27 March 2019
As we mark #FreelancersWeek, we're celebrating a recent BAME hair and make-up training course made available to our hair and make-up freelance members.
In response to the industry-wide skills gap in the provision of adequate hair and make-up support for BAME performers, BECTU has developed a pioneering training course to tackle the issue head-on.
Working with acclaimed make-up artist Kamanza Amihyia earlier this year, who has worked across TV, film, theatre and fashion, BECTU delivered training to 20 hair and make-up branch members.
The course covered three areas; Understanding afro hair; Barbering skin for afro hair and; Media Makeup for black and Asian skin with the aim of making the industry more inclusive by providing skills and techniques to professionals working in media hair and make-up.
Thanks to Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU) funding, BECTU worked with Equity models, with the course also gaining recognition from ScreenSkills.
Speaking on how the course went, Kamanza Amihyia said: "The training course has been fantastic, there was an amazing set-up in the BECTU training room. I also appreciate getting involved with Equity to pick the models, which has been fantastic.
"I hope that the whole course dealt with the issue that we’ve seen, and we want to be part of the solution and not the problem. It’s incredible that BECTU has gone beyond this issue to offer something that tackles the problems in the industry by providing training for the afro hair type as well as black, east Asian and south Asian media make-up techniques.
"Each artist is now so confident and reassured in what they need to do. They see that there is a problem but for them to come in and do it, they’ve also opened the door to more jobs, it’s targeted each of the needs of the make-up artists.
"It will also make a huge difference to actors who have been in the dressing room chair with a make-up artist who doesn’t have the skills.
"The models and make-up artists involve in the course have been spreading the news that the union is running the courses and they have confidence too, it is no longer segregated but inclusive – as performers, they have previously had to ask ‘why am I having to do my own hair and make-up and other actors are getting their hair and make-up done?.’
"We need more diversity among make-up artists too. It’s great that we are seeing more on stage but the other work I’m doing is training people to open more doors to hire more BAME make-up artists plus knowing there are make-up artists fully trained to do the job properly.
"The course has facilitated networks to create incredible opportunities for everyone which is fantastic. It’s nice when you’re in the industry – whether from a film, TV or theatre background, they all need different types of teaching and I enjoy meeting each individual’s needs.
"I’ve been really lucky to have worked across all the fields in terms of theatre to TV, touring, film and bridal, and also coming from a fashion and art background, interpreting everything in a practical way gives me an understanding of how to run the course so each of those sectors know what I’m talking about."
One of the course participants is Amanda Gaffey, a BECTU member who has three decades of experience in hair and make-up across TV and commercials and is passionate about continued development within her role. She was referred onto the course by BECTU training rep Alison Surtees. Speaking on what she had learned and the importance of the training she said:
"I was privileged to be offered a place on the course and I hope it is something that can be replicated regionally as there is a massive market in the north-west, where I live, for make-up artists who'd love to do this course.
"I trained 30 years ago and although it was intensive training, I believe in continually updating skills, I do workshops and training courses. Over the years we've thankfully seen more inclusivity in TV and in commercials.
"Things are moving in the right direction, and TV and commercials are doing more to reflect the world we live in. This is real life, and the industry needs to represent this.
"Kamaza has clarified a lot of things for me and I know a lot of techniques and principles that I can put in place, in terms of techniques for how to use colours. The training has been invaluable and it means I can do my job to a higher standard much faster which is great.
"What I constantly hear from some actors is the fact they feel frustrated as they know more about what make-up suits them than the make-up artist, with some instances of actors having to share their own foundation in the dressing room as the make-up artist is attempting something for the first time- and that has to change.
"It is ultimately refreshing for an actor to have confidence in make-up artist – it’s all about confidence in this industry, and if we know that we’ve done our job properly and have the right skills, the performers are going to have that confidence to go out and do their job and smash it, so it’s a win win for everyone."
The union is evaluating how it could offer this as a viable course and/or as an addition to the vocational training programme from 2020.
For more information on training offered by BECTU, visit https://www.bectu.org.uk/training-development