CB*MA Graduate Lisa Talks About Her Successful Career change

In this video Lisa is sharing her story that starts with her decision to embark on the dream career in Film & TV Makeup in her late 30s, while juggling her family life with studying at CB*MA. Straight after graduation Lisa did her graduate work experience on Christine’s project, Disney’s “Aladdin” and then went on to work in Birmingham REP theatre, followed by being a Crowd Trainee on the new HBO TV Series and another Sky TV Series straight after.  Lisa was also successful in gaining the ScreenSkills bursary for some additional Barbering skills training & also was chosen to be this year’s ScreenSkills Trainee Finder trainee. Listen to the whole interview to find out what’s Lisa’s advice to all of you wishing to change your career path as a mature student.

Trainee Makeup Artist & CB*MA Graduate Emmalee talks about her time at our Academy

Emmalee graduated in 2018 and she did her guaranteed graduate onset experience on Disney’s “Aladdin” straight after graduation. She was also successful in gaining a place at the ScreenSkills Trainee Finder initiative that same year and benefitted greatly from the scheme, attending workshops and working on a film set. More recently Emmalee worked as a Trainee Makeup Arstist on “The Crown” – listen to the whole interview to hear the ins and outs of Emmalee’s MUA career so far and benefit from the tips she wanted to share with all budding Trainee Makeup Artists.

Welcome to Christine Blundell’s Online Q&A – Part 1

Here is the first instalment of Christine’s online Q&A videos, in which she answers your questions, as promised. In this video Christine talks about her current work on the HBO TV Series & its Production challenges and many more topics that are part of the Makeup Artist and Makeup Designer’s job description.   Listen to the full interview to find out more.

More is to come, so do keep following us on Facebook & Instagram for more information about the current situation and to watch more forthcoming C𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗕𝗹𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗹𝗹 Q&A sessions and other MUA related online posts and videos. We are still receiving your questions, please email them to 𝗰𝗯𝗺𝗮@𝗰𝗯𝗺𝗮𝗰𝗮𝗱𝗲𝗺𝘆.𝗰𝗼𝗺 or post them to us via our 𝗙𝗮𝗰𝗲𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸 and/or 𝗜𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗺 pages.

Christine Blundell remembers working with Johnny Depp & Kate Winslet on “Finding Neverland”

Strange times indeed.

After repeatedly cleaning the flat, I was flummoxed as to what to do next. I had cleaned and tidied up my makeup kit. My makeup brushes were spotless.

I could not go down to the makeup school as we are in a Lockdown.

It was then as that serendipity played its part and a what’s app notification from Nuria Mbomio, makeup artist and dear friend, pinged on my phone.

She too, was spring cleaning …her attic!! read more…

A Taster of Christine’s forthcoming Q&A online sessions, stay tuned and keep following us on our Facebook, Instagram, Blog web page and YouTube channel, more Film & TV Hair & Makeup Artist content released soon

A quick Taster of Christine’s online Q&A session

Oscar & BAFTA winning Makeup Designer Answering All Your Questions

Here is a snippet of what’s coming soon to our Blog, Facebook and Instagram pages – Christine Blundell answering all your Film Makeup Artist related questions. A great opportunity to pick the brains of the Award-winning Film Hair & Makeup Designer!

We have received many great questions from you so far, please do keep them coming!

One question that was asked quite a few times came from hairdressers who wanted to find out how easy or difficult it would be for them to re-train and become Film & TV Hair & Makeup Artists and if they should join our Four-month hair and makeup course to do that? Watch the video to hear Christine’s answer to this question and if you have any additional questions please do send them to us and we will answer them in Christine’s next online Q&A session.

