Plymouth Youth Work
As well as the work I do as Bohemia Beauty, I do Special Effects makeup work
(www.kelseygitsham.wix.com/kgfx if you're interested!). Over the last few weeks I've had the pleasure of running theatrical makeup workshops with Plymouth Youth Service. This was a totally new experience for me and I was a bit nervous going in to it, but the kids were great and I'd definitely take it up again.
I was asked to come on board because lots of the girls had expressed a keen interest in taking on hair and beauty qualifications when they leave school. I was asked to show them that makeup can take their careers even further, should they be interested, whilst also learning about hair and beauty. It took a little while for some of them to warm to this newcomer, but once they did they got really stuck in and were asking me all sorts of good questions about what I do and, most importantly, what they could do.
During my time with the youth service, I ran 5 different sessions, some alongside regular youth club times and some were 4-hour focus groups. The latter seemed really daunting, what can I do to keep them busy for 4 hours? It was time to organised my scrambled-egg brain and write out some 'lesson plans'.
The first workshop was a Bohemia Beauty makeup party style which ran alongside the regular youth club. Needless to say, it was VERY loud and I was thinking 'oh god, these girls must think I'm so boring! They can't even hear me!', especially some who were in there late teens. But, as the session progressed, more girls joined in and everyone seemed happy getting on with what they were doing. I received some feedback forms from the girls and they all said they enjoyed the session and would like me back again, phew! I did it!
The next session was SFX injury basics with a small focus group. We covered types of paints and tools, how to paint bruises, using cinewax to create wounds, and I answered questions about what I do for work. I really wanted to encourage their imaginations, so before they got to work making their wounds we had a discussion about how they could have sustained their injuries. I told them that just falling off their bike was not a good enough answer! This sprung out some interesting stories and fun ideas. I'm not used to working with kids, so this was all new to me, but seeing the cogs turn in their heads and their faces light up when they had a new idea was so much fun and a really rewarding experience. Come the end of the session we were staging fight photos and entire narratives! I was feeling really good about how it went, and ready for my next class! In all honesty, I couldn't believe it was all going so well!
The next two sessions were shorter, evening workshops that ran along regular youth club times, but it was a different location to the first and we had a separate room which made everything run a lot smoother. I was still riding the confidence wave from my last class, so we ran another session recapping what we had learnt the first time. Some of the same girls came along and we're keen to show their expertise. Once again, everyone got really involved and I was so impressed by how seriously they all took the session. One of my biggest worries was them getting bored, not only because that's rubbish but because they were equipped with the tools to make a LOT of mess should they want to! Fortunately, they did listen to my warning about protecting their clothes and all of the blood and paint stayed exactly where it should. The other evening session was a little different, I brought along water-based face paints and encouraged character design and, again, creative thinking. They were all quite inspired by one particular piece of work of mine (above) so things quickly became a galaxy-painting class. It was a bit self indulgent of me, but I couldn't believe that they were so excited to recreate a piece of my work! Reeeeally enjoyed this session.
For the last, 4-hour session, I'd planned to put together everything we'd learnt over the weeks and have a 'Zombie Day', as well as demonstrating how to make easy, gruesome effects with liquid latex. This is not exactly what happened, but I think we'd still call it a successful session! Maybe encouraging all of this creative thinking was not such a good idea. With not much for me to demonstrate, 4 hours was a lot to fill, and some of the older girls did drop out halfway through. A Vampire Tree was created, with one girl painting every available part of her body bright green (her grandma picking her up was less impressed). Others tried a few injuries, others a few alien looks. It was relaxed, but energy and laughs still flowed.
This isn't something I ever expected to be doing with my makeup career, but I'm so glad I did. It was an eye-oping experience for me getting to know what it was like for young people today, and I was glad to be able to help them express their creativity, expand their imagination, and get to be social. The staff at both youth centres were very warm and welcoming, and made me feel like part of the team. They have such an important role in these young people's lives and they do so much more than just keep them busy for the summer holidays, and I was glad to have been a (very small) part of it. Thank you to them for inviting me in- I look forward to doing it again!