THE woman responsible for making Stephen Fry look respectable for the camera is moving her make-up school to Sonning.
Sue Sian, who works with Fry on QI, is moving the Sue Sian Make-Up School from Teddington to a newly refurbished centre at the Mill at Sonning — the theatre’s former boardroom — and will start new courses in make-up for television, film, fashion and media from the end of September.
She said: “There are a lot of schools that have been set up and they charge a fortune for a six-month course — some of them cost £22,000.
“I get really upset about this because girls come in to see me wanting to be my assistant and they have taken out a loan to do these courses but they aren’t trained to a standard where I can use them.
“The whole point of my school is that I can do it in two weeks.”
Sue said her school is different in that she insists the girls work on models rather than on each other, and that they have experience of working on all different ages and ethnicities.
One of Sue’s particular bug-bears is that many newly trained make-up artists have never worked on men — and she stressed that men of a certain age need make-up to go behind the screen more than most.
She said: “Take Jeremy Clarkson. He would look ridiculous on screen without make-up. He would be very red and his hair would be unkempt, and his eyebrows would need plucking. After a certain age men really get Denis Healey eyebrows. When Stephen walks in and sits down I have to get out every tool I have got. He lets everything grow. I tell him off — but he doesn’t mind.”
Sue has had a long career working on the great and the good in showbusiness. Other celebrity clients she has made up regularly include comedians Alan Carr for his Channel 4 Friday Night Project and Jo Brand, both of whom she said were “lovely” to work with.
She said: “I had to make Alan Carr look like Michael Jackson once, and another time Grace Jones.
“I had to black him up, which of course is totally non-PC.
“I also love working with Jo Brand. She’s got such a brilliant face for make-up. She’s got the most gorgeous eyes and eyelids.
“If people don’t have big enough eyelids it’s hard putting make-up on them, but with Jo I could put anything on her, green or blue, and it would look lovely.
“She’s also got a fantastic, lovely-shaped mouth.”
She has also worked with Rob Brydon, Noel Fielding and Phill Jupitus for Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Sandi Toksvig, Carrie Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen.
Sue offers several different courses at the school.
The two-week professional make-up course including two full days in a television studio costs £1,775 and includes visits from a teacher who fits wigs and facial hair and another who teaches basic prosthetics such as wounds and black eyes.
A shorter five-day course is for those who have already studied make-up but need more experience.
She also offers two- or three-day bridal make-up courses for £450 to £500, and a day course to learn how to apply your own make-up properly for £150.
She uses a range of different products but says the one she could not do without is Clarins Instant Light concealer and highlighter.
• For information about courses at the Sue Sian Make-Up School at the Mill at Sonning visit www.suesianmakeupschool.com