About Us

The Iver Make-up Academy based in the heart of Pinewood Studios is the leading, industry based, independent training school for make-up, hair and SFX artists.

A collection of makeup brushes and sponges used at The Iver Academy

The Iver Make-up Academy is the leading independent 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.

With close to 2000 square feet of studio space solely for the use of IMA make-up and hair students, we offer one of the highest spec training centres in the country.

The academy, based at Pinewood Studios, was set up by the tutors and staff from Greasepaint Makeup School when Greasepaint sadly closed its doors.

Tutors at IMA have been nominated for: 

  • 1 OSCAR
  • 3 x BAFTAs
  • 2 Primetime EMMY Awards
  • 3 Make-up Artist
  • Hairstylist Guild Awards
  • 3 OFTA awards. 

Incredibly passionate about their work, they have enlisted the help of their colleagues, the leading specialists in hair, make-up, SFX and prosthetics in TV, film, theatre, fashion and events to share their knowledge with students at the academy. This in turn opens up pathways for all graduates to obtain offers of work throughout each and every medium. 

Find out more about the wonderfully talented Iver Make-up Academy teaching team and the exciting courses available to students in our interview with the founders.

The Iver Make-up Academy vision - An interview with some of the tutors.

Liz Tagg-Wooster - Principal

Tamsin Barbosa - Vice Principal

Christine Vidler - Academic Consultant

Renata Gilbert - Academic Consultant

Joceline Andrews - Academic Consultant

 

Q. What inspired you to set up The Iver Make-up Academy? 

Liz: We were inspired to set up The Iver Make-up Academy because, as a group of make-up artists, we have been working for many years in the industry, combining our freelance film work with tutoring at the renowned Greasepaint make-up school.

Tamsin: We  all became very aware that there was a skills gap in our industry. There are a large number of Media Make-up training courses but many of these are not filling this skills gap. They are not teaching the students the relevant skills to a high enough standard. Many of the degree courses do so few hours that some techniques can not be completed. Make-up and Hair is a craft skill and needs to be taught in a practical way. On our 30 week course you will get 900 hours of practical hands on training. This is a 5 day a week, 6 hours per day. On a typical media Make-up degree course, costing in the region of  £27,000 plus living expenses, the weekly hours barely top 12 hours per week.

Christine: Ultimately, we all saw this as an amazing opportunity to bring together all of our skills and offer a comprehensive training programme within the most famous of film studios in the UK; Pinewood Studios. Between us all, we have worked within every aspect of make-up, hair and special effects, in all possible mediums, and we knew that anyone looking to start a career in the industry would really benefit from our combined knowledge and experience.

Jos:  Within our tutor base of award winning make-up professionals is a wealth of qualified teachers who understand the aims and objectives required to deliver a comprehensive and clear curriculum to meet the needs of today's industry.

 

Q. How did you choose the teaching team for the new academy? 

Liz: Well, we wanted to make sure that our students receive the most up to date and comprehensive training possible so getting the right mix of tutors was vital. Amongst our tutors are a wealth of highly skilled artists and trained teachers, working in make-up, hair, SFX, prosthetics, fashion and theatre. We all have a very good working relationship and promote a strong work ethic, which makes for a very dynamic & inspiring learning environment.

Christine:  We  have a number of high profile make-up and hair artists who act as consultants and experts, bringing the latest industry standards straight to the classroom. From fashion make-up artists to award winning film and television designers. The great thing for the students is that they are being introduced to designers who can then employ them once they have graduated.

Renata: We’re extremely lucky as the tutors are working industry professionals, so they are completely up-to-speed with all the latest products and techniques, and at every opportunity they will offer work experience to Iver Make-up Academy graduates. We can not talk about all the films that students have worked on as all MUA's are asked to sign NDA'S ( Non disclosure agreements ) to protect the content of the film before it is released.

Some of the films that have been released that the students have had work experience on whilst still students at the academy are Assassin's Creed, Transformers, Star Wars, Last Dragon Slayer, Mary Poppins Returns and Dumbo. 

 

Q. Who have your tutors worked with? 

Tamsin: Our tutors have worked with an enormous amount of high profile actors, celebrities, directors, brands and production companies such as Disney and Marvel. The list is simply huge! But it covers a really extensive mix of actors and actresses, as well as sports, music and fashion personalities, and even royalty. So our tutors have a very diverse background, which is a massive benefit to our students. 

