Cosmopolitan Magazine Interview with Make Up Designer Christine Blundell.
Most of us would pay good money to be able to
run our fi ngers through Daniel Craig’s hair, but for
Chris Blundell, it was all in a day’s work…
It was my job to
make him look
LEFT: That’s what we call a wet
look – Daniel in the waves
and on set with Chris
It’s every woman’s fantasy to join Daniel Craig in the surf. But Chris Blundell (below) really did when she was hired as Casino Royale’s hairdressing supervisor. Feel like a career change? Chris’s tales of touching up Hollywood A-listers and being fl own around the world fi rst-class might persuade you!
Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie,
Daniel Craig, Johnny
Depp, Kate Winslet…
Need we say more?
4.30am starts and
16-hour days? This is
hard work, ladies.
FREQUENT FLYER: 9/10
The Bahamas, New York,
LA, Canada, Argentina…
HOW I GOT HERE
“I was 16 when I got my first job, sweeping the fl oor at a hair salon in Soho in London. It was only £16.50 a week but I really enjoyed it. I did everything from making tea to emptying the bins, but I also trained on the job and, after four years, I was a qualified stylist and desperate to open my own salon. “I moved back to Stevenage in Hertfordshire and talked my bank manager into lending me £8,000 to buy my first salon, Scallywags. “The salon did well, and after two years my fi nancial adviser suggested I either sell up or open another salon. I didn’t want to be just a hairdresser, so I decided to sell the salon and move to London.
“My dream was to pursue a career as a hair and makeup artist for fi lms. The money I made from selling the salon supported me while I did a 12-week makeup course. Once I’d graduated, I rang around all the television studios, stage shows and production companies, asking if anyone would take me on as a hair and makeup artist. I made hundreds of calls and fi nally got a job working on the West End stage show, The Phantom Of The Opera. It was great and, after that, word about me spread.
“I landed my fi rst TV job on the Isle of Man. It was hardly glamorous: I had to live and work above a pub doing what’s known in the industry as ‘sheep shearing’ – basically, giving crew cuts to all the extras! But I made useful contacts. “After that, I worked on a few small, independent movies before I managed to break into big films, like The Full Monty (checking the actors, front and back!) and Seven Years In Tibet, starring Brad Pitt, who’s lovely. “I’ve now worked on nearly 30 movies, won an Oscar and a Bafta for my hair and makeup, set up my own academy and met lots of stars.”
ALL IN A DAY’S WORK
“My typical day varies. The first thing I do when I start a new film is research and ‘prep’ for the job – I fi nd out what period the fi lm is set in, what happens to the actors and what the overall look for the fi lm is. I then work out how to spend the budget I’m given on props, wigs and makeup. Depending on the job, my budget can vary from £500 to £350,000.
“Once we start shooting, the days are usually long. I can be in at 4.30am for the makeup call, then on set with the actors from 7.30am until filming fi nishes at about 8pm. “Afterwards, I have to clean up the actors, taking off wigs, facial hair and prosthetics and removing stage makeup. I usually get home at about 10pm, flop into bed and am up bright and early, back at work for that 4am makeup call. This could go on six days a week, for up to three months! Believe me, it’s hard work but lots of fun, and the money is really good – especially once your reputation grows.”
“There are obviously perks to the job. I’m lucky enough to visit some fantastic locations all over the world, but I have loads of props and makeup to take with me – usually 30 boxes of makeup and wigs that need to be checked in for each flight. “But, occasionally, it’s sheer glamour – like the first time I met Daniel Craig and the Casino Royale producer, Barbara Broccoli. She asked me to meet them in New York, so I was fl own out, first class, and taken in a limousine to her luxurious Manhattan home. She wanted me to cut and style Daniel’s hair as I thought it should look in the movie. In the end, I cut his hair every second Monday through filming.
“I’ve also been to glitzy awards dos, such as the Baftas and the Oscars. They’re amazing – the rooms are filled with famous faces wherever you look. But celebrities are just like the rest of us. When I won my Oscar for Best Makeup on Topsy-Turvy, Brad Pitt came over to congratulate me, and as soon as Kate Winslet and I saw each other at the Baftas, we grabbed a glass of wine, sat down and started chatting about our kids!”
“I’ve done it all, from calming celebrity fears (Steve Coogan had to be told a thousand times that his sideburns were level) to working with drop-dead gorgeous actresses (Jessica Alba and Natalie Portman hardly needed any makeup). “Working with Angelina Jolie on the set of Hackers in 1995 was fun. She’s full of energy and so effervescent. She was really sweet but had a naughty glint in her eye, too. I suggested her character should have a tattoo, so we agreed that I’d put a false one around her nipple before her love scene with thenboyfriend, Jonny Lee Miller. “But a few days later, when it came to doing the naked body check (it’s my job to cover up any
blemishes), she’d taken it a step further by getting a real one done – a snake on her groin! I looked at her and said, ‘What is that?’ I had to cover it in cling fi lm and put makeup on top to hide it! It was her fi rst tattoo and she really got into them after that.”
MY TIP FOR THE TOP
“You spend half your life working, so enjoy it! Find something you love doing and be good at it.”