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New campaign to encourage diversity in film and TV hair and makeup

Paapa Essiedu attending the BAFTA Breakthrough Brits 2018 celebration event, London
Paapa Essiedu attending the BAFTA Breakthrough Brits 2018 celebration event, London

A new campaign is encouraging hairdressers and makeup artists with experience of working with people of colour to join the film and television industry.

The initiative is targeted at professionals currently working in areas including black hair salons, on photo-shoots, music videos, theatre and other live events.

Organised by skills body ScreenSkills, it is being backed by actors, directors and producers and “aims to support the changing face of film and TV”.

No Time To Die Royal World Premiere – London
The initiative has been backed by producers including Barbara Broccoli, of the James Bond franchise

Sixteen places will be available for the first round of the training and suitable candidates will be given paid placements on high-end television productions.

Both Netflix and ITV Studios are among the companies who have committed to offer placements in 2022.

ScreenSkills said that all applicants will need extensive experience in working with black hair or with make-up for people of colour, though it is not expected that candidates will have both.

Hairdressers and make-up artists experienced in working with black hair and make-up for people of colour are being invited to join the film and television industry.

Paapa Essiedu, the Emmy-nominated star of I May Destroy You, said: “My experience of working in the screen industries is that it doesn’t work unless everyone is able to work in a way that makes them feel comfortable and confident.

“A character starts with the actor but is finessed and completed with the help of so many people including hair and make-up.

“When I started acting, my white peers would just get their hair cut by hair and make-up for their part.

“The same wasn’t true of my hair.

“I would have to take time out of my day and use my budget to go to a barber – my time wasn’t seen as having the same value as my peers.

“This sounds like a great initiative. I hope that it attracts people into the industry who haven’t known how to get in before.

“It is really important that the process that is creating greater equality in front of the camera is replicated in crew like hair and make-up as well.”

Barbara Broccoli, producer of films including the James Bond franchise, said: “We have a great need of diversity behind the camera as well as on-screen.

“This programme is a really exciting and practical way of finding talented new hair and make-up artists to support our actors of colour.”

Those interested in applying can register for a free place on the introductory evening on the ScreenSkills website.

The session will discuss working in hair and make-up on film and television productions and offer an overview of the world of production.

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