Liz: Some of the highest calibre acting clients our team have worked with include George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Dame Judi Dench, Penelope Cruz, Eddie Redmayne, Daniel Craig, Dame Helen Mirren, Hugh Jackman, Reese Witherspoon, Matt Damon, Halle Berry, Nicole Kidman and Daniel Radcliffe. The fashion and sports industry clients have included David Beckham, Lewis Hamilton, Thierry Henry, George Best, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood and Karl Lagerfeld. It’s so varied, and it’s this high level of professional experience that our students will be benefitting from.

 

Q. What makes The Iver Make-up Academy different to other make-up schools?

Renata: We teach in small but vibrant tutor groups, and most importantly, unlike other courses, we aren’t tied to an outdated curriculum. We can adapt our courses to meet the needs of the industry. Also, all of our courses are hands-on and are taught through practical demonstrations. We cover every aspect you would need to know to become a successful make-up and hair artist working in today’s media environment. The students receives daily feedback to ensure everyone understands and practises each technique. 

Tamsin: We know what is required of a trainee make-up artist in each field, so our graduates leave here with this knowledge and more. There are a lot of techniques that can't be taught in a short course. It is not possible to fast track into this career. We are also very focused on the soft skills required in this very competitive industry.  Our courses are designed to build on all the skills needed to succeed and are very highly respected by the people looking to hire. 

Jos: Obviously, the key benefit of training at The Iver Make-up Academy is that the school is placed in the most perfect location. Pinewood Studios is known worldwide and has been the filming location for many of the most successful films this country has ever produced. James Bond and Star Wars to name a few. The opportunity for our students to be right at the heart of these studios, with the opportunities of work experience that might arise, is fantastic. Many students have been given work experience just through a designer visiting us for a coffee.

 

Q. What skills and techniques can students expect to learn with you? 

Liz: Our students will have the chance to explore all the areas of make-up and hair that the film, TV, theatre and fashion industry requires. They can choose to take our most comprehensive 30 week training programme, or opt for one of our other courses. But we don’t just teach the practical skills; we also train them on the high standards of industry etiquette, continuity and script break down and how to work from a brief. All these aspects put together will produce great make-up artists.

Christine: We cover the basics of TV and media make-up and hair in our shorter courses. Students can take a module at a time and build up their skills this way if they do not want to take the longer courses all in one go. We offer comprehensive advanced modules for creating character make-ups, special effects, prosthetics, modern and period hair, air-brushing and fashion that can all be booked as separate modules and we’ve planned our course structure to give students the flexibility to add on modules if they are not already covered in their chosen course. We hope this opens up the training opportunities to everyone.

 

Q. How do you choose your students? 

Tamsin: In terms of existing skills, we don’t expect anyone applying for our beginners' courses to have any prior experience, but we do require applicants to show a level of artistic ability. During an interview, applicants will be asked to supply a small portfolio of work. This doesn't need to be make-up work necessarily. We just want to see that you have artistic ability. We can teach you the rest.

Liz: We also like to meet all prospective students for a short informal interview to make sure they understand the full commitment required for a career as a make-up artist, and that they are following the right path for their own goals. We also ask to see proof of a certain level of artistic ability in the form of a portfolio or photographs. We want all of our students to succeed, so we look for determination, creativity and a real passion for the industry.

 

Q. How are you helping to support your students once they have graduated?

Renata: Once graduated, our students all receive a certificate from The Iver Make-up Academy, which is a testament to their skill and expertise in their chosen course. As well as this industry-recognised training, we provide excellent links to the industry through our agency. 

Christine: The agency gives all current and graduate students the chance to receive work opportunities. This service is free to all Iver Make-up Academy students. It is provided for as long as they need it.

Liz: As well as the support of our agency team, our tutors always recommend students on as many productions as they can to give them even more work experience. Our track record can testify to this. Students we have taught have recently worked on productions such as Bohemian Rhapsody, Maleficent 2, The Crown, Mary Poppins Returns, Star Wars, Stan and Ollie, Harlots, Will, Darkest Hour, Entebbe, Murder on the Orient Express and Beauty and The Beast to name but a few. We see the academy as a permanent support system for our students, so even after they have graduated, they are free to return and ask advice from their tutors, or to get help practising techniques that they may need to brush up on for forthcoming work.