VU make-up teacher part of Emmy award-winning team

Erica Wells, a Victoria University teacher in specialist make-up, can now add "Emmy" to her list of make-up awards.

The Mount Waverley resident led one of the two teams of make-up artists that won an Emmy Award in Los Angeles for "outstanding make-up" for the 10-part mini-series The Pacific.

Filmed over 10 months in 2008 in Melbourne, Port Douglas, and other Australian locations, the mini-series, produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, tells the intertwined stories of three Marines during America's battle with the Japanese in the Pacific during World War II.

The production involved hundreds of extras requiring huge teams of behind-the-scenes people to look after make-up, hairstyling and special effects.

"We had to maintain army haircuts and do 1940s make-up and hairstyling," she said. "There were also specialised looks "" applying salt flakes and sweat to make actors appear dehydrated when they are marooned on an island, and keeping track of cuts and bruises for continuity."

Erica has worked on several other major productions shot in Australia including The Thin Red Line, Moulin Rouge, Don't be Afraid of the Dark and Mission Impossible. Her other make-up awards include The Potato Factory, starring Lisa McCune.

The VU Diploma of Specialist Make-Up teaches the skills that meet the demands of work in film, media and entertainment industries, including design and application of make-up, special effects also hair and wig styling for all types of productions.

Make-up artists that are starting out need to be all-rounders who are able to do hair, glamour and specialist make-up she said.

"In Australia, it's best to be adaptable, to be able to multi skill in this business, and that's something we really focus on at VU, that helps to make the students industry ready."

Erica will join a panel discussion at the International Make-Up Artist Trade (IMAT) show in Sydney this weekend to discuss her role on the Emmy Award Winning team.

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