Enriching Aysha #London #Creative Media Skills #Film

“I can officially give myself a beard!” laughs 13 year old Aysha, as we sink into our seats on the Portsmouth-IOW ferry. She is full of beans, hasn’t stopped talking all the way home and I am now educated on a diverse range of facial hair application techniques. Pulling out the camera, Aysha turns it on and we look through shots she’s taken from her day with Creative Media Skills in London.

I’m blown away.

I haven’t seen my daughter like this for ages.

Years even.

In an era where face time has replaced calling-for, selfies are synonymous with photography and aspiration is funnelled into a world of celebrity glamour, igniting a passion for learning in your teen child can be a challenge. An added issue faced by families living on the Isle of Wight is that our main industry revolves around tourism and our schools are bottom of national league tables, making jobs scarce and the chance for a successful future a little uncertain.

It was due to this that I designed the Enrichment Programme for my daughter. This involves engaging her with interesting people in diverse industries. Hence London. Hence Creative Media Skills. Hence film. Hence facial hair.

Aysha: “I have wanted to work within the film industry for several years. Then I was offered the chance to go to London and shadow some people who are training as film crew! They were learning to become the hair stylists, the make-up artists and the costume designers with some of the industry’s best professionals. When Mum said we were going, the last thing I’d expected was to learn how to put on an actor’s beard or stubble.”

I can’t understand why!

With hip kids throwing out their razors and rebelling against the bare-chin and the beard-fest aka The Five Armies on the brink of release, facial hair is well and truly flourishing in fashion and film. Creative Media Skills tutor, Ken Lintott, who has worked on countless films from Harry Potter The Deathly Hallows to The Life Of Brian, was just the man to inspire my girl.

Aysha: “Ken has been working in the make-up for film industry since 1960. He was really wise and experienced with not just facial hair, but a whole variety of make-up skills. Ken demonstrated how to apply stubble to a model’s face using techniques such as “lace”, “wax” and “oil”. I took photographs of each step while others were leaning in, watching and then trying out the techniques on other models.”

“My favourite part of the day was meeting Ken. He was really experienced and inspiring. He was also very passionate and dedicated to his craft and you could see how his skill shone through because of that.”

During Aysha’s morning she had the opportunity to work with a photographer to shoot the models, giving her a whole new perspective of photography and the techniques involved.

Aysha: “I now know how to take photographs! It’s about lighting and focus. Also getting the model to stand and sit in the right position. After that I sat with a group of trainees and chatted to them about the career path they had followed. Most of them that I talked to had already worked back stage in theatres and had jobs in salons. On the Isle of Wight my friends have NO IDEA about how to get into any of these jobs. It was really interesting and inspiring to see people pursuing their dreams but also hearing about the steps they’d taken to get there.”

As the ferry slides silently across the sea, away from the Spinaka Tower and towards the sleepy isle, I watch Aysha’s face. Gazing out of the window, a little smile keeps flickered over her lips. There is something very fulfilling as a parent to know that your young person has been nourished to the core by an experience like this. In one day she has gained new skills, new techniques, new passions. She has learnt to communicate, photograph and has opened her mind as to what is possible in the world … and yes, what is possible for her own appearance.

Because, let’s face it.

She can now officially give herself a beard.

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