Kirstie Stanway has worked on Casualty on and off , for a number of years. While she was busy working on a rather gory looking prosthetic, I caught up with her to find out about her job and also the 30th anniversary episode!
Hi Kirstie, thank you for talking to Break A Leg, how long have you been working as Head of Make-up on the show?
You’re welcome, my pleasure, I’ve been working on the show on and off for about 15 or 16 years, now.
Wow, so you must enjoy the job, here?
Oh yes it’s always been lovely!
Have there been any particular highlights or challenges presented to you?
For me, it’s the prosthetics, like this one I’m doing here (Editor’s note: Kirstie was working on a full thickness burn prosthetic while we chatted!) full thickness burns are quite hard to sculpt, things like that present a challenge. You do get challenges all the time that make you stop and think “how am I going to make that?”.
What led you to this career path?
I always wanted to do make-up from a young age and I was lucky enough to get into it and here I am!
Were you familiar with the show before you started working on it?
Yes, I’ve been watching it since I was a child and I’ve always been passionate about the show.
Any particular prosthetic that you’ve been responsible for creating that stands out for you?
Recently I had to make one for a guy who had lost a considerable amount of weight, so I had to sculpt all of this hanging skin. Things like that, that you don’t do everyday, obviously making arms, legs and chests is a different thing and this that that I’m sculpting is full body burns on a child that is supposed to be from seven years ago so that’s a different thing again. It’s easy to do things that are raw and bloody, but things like old scars are a bit harder. The blood is the only red that we have on the show, there is no red allowed anywhere else!
If somebody wanted to go into this sort of career, what would you suggest that they did to achieve their goal?
You’ve got to do a good make-up course and there’s plenty of those around, then just try and get as much experience as you can, offer to work for free to get that experience. Make sure you’ve got a good, strong portfolio. Do as many courses as you can, even down to barbering and hairdressing, because it is so varied, I don’t just do prosthetics.
Finally, what can you tell me about the 30th anniversary episode?
Obviously the episode’s quite epic, some of it is quite gory, there’s a few things in there that might make people squirm. It’s just going to be really exiting. Because it’s so epic and a lot bigger than usual and some of the stunts are on a much larger scale.
Thanks to Kirstie for her time, I’m looking forward to seeing her handiwork that I witnessed in progress, in an upcoming episode.