Sarita Allison talks about her career, Penny Dreadful and Working with Eva Green
Penny Dreadful’s Key Prosthetic Make-Up Artist Sarita Allison is a double BAFTA winner and a fan favorite among Dreadfuls. Interactive, mysterious and gracious to fans, each Dreadful awaits in bated breath for her social media updates on what’s happening on set of the show. While in the middle of production for season 3, we caught up with Sarita for an exclusive interview to chat about her career, Penny Dreadful and working with Eva Green. Get to know the London-based genius behind The Creature, Witches and The Werewolf as she takes us behind the scenes of the show and tell us what to expect on season 3…
A lot of Penny Dreadful fans already know you by name but could you tell us more about yourself ?
I am the Key Prosthetic Make-Up Artist on Penny Dreadful and I work closely alongside Nick Dudman, the HOD. I apply the prosthetic makeups with Nick or by myself with the exception of Sembene’s facial scarring which is done by the make-up department.
The design and look of the characters is a collaboration between Nick and I. The final look and maintenance of the actors on set is all part of my job. I am a Make-Up Designer in my own right and I have the versatility of also being a beauty make-up artist. That skill has proven extremely beneficial whilst working on Penny Dreadful. Nick wanted someone to work with him who had that versatility because we were not creating rubber monsters. We were creating characters. I am incredibly passionate about my work and always strive to improve and be the best I possibly can. Trying to have a work / life balance is really important as this type of job can all consume if you allow it. Practicing yoga is part of my life and helps me focus and switch off from work at the same time.
Not a lot of people know that you used to be a high fashion model. Could you tell us more about it ?
Modelling was something I wanted to do when I was at school, you know a teenage dream. I used to have very long hair and one day I felt like a change so I went to a salon in King’s Road in London and had it all cut off much to the shock of my mother. Several people suggested I should try modelling as I had a “good face”. So I pursued my dream and joined a small modelling agency in Covent Garden. The agency sent me to see various photographers and one in particular liked my “look” and gave me an editorial job. That particular photographer said my look was very current and I would get better exposure if I switch to a bigger agency. He personally drove me into Bond Street to see the agency Premier who immediately took me on. Within a few months, I started a contract with an agency in Tokyo and worked there for four months. My modelling career spanned over five years working in London, Milan, Tokyo, Madrid and Hamburg.
You’ve worked on various fashion shows, magazine covers and editorials, album covers, music videos, etc. and you’ve worked with the likes of Bjӧrk, Issey Miyake, Vivienne Westwood, and not a lot of people know this, but you even worked on one of the late Alexander McQueen’s iconic fashion shows (Spring/Summer 1997). In a lot of ways, you can say that you’ve worked with the crème de la crème of the fashion industry. What was your favorite memory from that period of your career ?
Those were fun days. I worked on a lot of fashion shows during that time. There were many memorable moments. One year, Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood won the Designer of the Year Award together. I happened to be working on the McQueen show and it was just an incredible experience being at the Royal Albert Hall witnessing two great fashion designers win an award together.