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Sharon Holloway: The vintage and retro hairstylist who triumphed at the Reklame Filmpreis

November 8, 2014 by


Sharon Holloway is a vintage hairstyling specialist with a long portfolio including vintage hairstyling training, retro & vintage events, hair styling and make-up for film & TV and photo shoots. She was also one of the awarded artists of REKLAME FILMPREIS Festival which took place last November in Frankfurt. Sharon won the prize for best make-up, and because of being impressed by this and her awesome work in the media industry scene, Production Paradise wanted to have a few words with her. Read the full interview below.

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Could you please tell us something about yourself and why you are fascinated by vintage hair and makeup?

I have always been a “multiple career” person and I came to hair and make-up quite late (I was in my 30’s) after a long and high powered career in law as a criminal barrister. My passion has always been history, and being drawn to great stories and characters of the past, it was inevitable that historical and vintage work would become my first love when I changed careers. I come at my work with a very filmic perspective, and with vintage work it feels very much like playing a part in recreating a living past. Our clients love the vintage looks, so the satisfaction of working in this field is enormous.

With the Vintage Hair Lounge you usually do beautiful retro hair styles and makeup. Could you tell us about your work for the Herbaria Tea commercial and why was it different?

Almost all of the work I have been involved in with hair and makeup has been character or concept based. When I first undertook my training in 2002 at Greasepaint (a leading film and television makeup school in London), I really enjoyed the prosthetics work, from the sculpting and mould making to the final application of prosthetic pieces, and I seemed to have a real flair for it. I then got some great opportunities to work on projects where that kind of expertise was required, and continued my specialist training with Neill Gorton, one of the leading special effects makeup and prosthetics artists in the UK. When a project like the Herbaria Tea commercial came along, it was an ideal match for my skill set, because it required a confidence with making and applying prosthetics, as well as demanding a sharp problem solving mind, working out how to undertake all the makeup and wig work for an entirely underwater shoot, without losing the creativity and aesthetics the Director Andreas Roth was looking for.

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How was it for you to win the Reklame Filmpreis as best make-up, and how did your network react?

It was a tremendous honour and extremely exciting. I do the best possible work I can for every project, so to be recognized by the industry, particularly in another country was a huge compliment. It was quite a thrill coming to Frankfurt for the ceremony and being part of such a wonderful event, so winning the Award just made it even better. Most of all it feels like a huge compliment to all those talented artists who have played their part in training and supporting me over the years, and the response to the nomination and the win was quite overwhelming. On a local level, I was also very proud; every town likes to cheer on its achievers and in Southampton, where I live, both the local press and radio station were quick to cover the story. That was special.

What kind of training do you offer in your courses?

Vintage Hair Lounge has become known as the leading training provider for specialist vintage hairstyling training and we run our Vintage Hairstyling For Camera course across the UK, both independently, and also for Aston and Fincher, which is the leading hair and beauty supplier in the UK with training academies throughout the country. It is important to teach historical context as well as technique, and many of the skills required to create authentic vintage hairstyles are traditional skills which are rarely taught in mainstream hairdressing education these days. I teach the course with my mum, Gloria, who has spent a lifetime in the hairdressing profession, and who is also a highly accomplished educator. It’s a wonderful way to ensure the skills are not lost from generation to generation.

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An important advice for all those aspiring hair stylists and makeup artists who are willing to reach success?

It’s about passion all the way. If you love what you do, you will constantly strive to learn and improve and take on new challenges. One of the interesting aspects to Vintage Hair Lounge is how we have brought two sides of the industry together and shown to hair stylists and makeup artists that if they have a strong skill set and an innovative approach to their careers, they will be able to make the most of a whole range of opportunities in their field of work that previously were very segmented. It’s also vital that they identify the creatives whose work they like and aspire to and where possible seek out the opportunities to learn from them. If you are trained by the best, the opportunities will come!

An essential beauty tip for models?

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Healthy skin is a life long investment whether you wear makeup little or often. As a result, when you do apply makeup, the results will always be better where the blank canvas as it were is in great condition.

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What is the next step in your career?

I’ve recently become the sole European Distributor for vintage makeup brand Bésame Cosmetics, which means I will be building even stronger networks across Europe in the coming months and years with hairstylists, makeup artists and vintage retailers, and that will undoubtedly bring exciting new challenges and opportunities. The Bésame brand, created by Gabriela Hernandez in the United States, is a very high quality cosmetic line which has been developed to match many of the products used in the golden era of Hollywood and works beautifully for recreating classic vintage looks. The products also featured in the Oscar winning film The Artist, and I’m looking forward to working more closely with Gabriela in developing new products and building the brand’s reputation in the film industry.

Anything else you would like to share with us?

Being fascinated with the film industry, I have also undertaken a good deal of film-making training over the years, and have won two international film awards for a short high impact historical film I wrote and made a few years ago called The Crime Wave, which is based on five true British crime stories of the nineteenth century. The film was shot in the Middle Temple, where my barristers’ chambers are located, which shows how bringing different aspects of my careers works very well. I also regularly make promotional films of our own work at Vintage Hair Lounge.

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