let alone achieved this at the age of 21, but couldn't have done it without spending those grueling hours at a salon, sweeping, cutting and washing hair.

Just another quick update as I often think of you and CBMA when exciting things happen! Since the last email I have built a very good reputation for myself as a swing and have now joined the teams of two more shows.  

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The Bear returns!

It all started with a simple cup of tea,

I was sat at home and decided it was time to leave my career as a prop maker and take the plunge to follow my true passion and train as a Hair and Makeup artist. I visited several other academies but CBMA stood out to me, I immediately felt a connection with the place.  So on my visit, I sat with Petar and discussed what the course would be like, the skills I would learn, the tutors I would meet and what kind of help I would receive after leaving … to be honest it all sounded to good to be true, but it wasn’t, in fact, it was better than I could have ever imagined.


In April 2016 I started the five month course at CBMA, I learnt basic makeup, basic hair (I actually cut someone’s hair for the first time in my life after a week, now they wont get there hair cut by anyone else), Prosthetics, Casualty (taught by the lovely Jane Walker, Makeup Designer for Game of Thrones), Wigs, Period hair and makeup, barbering, facial hair, theatre (we were taught by some of the leading West End theatre professionals from the National, ROH and ENO), face painting, fashion, character breakdowns, we learnt the lot !  Somedays I felt my brain would overload with information but there wasn’t a single day that I left CBMA without feeling I’d made the right choice.  

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New Year New Life…Ok We Get It!

Where to begin? BAFTA”s. Congratulations to our two tutors Jeremy and Daniel for their films to be Nominated.
Congratulations to Jake Gyllenhaal for BAFTA nomination for “Nocturnal Animals“. (He worked on Christine’s new film Life.)

Well done to Laura Wisinger for her film to be Nominated “Home”.
Congratulations to all the many CBMA grads who worked on “Game Of Thrones” And “The Crown” And “Florence Foster” And “Doctor Strange” And……this may take a long time……

We Get It ! If you get it, hurry up and join up for the Next Course …our most comprehensive No18 starting April 10th.
We have four places remaining. 
Just in case you are not sure still ….Really, we despair, here is a link to a great article in RED magazine with one of our graduates who had to make a difficult career choice. Click here

Call us on 020 7485 4000 or email to book the last few places for our next course.

Best wishes,
The CB*MA Team

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And Breathe

And Breathe...Standing on the platform of the Piccadilly Line this morning coming in extra early for the students to prep for their Boot Camp next week; I noticed a poignant advert.
I did not have time to fully read what it was telling me about what was missing from my life or indeed what I needed to buy ….but I did read “4-7-8 and breathe.”
I was intrigued and as soon as I got to my desk, looked it up.

Poignant, as the makeup students have been running, rushing and panicking, prepping, throwing curlers and notes all over the place !!!

The essence of Boot Camp is to test the students on understanding all the elements that they have been taught and to bring it to a cohesive single look.

Time is the real key and good referencing. 
It is a cliché but the students are not in competition with other students but themselves. They have reached a certain level; what we are looking for is at the end of Boot Camp, that they have raised that level. They have understood their time at the makeup academy.
We are all too hard on ourselves and no more so than our students at present. What they do not see, that we do clearly do, is that 14 weeks ago they had never touched a wig or even thought about making a prosthetic nose.

And yet here they are creating some stunning period looks; rushing off and making moulds and noses ….all during lunch time and still have time to learn Theatre…! It is truly inspiring….

And breathing? Are you ready?

Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth just behind the the front teeth.

Breathe in through your nose on the count of 4

Hold the breath for a count of 7

Release your breath from your mouth with a whooshing sound for the count of 8.


If you wish to read more about Boot Camp Click Here

Best wishes,
The CB*MA Team

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I Am Not My Skin I Am A Model With A Skin Condition

I Am Not My Skin I Am A Model With A Skin Condition.My white panda eyes were caught by an article on a new model Winnie Harlow. What was striking about her appearance, was, that she was of Jamaican ancestry with Vitiligo, oh and she is one metre seventy six and an absolute peach! (that is my personal opinion.)
Vitiligo is a skin condition where the body kills off the melanin and so the skin loses all colour.

I have had Vitiligo for many years and know full well what it is like, when people look at you unsure as to what to think. They are aware that it is some sort of illness but is it catching?  …..Oh my God he is putting his hand out for me to shake, …what to do !!?

It is wonderful to see a model that is not of the, “Classic” look …what ever that may be. She could quite easily have been made up with makeup, to camouflage the white and then after the show we see her “Naked” as it were.

Yet what is beauty? “ A combination of qualities such as shape, colour or form; that pleases the aesthetic senses.” well that does not help.
But, in todays money, beauty is what the magazines and social media say beauty is …..And today they say it is Winnie. Tomorrow? who knows….