Keep following us on Facebook & Instagram for more information about the current situation and soon to be launched full 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗕𝗹𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗹𝗹 Q&A session and other MUA related online posts and videos. Email your questions to 𝗰𝗯𝗺𝗮@𝗰𝗯𝗺𝗮𝗰𝗮𝗱𝗲𝗺𝘆.𝗰𝗼𝗺 or post them to us via our 𝗙𝗮𝗰𝗲𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸 and/or 𝗜𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗺 page

Christine Blundell’s interview for Reel FEEdBack with host Kevin Dawson, talking about her career as a Makeup Designer in the UK Film Industry

You can access the full interview here

Chris and Mr. Turner 2019Christine recently gave an interview for Reel Feedback, with host Kevin Dawson, who talks to people from the music, TV and movie industries about her art and working behind the scenes and / or on screen. Kevin chats to Christine about her inspirations, her work and anything else that may come up in between.

The focus of the discussion was to get to understand not just how Christine began her Hair & Makeup career but what made her open a Makeup school for budding Makeup artists, too! Christine begins by talking about the night of the Oscar awards and how surreal it was walking past Clint Eastwood who congratulated her and someone else shouting her name to turn around and see that it was none other than “Brad Pit”!

Christine first got involved in hair & makeup when styling bands in the late ‘70s and working in salon in Kensington Market. She went on to open her own hairdressing salon, which she ran successfully for 4 years and then embarked on an intensive three-month makeup course. After completing the course, Christine worked on Phantom of the Opera doing prosthetics and went ton to work for LWT, gaining invaluable experience on sketch shows and T.V. films.

Christine talks also about balancing the Film career and the makeup school and training future Makeup & SFX Artists. Filming permitting, she usually teachers last week of Christine Blundell Makeup Academy’s 4 month course, so called Boot camp, where future Makeup artists and trainees have the opportunity to show off all their skills and knowledge learnt on the course. One of the amazing things at the Makeup academy is that where else will you get “Tom Hardy” or “Robert Downey Junior” popping into the school. This is because Christine preps her films here. Anyway enough of this go in and listen…..click here

Christine’s Latest Interview for London’s Metro newspaper tells all about the highs and lows in the life of an award- winning Film & TV Makeup Designer

The Oscar and Bafta winner, 58, on trying not to throw up on Brad Pitt and going to the pub with Hugh Grant dressed as a tramp

Travelling the world as a make-up artist on some of the biggest films ever made sounds like a dream job. Was it yours?

No, I always wanted to be a vet but I wasn’t academic and left school at 15. I became a hairdresser for punk bands as I was a punk myself. I set up Scallywags in London’s Kensington Market, then moved to Stevenage and opened a salon. I was quite a colourful character and I had a big clientele but after a couple of years I realised hairdressing wasn’t my endgame and that I needed to get back to London. I sold the salon and used the money to retrain in make-up. After a three-month course I was employed by LWT to work on Hale And Pace.

How did you make the switch to films?

I felt into it accidentally. I was asked to do Life Is Sweet and that’s where I got to know director Mike Leigh. Mike asked me to do the hair and make-up design for his next film, Naked, and we’ve worked together ever since. It was on Naked that I struck up a good friendship with [Harry Potter star] David Thewlis. He became godfather to my children.

You’ve worked with many of the greats in some far-flung places. What’s that like?

When I went to do Seven Years In Tibet in the mid-1990s I found out I was pregnant with my first child, Stanley, who’s now 21. I was in a campsite on a mountain with David Thewlis and Brad Pitt, and I had to let them know I was in the early stages of pregnancy. The next day we jumped on a helicopter and they were giving me sick bags as I was trying not to throw up. While I was in Kenya filming The Constant Gardener we had two Masai warriors, Samuel and Jackson, as our guardians. As we were doing the make-up in Nairobi I was sent the script for my next film — Doom. I was sitting in a tent in the desert listening to Samuel and Jackson’s jangling jewellery while reading a futuristic sci-fi script about ‘nano walls’ — it doesn’t get more surreal. Closer to home, I worked with Hugh Grant on Paddington 2 and we really bonded. We had this hysterical moment when we were doing night shoots in Primrose Hill and he was dressed as a tramp with a wig, false nose, broken veins and a beard, and we decided to go to a pub quiz. No one realised it was him.

Tibet treat: Brad Pitt PICTURE: REX

You won an Oscar and a Bafta for best make-up and hair for Mike Leigh’s 1999 film Topsy-Turvy. That must have been incredible.

