Petar Agbaba and Christine Blundell, who has won both an Oscar and a Bafta award for her make-up work, started their Make-up Academy in Camden 10 years ago. They knew each other because they’d both worked in the film and TV industry together, Christine as a make-up artist and Petar as a set painter. The two of them decided that they wanted to open a make-up school, and they went ahead and did just that.
“Once we had the idea, we just jumped without really time to think” recalls Petar, “which seemed like the only way to get started. Christine and I both had, and have, our natural roles. She’s the make-up expert and professional with many years of experience and success under her belt. My job is to see to the smooth day-to-day running of the business, the finances and the administration, and we’ve worked very well together as a team.”
The highly popular school offers three different courses which include modules like understanding media make-up and fashion, theatre make-up, wigs and casualty make-up. No small part of the school’s success lies in the fact that Christine is able to offer her students work experience on film and TV productions she herself is working on.
Over the years, the school has gone from strength to strength and the list of their achievements is long. Former students of the academy have worked on TV and Film productions like Call the Midwife, Skyfall, Game of Thrones and Great Expectations.
“I went to the Business Centre to get advice on running the Academy and Maria Stammers was assigned as my advisor,” says Petar. “I’d had some business advice before, but to be honest, it had seemed like a lot of waffle. Maria took it to a whole different level. It was immediately obvious to me that she really knew what she was talking about.
“Her advice was always practical, and if my ideas lacked substance, she had a very skilful technique of helping me to see things in a factual way, and making them real.
“Maria also has an infectious energy and enthusiasm and she was really good at pushing and cajoling in a positive way. These were all qualities that were a huge help to me in playing my part in making the Academy a success.
“Maria was always there to give me advice when I needed it, and the advice she gave was worth its weight in gold. The guidance she’s given me has certainly helped the Academy to prosper.”