A mighty girl...and her biscuit.
I suppose sometimes I let the days go by without acknowledging just how much fun my job really is. Working as a makeup and hair artist on stills and commercials means that everything changes, everyday. New locations, new faces, new productions. I stop noticing after a while. But going through some of my rather ancient snaps, I found a few moments that were a good reminder of just how much fun is to be had in this crazy industry. When the tough days come along, and I have to be super professional and put my game face on, I will still have these memories dancing at the back of my mind, to remind me how much fun is still to be had.
Hugs from Einstein... no...he's actually the car wrangler...
The beauty of the film industry is how we gel and become a family in such a short time. But it is a different world full of tension and tenderness, where our constant mantra is: hurry up and wait !
But in all the madness I always feel very at home on set. I think from the moment I set foot on set more than two decades ago, I knew I belonged, and that is possibly the greatest gift this industry has ever given me. That, and getting to meet our late and great former President Nelson Mandela.
And the time the late Sir Richard Harris sang to me!?!
They say if you do what you love, then you'll never have to work a day in your life, well, I have worked hard, and lived much, and loved every moment of it.
The film industry in South Africa has never been bigger; and it continues to grow, and if you've been in it long enough you can hear us oldies snigger at the newbies who think they know it all. But one thing we all know is that you have to be made for this industry to survive it. It can eat you up and spit you out; and it's telling who has longevity in this business and who doesn't. So before you set your heart on being a part of it, ask yourself a few very important questions:

  1. Can I deal with the uncertainty of a paycheck?? As a freelancer in a seasonal industry I have to squirrel away money to survive the winter, or take on a movie, which exhausts and invigorates all at the same time, and always demands the biggest sacrifice of my family time. As a mother, I have stepped out of longform, but as a breadwinner, I may have to reconsider...
  2. Will I be able to cope with being in demand, and not being in demand?? I learned early on that I must never take it personally...and it can seem very personal, but work is always a bit of a hustle, and you have to be up for it.
  3. Can my relationships cope with my everchanging schedule, and my work-related moods?? It's feast or famine in this business, and we can often be left up or down. If you don't know how to cope with this, it could cause havoc in your life. 
  4. Am I prepared to do more than is required?? This can set you apart from all the other crew in your position. The key to everything is to know yourself, know what you want, and be prepared to outperform yourself to get it. 
  5. And most importantly: Is this really what you want to do?? I knew the moment I set foot on a set in the very early nineties that I wanted to be a makeup artist. There was no doubt, and I would do everything to get me into that position. I worked hard; I took every opportunity to work on set, and within a matter of months I was working on movies and tv series as a makeup assistant. But mostly, I loved every minute of it.
There's so much more to it, of course, but you will know what is right for you at any given time. But if you don't enjoy it, then take time out to try something else. This is not the kind of industry that coddles you; it can be merciless, but it can also make dreams come true. 

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