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Circus performer swings into TAFE to upskill

Thirty-three-year-old Romina Cartes had to swing her career from the Great Moscow Circus trapeze into the beauty industry when the turbulence of 2020 saw her pack away her costume for the foreseeable future.

The fifth-generation circus performer said job security and her background skills in stage makeup were the factors that enticed her to enrol in the Certificate III in Beauty Services (SHB30115) at TAFE Queensland's Southport campus.

“When COVID-19 restrictions cancelled our circus tour I didn’t know what to do with myself. But after reflecting I saw it as an opportunity to use the time to study beauty which is something I have always wanted to do,” said Romina.

“As a circus performer I had become very good at applying makeup and creating unique looks because we are generally required to do our own faces for each show.”

“I’m in my element when I get to design new stage looks and just love doing makeup on myself and others so I thought I would hone in on those skills and gain new techniques,” she said.

Despite the mother-of-two spending her whole life defying gravity, flying high on the trapeze across many big top tents, the thought of going back into the classroom was nerve wracking.

“When I went to my first class at the Southport campus I was completely out of my comfort zone, but I met some wonderful people along the way and I have learnt so much more than I was ever expecting,” Romina said.

“I have perfected my makeup skills, learnt new techniques and I’m excited to take my expertise back on tour to create some incredible stage looks.”

“I am also proud that I have a nationally-recognised qualification and hope to continue my studies onto the diploma and one day start my own business offering beauty services from home,” she said.

Originally from Chile, Romina learnt swing, flip and fly from the age of two by watching her parents and started performing in front of an audience at just five years old.

Before COVID-19 shut down the entertainment industry she was touring New Zealand with The Great Moscow Circus as part of her family's act — The Flying Rolandos.

“As tough as it was to stop touring and doing what I love, I am also grateful that the pandemic was a blessing in disguise and provided me the opportunity and time to study with TAFE Queensland.”