Kate Benton’s Set Life: Tips for Success

April 18th, 2018

April 18th, 2018

I have been back from Budapest for a small break, so used this opportunity to visit some colleges and chat to some of the amazing new talent emerging into the make-up world.  Training of students has changed massively since I trained at the BBC, and I think as well as the students learning from me, I learnt from them, seeing their creative skills on display.

Le Maq Pro Death Palette

I showed them an out-of-palette zombie that I did a few years ago with Cheryl Mitchell for a phone commercial using simple products like Maq pro Death Palette (£34.50), PPI palette FX (mini £45, full size $80), Rochetti yak hair for laying on (£30 per bag available in a variety of colour).  I know students are on a tight budget, so I was pleased to be able to introduce them to the new and very reasonable set of five colour palettes from Ben Nye…… my favourite being the Undead Palette.  Amazingly these palettes are made by PPI for Ben Nye so it’s with the industry standard colours.

Yak hair more

While talking to the students in Wales, Leicester, Southampton, Bolton, Leeds and London, it became clear that one of the biggest concerns is obviously the move into paid work in such a fragile industry.  The PAM motto is Never Stop Learning so with that in mind, l asked some colleagues for their route into paid work.  The routes were many and varied, though there were three consistent points: Personality – amiable but determined; Hair skills – essential; and driving- being able to drive.  Here is their advice.



Dominique Wallaker-Torres

“I asked an intelligent question of a visiting lecturer who then recommended me to a make-up designer and I got my first job as a trainee on Mister Selfridge, where I met another make-up artist, which led to a theatre job.  I worked in the West End for four fantastic years, before moving into TV and film, and I’ve just finished a long period drama abroad.”

My advice – Do a hairdressing course first and then theatre.



Jamey-Leigh Webber

“I sent out multiple, but individual emails to designers (never phone).  I targeted make-up designers whose work I admired and struck lucky, and now work as a make-up supervisor on set.  I trained originally as a hairdresser and did a nine-month intensive course at Brushstroke.”

My advice – It’s not just about skills; positivity and flexibility are essential.

Tonia Vernava

“I found that Creative Skillset did it for me.  I had almost given up, having trained as a hairdresser and done nine months at Brushstrokes.  Through Skillset, I got a trainee role on a long job, and since then I have worked with that team or colleagues of theirs, and am now working as a junior make-up artist.”

My advice – Be pro active.



Marie Deehan

“After studying at the London College of Fashion, through an old friend I managed to get work experience on a comedy sketch show, which was very busy with wigs and prosthetics.  That taught me so much that you don’t get to learn at college about on set etiquette, and the whole filming process.  After college, the same team took me on as a trainee, and I haven’t looked back since.”

My advice – Always watch, learn and listen.  Knowledge is wealth.

Cheryl Mitchell

“I trained as a hairdresser and worked on cruise ships for four years.  Worked unpaid in theatre, loved it and they liked me which led to a permanent position in theatre – invaluable experience.  I did Glyndebourne, and Covent Garden, and met make-up artists working in TV which led to moving into that world.  Keep your head down, work hard, don’t moan, don’t be pulled into politics, learn how your colleagues like their tea, and don’t let their cups be empty!  You are only as good as your last job.”

My advice – Get a hair qualification and a driving license, and try theatre.

I will add more of these on a weekly basis…… from the MUAs out there working


IMATS London is coming up and I hope you’ll come and see me at the PAM stand, we have some brilliant demos this year.  From Adrian Rigby, ably assisted by Sam Shuck and using prosthetics, will be doing a tribute to a much-loved film.  Keep an eye out for the amazing teeth provided by Fangs FX.  Come and see the show on Saturday, when Maria Malone-Guerbaa will also be on the stand.  She’s such a fine artist and creates amazing looks painting her own face.  Check her out on Instagram, it’s breath taking.

Maria snow leopard

Alain Delon from le maq pro is coming over from Paris and will be joined by Shaunna Harrison to demo and explain how to use le maqpro well.  Robert Smith will be on hand to demonstrate his bloods; I have been using them here on set, it’s such a simple range but so good. There’s no beading when on prosthetics if you use his silicone flow bloods.  Louise Young will come with her popular brushes.

On Sunday, emerging talent will be evident when Theo Salisbury will be doing a casualty demo, Theo is currently still studying at LCF, but is already carving a career for himself in prosthetic make up.

Come and see us at the PAM stand – Kate, Rachel, Vicky and the crew have some tempting special offers to welcome you.  Our new free of charge fitting suite is now available for you to book.  Keep an eye for our Tuesday Tips via Instagram: pam_london and Facebook: @preciousaboutmakeup





MUAHS 2024

March 9th, 2024
Read More →

In Memory of Marc Pilcher

November 13th, 2023
Read More →

Posted In

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

By Emma Rutherford

Comments are closed.