Spotlight on the South West

June 14th, 2022

June 14th, 2022

In a new series, we will be turning the spotlight on different parts of the country.  We start with the South West, focusing particularly on Bristol and Bath, speaking to people across the region.

In this first feature we look at Bristol native Jo Peters, MUA and baby bump painter, in particular what she does and the colleges in the area that she works with.  We then chat to with Izabela Kowalewska, a professional model who chose Bristol as her base, who can often be found being painted by the world’s top bodypainters, as well as being photographed for fashion and editorial, to get her perspective on the area.

Jo Peters aka Joanna Delilah is long established on the Bristol makeup scene. Having started her makeup career 30 years ago on makeup counters in the city centre, she has a vast range of skills and experience which she now shares with students at City of Bristol College (COBC), the city’s largest further education provider.

Jo, along with her colleagues Kate Dowle and Ellie Ford, teach Media And Theatrical Makeup across levels 1, 2 and 3. The makeup tutors at COBC are passionate about the craft and are all working in the makeup industry alongside their teaching roles.  Kate is an all-rounder, an accomplished body painter who often demonstrates for Mehron UK at London IMATS (International Makeup Artists Trade Show).  She specialises in teaching level 3 special effects makeup covering prosthetics, casting, sculpting, character makeup and all things film and tv makeup. She also has a client base who love Kate’s signature glam looks. Ellie has an interest in all things makeup and beauty and likes to keep up to date with the latest techniques.  Nails, lash extensions and specialist facials are some recent strings to her bow.

Jo is on the team here at Warpaint and loves covering events on our social media stories and often hosts our makeup stage as well as being called on to judge our makeup competitions.  [See her top makeup choices here.] When she is not at COBC she can be found at another of the City’s well established training schools, Bristol Beauty School, who specialise in short courses for adults across a whole spectrum of beauty, holistic and makeup courses.

Floral baby bump design by Joanna Delilah

A well-established bridal and beauty makeup artist, Jo also spends her time body painting pregnant ladies, her bump painting has been featured on BBC’s The One Show and she has built an impressive portfolio of over 350 bumps in the 12 years since she first picked up a body paint brush. A self-proclaimed Bristolian treasure, Jo loves the city of Bristol and has found a niche which she has taken from strength to strength.


Next we speak to Izabela Kowalewska about being a fashion, editorial and bodypaint model based in Bristol.

Photo: Christopher Daw

Izabela was born in Poland where she started modelling aged 17, getting involved with fashion shows, photo shoots, promotions and public events.  About ten years ago she moved to the UK, and put her modelling career on hold while she found her feet.  Soon after moving to Bristol she felt it was the right time to get back in front of the camera, and has been modelling again for around six years, building up a diverse portfolio of images.  In 2017 she was the 2nd Runner Up in the finals of Top Model UK.


How long have you lived in Bristol?

I have lived in Bristol for over 8 years. Prior to that I lived in Bath for some time and I used to visit the city on many occasions.

Photo: Tony Browne

What are your favourite venues for shoots in Bristol area?

One of my favourite venues to shoot in Bristol is Ashton Court Mansion – I did a few photoshoots there and a couple of fashion shows. Kings Weston House is quite a nice venue too. My absolute favourite places to shoot though are just the streets of Bristol – there is just so much to choose from: the colourful graffiti, interesting architecture, areas along the canal, industrial areas… there are also quite a few nature reserves scattered around.


Artist: Bodypainting By Cat. Photo: Mark Pickthall

What filming and modelling opportunities do you have which are West Country based?

There seem to be more and more filming opportunities in the area. There are lots of productions taking place in Bristol, Bath and surrounding areas. Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studios is set for major expansion which should result in more work opportunities. We are also not too far from Wales and there has been a lot of filming happening there.

Modelling opportunities are more limited in West Country especially after the pandemic. For those jobs I usually go to London or other areas around the UK. There are only a few modelling agencies in Bristol and not many fashion events/shows are organised. I really hope that Bristol Fashion Show happens again soon.

Photo: Robin French. MUA: Bridget Esmonde. Designer: Kay Lavender

Any hidden gems you like in Bristol for shopping or dining out etc?

North Street is probably my favourite place for shopping and dining with lots of interesting places there. I also love going through all the charity shops in Gloucester Road – you can find so many amazing things. I like the Waterfront area with Under the Stars being my number one place to go for a nice meal. The most interesting place for a club night I’ve found so far is definitely The Old Crown Courts – it’s quite an experience.

Artist: Bodypainting By Cat. Photo: Christopher Daw

Do you have a creative network in Bristol for models and photographers etc?

Yes, there are lots of groups on Facebook to join. Bristol Models is the most popular one for networking. Once a month there are social events organised. This is where fellow creatives meet and arrange shoots. There are also group shoots organised with specific themes and these are great places to meet, work together and build up a portfolio.

Photo: Hiroshi Yamaoka. MUA: Ainhoa Gonzalez


More on the makeup and beauty industry in the South West coming up in a few weeks time.  Keep your eyes peeled.


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By Sarah Dann

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