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Lucy's journey from face painting to film

Lucy Johnson is making a name for herself after transforming an interest born from a face-painting job into a career.

Gold Coast based make-up artist Lucy Johnson is making a name for herself in the film and television industry, after transforming an interest born from a high school face-painting job into her career.

The 26-year-old has already lent her talent to several high profile projects since entering the industry just one year ago, including Netflix production A Perfect Pairing, season 2 of Young Rock, upcoming romantic comedy Ticket to Paradise, and Disney+ series Nautilus.

Lucy had been working as the men’s buying coordinator for an Australian clothing brand when she decided it was time to pursue a path she felt more passionate about — a passion she says she discovered at a young age, but was uncertain as to how to turn it into a successful career.

“I think I have to thank Jacinta Woodward, owner of Party Chameleon — a children’s entertainment company I worked for in high school. She taught me how to face paint, gave me my first taste of Halloween special effects using toilet paper and liquid latex, and inspired me to make a career out of art,” Lucy said.

“She also taught me I didn’t want to spend another day dressed as a princess making balloon animals,” Lucy joked.

“Then years down the track I became interested with movie makeup and the world of special effects. I wanted to learn to sculpt, design and apply, but I had no idea how to get my foot in the door of that industry.”

After hearing about HUXLEY School of Makeup and their reputation for excellence in the film in television industry, Lucy decided to enrol in a Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Makeup Services) (CUA51020) and get started on turning her dream into reality.

The course, delivered by HUXLEY School of Makeup in partnership with TAFE Queensland, provides makeup lovers like Lucy with the opportunity to learn the specialist skills they need to be able to succeed in the film and television industry.

“I learnt under great teachers who had industry experience, and HUXLEY offered many opportunities for work experience,” Lucy said.

“During my course I was able to gain experience on short films, fashion shows, bridal, theatre performances music videos and brand collaborations. It helped the end goal seem more achievable and helped me network my way into the industry.”

It was these industry connections that helped land Lucy her attachment role on the makeup team for A Perfect Pairing.

“Since then I have been jumping on different productions as an additional makeup artist, as well as freelancing on TV commercials, short films and event makeups,” Lucy said.

“I’ve worked with Moana Bikini on e-commerce and marketing content, a Sportsbet commercial, the Dune Rats’ music video for UP, and I am currently working at JMB FX Studio making prosthetics for a big up-and-coming project.

TAFE Queensland Faculty Director for Creative and Digital (East Coast region) Angela Lisle said the partnership with HUXLEY School of Makeup is providing students like Lucy with fantastic opportunities to turn their creativity into a successful career in film and television.

“As the state’s largest and most experienced training provider, TAFE Queensland is committed, ensuring the best outcomes for our students and the community, and like TAFE Queensland, HUXLEY School of Makeup is dedicated to providing students with quality hands-on training that produces outstanding outcomes,” Ms Lisle said.

“While TAFE Queensland offers the Diploma of Beauty Therapy (SHB50115) at our Gold Coast campuses, the Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Make Up Services) (CUA51020) provides students with the chance to really push the boundaries of their creativity by teaching them advanced fashion, cinema, and special effects make-up techniques.

“HUXLEY School of Makeup has built an incredible reputation for the standard of work its students produce and for its impressive industry collaborations; the proof is in the calibre of the opportunities its students have been able to seize upon graduating.”

HUXLEY School of Makeup Course Convener, Michael Huxley said he was proud to help students like Lucy kick-start such incredible careers.

“The unique opportunities provided at HUXLEY enable students to gain the experience required to work within the wider professional makeup/ hair and beauty industries. Lucy took on every opportunity while studying at HUXLEY and the results speak for themselves,” Mr Huxley said.

“Professional makeup artistry exists within several creative industries; film, TV theatre, commercial production, beauty, bridal, fashion, social media, cosmetics to name a few. At HUXLEY students gain the skills and experience required to work in all those fields.”

According to the National Skills Commission, employment opportunities in the arts and recreation services sector are projected to increase by 10.1 per cent nation-wide by 2026, providing plenty of opportunities for blossoming creatives.

For Lucy, she currently aims to continue building her reputation in the industry and eventually work on the main special effects teams for bigger productions, with her ultimate goal to one day travel the world designing looks and characters for film.

“My goals are forever changing, as I didn’t know what was possible to achieve in this industry when I started,” Lucy said.

“There are so many avenues you can go down, and getting paid to make art is pretty awesome.”

Applications are now open for September 2022.