My second child Alfie was six weeks old when I won the Oscar the following year. I went up to receive the award – my partner wasn’t there to see it because he went to the toilet at the wrong time – and as I came back I threw my Oscar at him, grabbed my milking machine and ran out of the auditorium. As I did so I heard this: ‘Oi, Blundell!’ It was Brad Pitt jumping over chairs to give me a hug. I had to wave my milking machine at him and say, ‘No!’ It was like a scene out of Carrie or The Exorcist — I was about to squirt breast milk everywhere.

Winning those awards must have been the high point of your career?

Yes, I’ve been shortlisted for an Oscar since with Legend and had various other Bafta nominations for Finding Neverland and Mr Turner but you can’t let it rule your life. It’s fun and a very generous nod from the world to say, ‘Well done, we recognise you’, but it doesn’t mean you have the Midas touch. After the Oscar my next film went straight to video!

There must have been low points too…

When I was filming Casino Royale I lost my brother to cancer. You’re working on the ultimate glamorous film while something awful you can’t control is happening in your personal life. What got me through was working with people who knew me on a professional level, not a personal level.

You’re now a make-up designer rather than make-up artist. What’s the difference?

I make sure the whole thing runs properly. Now I’m working on Joss Whedon’s The Nevers and it’s set in Victorian London. I have to work out if I want people to have facial hair, how long their hair should be and if people need wigs. It’s a huge undertaking and you’ve got to come in on budget.

Mistakes, you’ve made a few?

In Thailand filming Around The World In 80 Days I didn’t have enough facial hair for Jackie Chan’s army so I had to get a lovely helper to bring me some goat hair.

Is filming movies as glamorous as it seems?

I’ve just asked my trainee that and she laughed out loud. We’ve towed her car out of the mud three times this week — once at 9pm and once at 4am. It’s not glamorous. You need nerves of steel and strong self-belief. You’ve got to love it and be really committed.

Is that why you set up the Christine Blundell Make-Up Academy?

I was doing Casino Royale when I had the idea to open a make-up school. The quality of training after the BBC stopped their course was very low. I kept a notebook of what needed to be taught and 12 or 15 years ago we opened the academy. We’ve worked hard to make sure it’s not elitist and we’ve got bursaries available. It’s an industry that’s open to all and once you’re trained, it’s a career for life.

Top tip

Learn to tell when someone does or doesn’t want to talk. We’re working with famous people but at 5am they don’t always want to chat.

The facts

Salary: A trainee can expect about £120 a day rising to the junior’s rate of £240. Experienced make-up artists can earn about £350 a day.

Regular hours? No, and expect early starts and late finishes.

Short and sweet advice: Get the best training you can.

What Are Your First Jobs In The Morning?

We asked our wonderful Simone, who has begun her second major project since leaving the Makeup Academy;

What Are Your First Jobs In The Morning?

Well it depends on what we have going on for that day so I’ll give you a couple of different scenarios of how my days have been so far.

Today, I was the 1st to arrive. I put the hotsticks on (carmens were still in with the crowd boxes on the truck from the day before) for the artist and supervisor and went down to the ad’s to ask for a crowd sheet.

This gives me all the names of the crowd artists coming in for the mornings call. It wasn’t ready so I got the fittings sheet instead (this gives the list of future crowd artists coming In for different scenes, whom we will do hair on so we know what we are doing on the day they come in).

Made a cuppa!

Makeup artists came in. We had 4 today. All four for the call and them 2 will go to set and 2 will stay to the fittings. These sa’s are being fitted ready for Monday. We have fittings most days.

In between fittings we also prepped wigs and pieces for the next days call. This would help to make the mornings call a little quicker.  I have to keep notes of these so I know who has what piece to be given out in the morning call.

Then I had to pack up everything from the crowd room ready to take to the next days location.

We didn’t have much time to get to the location to drop the crowd stock off. They shut the doors promptly at 6. The sat nav kept saying we would arrive between 5.55 and 5.57! We made it with four minutes to spare and managed to get everything in but no time for me to set up the room!

