Exclusive Interview with Tamsin Barbosa, Film Make-Up Artist

I am so lucky to get the opportunity to interview the most amazing and talented Make-Up Artists in the industry, and today I am excited to share Tamsin Barbosa‘s. She actually worked on some of my personal favourite films, such as Sleep Hollow, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children ( she was Eva Green’s hair stylist) and Alice in Wonderland. Tamsin also just finished working on Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, and she is currently working on the new Mary Poppins film with Emily Blunt. See more films she worked on here.

Overall, Tamsin has over 26 years’ of experience in the industry,  and  worked with such celebrities as Colin Firth, Dame Judi Dench, Penelope Cruz, Eva Green, Sir Michael Caine & Daniel Craig.

1.     Please tell us about yourself, and your story of becoming a make-up artist.

​ After graduating from Greasepaint School of Make-up in 1990, I began my career in the wig departments of London’s West End. I then spent several years in TV, working on a range of programmes including Eastenders and The Impression Show. I then moved into film and have spent the last 20 years working on on many high profile film productions including the new Mary Poppins Returns, Star Wars – Episode VIII, Alice through the Looking Glass and Pirates of the Caribbean.

2.     What were the biggest difficulties about getting in the industry? And what about your proudest moments? What is the beauty industry like in reality?

​I was very lucky to meet the make-up designer, Peter Swords King very early in my career in film, and have worked with him on many films since. Proudest moments – being asked to be a personal make-up artist by a well known A list actor. Don’t know very much about the ‘beauty industry’!​

3.     Can you tell us more about the Iver Make-up Academy, and what was the inspiration behind it?

The Iver Make-up Academy is the leading make-up and hair academy for industry-based courses in film, TV, theatre & fashion. Our aim is simple; to give our students access to the newest techniques and skills required to carve a professional career in their chosen field.

Iver Academy Insta – photo credit

The academy, based at Pinewood Studios, was set up by the tutors and staff from Greasepaint Makeup School.They have many years of experience working across the breadth of the industry. Their unparalleled knowledge, and their vast experience has enabled them to find success in this highly competitive field.

Incredibly passionate about their work, they have enlisted the help of their colleagues, the leading specialists in hair, make-up and prosthetic, to share their knowledge with students at the academy.

4.     What advice and tips would you give the aspiring make-up artists? With such a big competition, how can they stand out among the others?

To stand out form the other make-up artists: When you start out people don’t necessarily expect you to be an amazing make-up artist, but you can be friendly, get on with everyone, keep your eyes – and ears open all the time. Never be late. ​If you are always on the ball – it will be noticed by your designer.

5.    What are your must-have specific products in your personal and professional makeup bags?

My favourite beauty product is the Armani foundations (here and here). They work brilliantly on film. Also the MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Powders (here and here)can really bring skin to life when an actor has been on set for 16 hours! The blonde SUQQU eyebrow pen (here) is brilliant – a good taupe/ beige – a really good colour for blondes.

  6.  Being a huge fan of the Sleepy Hollow film, I simply have to ask how was it being a part of the team.  What was/is the process of creating a look for a character like? How  being a MUA for film is different from editorial/fashion/Creative Director for the brand etc.

Sleepy Hollow was an amazing film to work on. When creating a character it is collaboration between the Director, the Make-up designer and the actor, different looks are tried out until everyone is happy with the end result.

Can’t speak for editorial as have never really done it.

Film is very long hours, a 16 hour day, 6 days a week is quite normal. You have to read the script and work out your continuity for each actor as films are never filmed in order.  You have to maintain characters looks sometimes ​for months – making sure that continuity throughout the film is correct.

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