I feel so lucky that over the past year, I have been cast on many opportunities to work at the prestigious Pinewood Studios, based in Slough, primarily as a hair model for period styles, such as Edwardian and Victorian, which I absolutely adore! I have also more recently been booked to model as part of a special effects (SFX) makeup course, which was a lot of fun, if not a little messy, and involved having prosthetic lumps, horns and “injuries” applied to my face.
My first experience of Pinewood, was when I was booked for an entire working week in January 2019, with the first half being an SFX model, and the second half being a hair model for Greek and Edwardian styles. I was a bit worried about the SFX work, as I imagined it as being a group of students sticking random bits of prosthetic materials to my face and neck, resulting in me looking fresh from the set of “The Hills Have Eyes” or “Wrong Turn”! Thankfully, I was not to be transformed into a cannibalistic mutant, but instead used as a “demonstration model”, by a professional artist who had worked on the SFX and prosthetics for Hollywood films, with one of them I believe being the two most recent Star Wars films! He was teaching the students how to apply “cuts” and “wounds” to the skin, for them to then practice on mannequins. I knew everything was done safely, but I was nervous at first, as the makeup and paste etc felt tingly and just a bit “odd” in general. It came out looking fantastic though, and the Pinewood staff took some professional photos for me as well, which was really nice of them. On the second day, I had “aging” makeup applied to me, which I will admit I was quite freaked out by, as it was to resemble nuclear/radiation burns, and really did look the part when finished!
I wasn’t best impressed to discover that I had to take my lunch break with the makeup on, but I decided to use the experience to have a bit of fun, and proceeded to stride into the hot food section at one of the canteens, claiming I ate of of their lasagnas earlier in the day, and within an hour, my face broke out like this! I thought it was hilarious, but literally no one at all looked the least bit alarmed or amused, and I then found out I was not the first person to attempt that prank on site! I was also going to throw into my performance that this is why we should all go vegan, but then realised that would not have worked, as in order to claim that meat made my face turn that way, I would have had to have eaten it in the first place! wHaT a sHaMbLeS.
My favourite part of the week was definitely the more “pretty stuff” aka the hair modelling. I thought there would be a selection of other human models as well, but was pleased in a way to discover I was the only female for two of the days, as it made the projects feel a little more exclusive, so to speak, and as though I had been specifically chosen. I am guessing it was a lot to do with how naturally wavy and thick my hair is, as people were non stop complementing me on it, which I am not ashamed to admit I love, seeing as that time two years ago, my hair was still very damaged and trying to repair itself from prolonged styling, dying and stress from previous years! it took around four hours to complete one style, but was totally worth it, as the final results were amazing, and made for some brilliant photos!
As I was living in Sussex at the time, I stayed at friends’ houses and hotels for the five nights I needed to be able to commute to Slough for 9am. The first two nights I stayed at a lovely hotel close to Paddington. The second two nights, I stayed with my friend who also lives close to Paddington. Unfortunately neither my friend’s room nor any rooms in the hotel were available;e on the final night I was there, so I booked what looked like a decent enough budget hotel in Bayswater, which unfortunately turned out to be the worst hotel experience I think I have ever had, and I have stayed in a lot of hotels over the years! I won’t go into full detail here, as I may well dedicate an entire blog post to it’s gory glory, but put it this way, after a night’s sleep in that place, I wouldn’t be surprised if people left with their faces looking like the radiation SFX makeup, but for real!
All in all, it was an amazing week, and I will post about more funny experiences I have had at Pinewood in Part 2!