Rosie Octon: Crowd Hair & Make-Up Supervisor on The Collection, Poldark and The White Princess


Checking ‘Jason’s’ make-up on the set of Atlantis

I Studied in Art and Design and Hairdressing at college before Training in ‘Hair & Make-up For The Performing Arts BA (Hons) at London college of Fashion.

Whilst training I worked for Space NK, MAC, Prada, Estee Lauder and Molton Brown which helped me learn about colours, shapes, sensitivities, and familiarised me with available products.

I was a trainee in TV for some very lovely Designers who nurtured my learning and advised I went to work in theatre to improve my period hairdressing and wig skills.

I worked on a few UK theatre tours and on a couple of Festival theatre seasons which I loved and improved my skills to a new level. I still do courses now to improve my skill set and keep up to date with techniques

I now work on lots of different productions and period dramas as a Make-up Artist on the main team or Crowd Supervisor who looks after all of the SA’s.


The shoot day normally starts on set at 08:00, which means Hair & Make-up have to have everyone ready before that time.

On a modern day show we normally start making up the main cast 1-1.5hours before the shoot day starts, if its a period drama or a shoot requiring prosthetics or injuries it can be 3-4 hours before the start!

Before we start making anyone up we have to set up our individual workspaces with anything in particular we might need like products, electrical items and brushes, so it can be a really early start. SA’s are usually titivated after the main artists are done unless it’s a period production in which case they will have really early calls as well.

When the shoot day starts the make-up team look after the Actors they made- up during each scene they are in.

We have to be aware of the continuity of the look of the characters we look after at all times. We have notes and photos on each look or injury that affects the order of the filming so that we can change the look whenever necessary.

We constantly check the way they look for each take and scene to make sure that everything matches so that when the program is cut together it looks like everything was filmed in the correct order.

After lunch is a chance for us to do a bigger check on the actor’s hair and make-up for the rest of the afternoon’s shoot. When the Actors is finished for the day we help them clean off and get back to their normal look.

We look after SA’s in the same way and often ask the SA’s to be aware of their own continuity as each specific costume has a specific hairstyle or look that goes with it and needs to be maintained.

When checking the SA’s in the morning for the modern day shows we might tweak a lipstick or hair accessory but a lot of the time everyone comes as themselves.

When working on a period drama the SA’s usually come in for a fitting to get the costume and hair/make-up look correct.

During the fitting any special requirements from the individuals are made, like any sensitivities to products, covering tattoos or removing piercings as necessary. We always ask SA’s to come with clean hair and wear a natural coloured base and a light coat of mascara.                 


The team I work with are a fab bunch of people who make me laugh all day or pass me a tissue if I’m sad.

We become a very close family for the time we work together and have some really special times. Travelling to beautiful locations and countries with the team is really cool.

Shocking people with an amazing hairstyle, make-up or injury is a great feeling when you can show off your talent and it’s noticed by others. I love being creative and improving things, so this is the perfect job to do this in.

Oh and when someone randomly contacts you to say they just saw your name credited on something they really enjoyed watching!!


Getting up at 04:00 and going to bed at 21:00 everyday for a long period of time is the worst bit for me, you can never really catch up on the sleep or the quality of time lost with family, friends or loved ones!


Don’t arrive on set with a full face of make-up. Contouring and false lashes, even if they are semi permanent, are a definite No.

Make sure your hair is washed, dry shampoo does not clean hair and make sure you remove any false nails, Shellac or Nail varnish.

Always let us know if you have any piercings or tattoos that may be visible. If you have a fitting before your shoot day, it’s very important that you do not change anything about your appearance.

Don’t get your hair cut or coloured, trim your beard or moustache, don’t get a new piercing or tattoo until after filming.

Always be polite and considerate to everyone you meet on set from the Chaperones, Costume, Make-up and Runners, down to the people looking after the Trailers, Toilets and Catering.

Everyone’s jobs are specific for a reason and everyone matters. Commenting on how things are done, should be done or aren’t being done can be really offensive even if you have experience in that area. Being sensitive to how people are approached is key.

Posted in Crew interviews.

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