November 13th, 2023
In commemorating two years since the death of award-winning British makeup artist and hair stylist Marc Pilcher, we look at the bursary set up in his name to continue his legacy at London College of Fashion, part of the University of the Arts London (UAL).
Born in 1967 in Chatham, Kent, Marc worked on a vast range of projects in his 18-year career before his tragic death in October 2021. Whilst perhaps being best known for his work as makeup designer on Bridgerton, for which he won a Creative Arts Emmy for his work on the first season, he was involved in numerous other high-profile projects throughout his years in the profession. From Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015) and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) to Beauty and the Beast (2017), Marc was a highly respected name in the industry, with his talent recognised by an Academy Award nomination along with Jenny Shircore and Jess Brook for Mary Queen of Scots (2018). The last film he worked on before his death was The King’s Man (2021). Tragically, Marc tested positive for COVID-19 in the autumn of 2019 and passed away just three weeks after his Emmy win for Bridgerton.
Marc’s Legacy Bursary
Refusing to allow Marc to ‘just become another covid statistic’, a bursary has been set up in his name at his alma mater, London College of Fashion, specifically to help disadvantaged students pursue the same course he studied 30 years earlier – BA (Hons) Hair, Make-up and Prosthetics for Performance. Marc’s friends who set up the JustGiving page associated with the bursary wrote ‘we believe Marc would want his legacy to include helping newcomers in to the industry to access the training that grounded him, and particularly help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue degrees in creative fields’. As such, the page was set up with the hope of funding several one-year bursaries valued at £5,000 and within just 72 hours, it quickly surpassed the threshold to allow the creation of three of these. As of October 2023, two years since Marc’s passing, the bursary fund stands at almost £47,000, not including private donations, putting the total at closer to £55,000.
Thanks to the generosity of donors, the inaugural Marc Elliot Pilcher Memorial Bursary was awarded in May of 2023 to fund a three-year BA (Hons) in Hair, Make-up and Prosthetics for Performance at the London College of Fashion. Additionally, it was able to allocate five £1,300 makeup kit awards to aid in the cost of materials associated with the course. Recipient of the full bursary, Anjelica Wilson, wrote she was ‘overwhelmed and honoured’ to receive the award and that she plans to use it to support her career development and kit collection while hoping ‘to be successful and achieve as much as possible, just like Marc Pilcher’. The JustGiving page also includes words from the four, soon to be five, recipients of the kit awards, all of whom have expressed gratitude for the indispensable financial help the bursary fund has given them. One recipient, Ophelia Sutherland, explained how the award would allow her to pay off the loan she had taken out to pay for the makeup and hair kit in order to be allowed to start first year, highlighting the necessity of available funding for those from disadvantaged and underprivileged backgrounds, as well as the financial requirements which prevent many aspiring makeup artists and hair stylists from accessing the education and qualifications required to pursue a career.
To donate to the bursary fund and support more students, or to read more about how the funds are being used, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/marcpilcher. If you’d like to hear some words from Marc himself, his episode of London College of Fashion’s podcast episode of ‘Careers in Fashion’ is available to stream here.