She disputes, when people call her brave for standing tall. “ I am confidant not brave. Vitiligo is part of me.”
The issue she has is that the Vitiligo is defining her; people use her for her contrasting skin tones.

“I am not my skin, I am a model with a skin condition.”

At the makeup academy with have had jobs and have been asked to offer advice to people with Vitiligo. How to hide it; how to blend the white patches so they are not as visual. These people were not as confident as Winnie. Just as she struggled when she was younger or less well known, it is harder to be accepted on every day situations.

Being male and white, having Vitiligo has been a lot easier for me than for my sister. Our society deems that our women must be beautiful at all times and in the “classic” sense. Society can be cruel and is so, many times.

Beauty is happiness within. It is being confident no matter how you look.

Regardless of how long the media find Winnie beautiful, she has created an awareness of a skin condition. She and the other models, who do not fit the norm, show us that beauty is simply….. skin deep….

On a lighter note, have had some new photos sent from Suzana and her fantastic experience in Marrakech. Click Here 

Best wishes,
The CB*MA Team

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Nicholas Cage Alive And Well!

Dear Petar,
So, here I am in Marrakesh in a position of makeup trainee/assistant for a movie by Sir Larry Charles (Borat, Dictator) ARMY OF ONE, With Nicholas Cage. I am working with people who have 20-33 years, industry experience. They are very helpful. The first few days was hard as they found out that I only speak English and here everyone speaks 4 languages!!

Walter’s (key makeup artist) first question was, “do u speak Italian? Because I like to speak Italian” ? but now all is good.

I talk a lot about school and what we were all taught. They all know Jana Carboni… they were happy we had her to teach us Facial Hair at academy. I am helping to make a wig for the double of Nicholas Cage, adding extra hair. I met Sir Larry yesterday, whilst peeling an orange, sitting by pool watching and sunset above palace, where we live!!
Today the makeup artists were telling me who they work with… Basically all known actors.. Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Anthony Hopkins etc, Elizabeth worked on Harry Potter, her father is a famous hair stylist, and Zineb just came from ‘A.D. The Bible Continues’ work, Walter made 159 movies, this is his last.

With Larry Charles - Zuzana - CBMA London
Zuzana and Nicholas Cage - CBMA London
Zuzana with Russel Brand

These people are amazing at what they do. Tomorrow, Walter will prepare some prosthetic’s, so I will be watching. It should be really interesting. Sorry for the exhausting email, wish me luck because tomorrow is pre shoot day and there is only one makeup artist on set.. I actually have a title! It is Crowd Makeup Artist ? Have a good night and thanks for teaching us so much at your academy.
One Place has become available for our next Course No14. it begins January 3rd 2017.
Click Here

Best wishes,
The CB*MA Team

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From Spread Sheet to Wide Screen

blog10It was last March (remember the spring…( before Brexit, before Bake Off and before Brangelina…) when Rose emailed me a spread sheet.

Rose Cusson is Film Production Coordinator at Goldsmiths University in London on their re-launched MA Film Course and had asked if we could provide make up designers/artists for their student’s film productions throughout the year.

My initial task was to establish who was available for which film project, liaising with Rose and knowing little more than the film’s title (and often those were Working Titles and were later changed), and a brief synopsis of the film.

The opportunity to work with these MA students was soon snapped up by our graduates (and sometimes our current students desperate to get some on-set experience) and they jumped at the chance to put into practice their newly acquired skills.

It was a learning curve for me too, organising the rotas… I don’t know how Rose does that every day!

After all the hard work on all sides, last nights premieres showed that it was worth it.

We were invited up West to the Curzon Soho for a private Screening of all 12 of the short films, and they were A-Mazing.  CBMA were so proud to see in the credits the names of so many of our graduates that had worked on the films, and to mingle afterwards meeting staff, crew, girl friends, et al.

I was impressed by the range of subjects and genres covered in the films, from the reality of drug-smuggling babies (the graduates did a very convincing job on that doll) to 70’s Game Shows. An evening well spent.

We are very pleased to have a working relationship with another fine University and we are looking forward to this year’s spread sheet!

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Halloween Candy Skull Masterclass

You would know her face…well actually Faces, as she is the ‘Instagram-went-viral’ Snow Leopard, and Michael Jackson, and that brilliant Jack Nicholson…! She is Maria Malone-Guerbaa .

But she is also an alumni of The Christine Blundell Makeup Academy and, we are pleased to announce, back for one Day next week;

on Saturday 22nd October from 10.00 am to 5.00pm
at our studio at CBMA
10 Greenland Street, London NW1 0ND
for a demo of her favourite Candy Skull–

a chance to learn from the artist herself, just in time to be able to create your own amazing Halloween look.