Oh and today, one of the runners in costume I had met on Christine Blundell’s  film. ‘The Good Liar’. There were many graduates from the Makeup school on that film!

Next day

Arrived at 6am so I could set the crowd room up. Managed to get it done before the make up artists arrived. We had restaurant goers dining at a very posh restaurant scene so the hair and make up was amazing. I’m quite sure the makeup artists are having a challenge between each other to see who can use the most amount of hair pieces and make the tallest hair piece. It’s amazing to see all the techniques they use.

My role is to get all the sa’s through as quickly as possible. We have some artists doing just hair, some doing just make up and some doing both so it can be a bit of a juggling act. In between that I am doing make up and making sure I get continuity photos of all the sa’s. Some do try and escape me but the ad’s will get them for me if I miss someone.

Once the call was done I got teas. Oh breakfast was just some rolls brought up to us and before the sa’s swooped in to take them all I made sure I took some for all the artists who wanted some. The ad’s are great and really helpful.

I packed up all the stock ready to go again.

Craft made pancakes for crew so I went to get some for Jane (designer), Nicki (supervisor) and myself.

Cleaned make up brushes for whoever wanted them done. Packed my station and my supervisors station down. Went to unit base to get some paperwork for a new artist to sign. Had lunch (shepherds pie carrots and cabbage).

Had hoped we would be able to take our stuff to Thursdays location or back to Leavesden but we couldn’t as we would need to go through set!

There was nothing to do until we wrapped so we all chatted and I popped to set to watch a scene that I was curious about (of course it involved blood).

We wrapped at 7.30 so then we did our derig (great to see how the hair had been put together). And I was last out at 8.10.

Today….Was told to get here for 8am to pack our stuff onto the lorry to take back to Leavesden. Only to get here and find out that the lorry isn’t coming until 11am!!!

Simone is at present working on the story of “Alfred Pennyworth” https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8425532/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast

Listen to latest CB*MA Students’ & Graduates’ Podcasts

Our latest podcast is a great conversation with Scarlett Mcpherson, a graduate from six years ago! Who would have thought!!!

We are about to embark on a new podcast section at CBMA. We are asking our graduates and students to talk to us… that’s it simply tell us how they are or what they have been up to and share it with us!

Our first is Lisa. As she said herself it was so outside her comfort zone doing this that it makes it special and honest. Do have a listen; it is an insight into someones thoughts and life. Enjoy!

And click on the arrow below to find out how our recent graduate Emmalee decided to train as a Hair & Makeup artist, why she chose CB*MA Academy, what she thought about our 4 month Hair & Makeup course and jobs she did so far, after her graduation this August.


The Art Of Aging Without Prosthetics

Many of the students who come to our Academy often cite that their great passion is “casualty” makeup or “prosthetic” make up. This is all wonderful and when they see some of our prosthetics from Christine’s films it only enhances their view.

Yet it is when they begin our Four month makeup course, they soon discover all the creative things you can do with make up and imagination only. Be it Film make up or TV makeup or Theatre makeup, there is so much scope to achieve amazing things with just a grease paint palette and some other make up such as MAC makeup.
If we look at one of the hardest makeup looks to create, it has to be old age make up. Here at the makeup school we approach this in many of the modules. Old age make up varies between Film make up or TV makeup or Theatre makeup.
For instance, getting an actor to look 30 years his/her senior on the stage will require a completely different approach and look. The audience are, for most part, further away from the actor and secondly, they are there more for the telling of the story rather than having to be convinced of an actor looking a certain age. Remember, in Shakespearian times women were not allowed on stage and so a man dressed up to play the woman. The public knew this.

As you can see by the photograph, Helen, our student, has done a fantastic job in aging Sophie. If you look at the eye makeup it is there that the subtle colouration has made the all the difference and made the model look old.

It has taken me eleven years to fully understand what Christine means when she is “Less is More.” In all these years as director of the makeup school I did not get it, yet seeing this work I do! By understanding colour and depth and the structural shape of a face you can achieve a great aging look.

Well done for the fantastic make-up work!