Places can be reserved on and payment of £ 95.00 on the door.

Halloween Clown Candy Skull - London Course @CBMA
Halloween Candy Skull - Masterclass at CBMA London
Halloween Candy Skull Masterclass London - CBMA
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Next make-up course: January 3rd 2017

The question of the day was; “Do I continue working on a balmy sunny autumnal afternoon or go to the opera?”

“Do I day dream about being an irresistible philanderer or simply day dream ?”
Don Giovani won! 


Our Makeup Academy in London, was honoured and very privileged to be able to not just to attain tickets to the ENO’s latest production of “Don Giovani” but to also take our graduates back stage to see all the tense action taking place.

The wig mistress Vanessa Davies, made it all happen. We got to know Vanessa via Giuseppe, at the National Theatre, who is friends with Bridget at the Royal Opera house, who is… let me start at the beginning…

At the Makeup school, we love theatre, in all its guises. From a young age I found the pantomime magical, the circus too, in all its rawness. I believe it is the live show, irrespective of what the performance may be; the vibrancy.

When we began our makeup academy, theatre was taught, for a week or so. The makeup artists from Film and TV, possibly looked upon theatre as a bygone art?

Christine actually won her award depicting in film the theatrical world of Gilbert and Sullivan. Theatre was very close to both of us.

It was when we began to source the tutors from the theatre world that the pandora box opened. (We only use active hair and makeup artists working in the industry.)

The various genres in theatre is vast…. Opera, Ballet, musicals, straight…I could go on. We began talking to the main theatres in London to understand what kind of training was needed. There was an element of concern that makeup academy’s were not teaching the skills that graduates needed to fully understand.

Giuseppe, from the National Theatre has been a great inspiration in creating our new look two week Theatre module. In turn we have been blessed in gettingCaroline from the ROH and Bridget from Ballet at the ROH. Many other makeup artists have added to the mix and came up with what they feel is important.

Research, came up again and again, in understanding the looks, the periods and spacial aspects of theatre.

I believe, because we are one of the most reputable makeup schools in London and having Christine at the helm of the makeup Academy, allows us to get such an impressive team.

We are now very proud that offer a fantastic two weeks of pure unadulterated theatre skills to get the student to fully understand all the processes of Theatre.

Now to read our latest Theatrical testimonial:  Click Here

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Life In the Day as Wonder Woman.

wonderwomanWay back in October Clemmie, Monique, Gillian and I were lucky enough to be asked to join the Wonder Woman Make Up team! Clemmie, has been working with main team, Monique and I are the crowd room trainees, and Gillian is with 2nd Unit. Over the past 2 and half months we’ve learned loads and loved every minuet! The main unit make up team started 4 weeks of fittings and prep at the end of October. For Monique and I, this meant a lot of organising, researching and prep for shooting, as well as getting loads of hands on experience doing test make ups and cutting what felt like hundreds of military haircuts! We had some fellow trainees out from CBMA to lend a hand on the busier fittings days, helping with taking photos and getting stuck in with the research and moodboards. After all our hard work and prep we finally we started filming in November!

Our first day of shooting was in a top-secret location in central London. We shot some beautiful scenes with 25 lovely extras. The hair was the main focus for us, so all our crowd all had fabulous up do’s or dapper moustaches! Monique and I spent the day making sure the make up artists were well looked after, keeping on top of paper work, making sure we had plenty of continuity photos on set, and regular trips to craft to keep everyone happy!

Since then it’s been a bit of a whirlwind, we’ve spent a couple of weeks away at various locations shooting on anything from 3 to 300 + crowd! During our downtime while away you can find us relaxing in the hotel bar, or catching up on sleep in our rooms! It’s been incredible to see so many locations that aren’t usually available to the public and see how they’re transformed into beautiful sets. One of the best days was shooting out in Tilbury with hundreds of military extras. Seeing all our hours of clipper work looking perfect on camera was so satisfying!

Last Saturday was all about the facial! We fitted 50 moustaches (plus 1 skin illustrator Sharron special! See photo!) A lot of on set touch ups were required, so Monique and I made sure we were ready on set, armed with moustache glue and ipa, ready to help the make up artists with any moustache mishaps! We’re back at base for more fittings and prepping for our big upcoming crowd days this week, with a little help from Scarlett and Kirsty from main team

We’ve been getting into the Christmas spirit here at Leavsden, decorating the make up room and blasting out the Christmas music! Christmas has come early for Clemmie, as lovely Lesa brought her the worlds sparkliest phone case as a gift for all her had work so far! All of us are counting down the days till our well-earned Christmas holiday! 10 whole days to recharge, catch up on sleep and relax before we’re back on set! – Till then!

Laura, Monique and the make up team! xx

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