Pleased to add my first lovely unlikely nerd to the wall of awesome. The first newsletter from Perfectly Cast included instructions for turning yourself into a zombie for Halloween… and my Nerdar went beserk! Charlotte Pingriff is an ex-special effects make up artist who now helps women feel good about themselves by turning their bodies into art. So welcome to the nerd watchlist, Charlotte…

Hey Charlotte, thanks for talking to me, let’s dive straight in, what gave you the idea of turning bodies into works of art?

I trained as a special effects make-up artist, and casting was part of our degree. In special effects, you create casts in order to sculpt prosthetics, or build appliances to custom fit a particular person, but I also loved the creative aspect of body casting, using the human body to create beautiful sculptures that could be used as a canvas for any finish you desire. The possibilities with casts are endless! I love it when a Perfectly Cast client wants a bespoke finish, as it allows me to spread my wings and create something really unique for them.

How’s this for a unique canvas!?

I love the idea of you creating the canvas on which to work, making every canvas unique. You’ve talked about a client with a distinctive scar. Did your finished piece change the way she felt about it?

Yes! She said she had always hated her scar, but that I had made her see it differently. It is her badge of honour, a reminder that she survived something life threatening. Something to be proud of!

 

How important is body image to you and what advice would you give to women who feel they need to live up to an ideal portrayed by the media?

As a women who has run the gauntlet of body issues, and self esteem issues, myself, it’s hugely important to me. I love clothes, shoes, beauty treatments, and make-up as much as the next girl, but it’s also crucial to me that I accept my body, quirks and all, and that I do all I can to feel positive and good about myself in a healthy way. This is something that has not come easily to me, and I still have off days, like everyone. So I can relate, and empathise with ladies. But I can honestly say that I’m happier with myself now, than I have ever been (some of that has come with age, and some of it has come through sheer hard work). With regards to the advice I would give, it’s such a complex topic, and one that I aim to address through my work and my free ‘Quirky Beauty Brigade’ newsletter, so it’s hard to condense it into one piece of advice – particularly as every woman is different. But if I had to give one piece of advice, it would be to remember that even those women that you idolise, likely have their own issues and insecurities. Remember that these women have carefully cultivated images. They have a huge team around them, and countless thousands of pounds to look the way they do. On top of the endless hard work they put in to look that way, it’s worth reminding yourself that it’s not their natural state. Even those women don’t look like those women. I don’t say that to run them down, but rather to point out that the media ideal is not real. It’s all smoke and mirrors!

When you’re not working, how do you relax?

This is one of my favourite pieces of art by Charlotte.

Well, this is a good time to confess that I probably work way too much! But I do love what I do, and it is a trait a lot of business owners share. But when I do stop working I love to read, I love to hang out with friends and drink wine (!), I LOVE to eat good food and I also love watching trashy TV – it’s my way to switch off! Oh, and I’m also starting to discover the merits of meditating, something I never thought I’d get into!

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Haha, see above, trashy TV! Also cheesy music – particularly 80’s, and watching beauty tutorials on YouTube – I love that! It inspired me to set up my own channel too through Perfectly Cast, it’s where I post all the vids for my Quirky Beauty Brigade.

Have you ever had a catfish moment?

Not to my knowledge! I say that, because I have a lot of friends who I only know online, so I guess they may not be who they say they are! But I

have been really lucky so far that everyone I’ve ever met in real life, after first meeting online, has been perfectly lovely in real life too!

Are you a crazy cat person or a barking mad dog lover?

A crazy cat person definitely! There are such funny, entertaining creatures! Though I do love dogs too!

Tell us what you have up your creative sleeve.

I have loads of plans in the pipeline for articles and videos for my Quirky Beauty Brigade, and lots of ideas for the casts (including a very important exhibition that I’m planning with another artist that will tackle serious issues that women face). I’m particularly excited about the Probbles – cute and quirky little pebble creatures that customers can adopt! It’s an idea I toyed with for ages, and it just buzzed around my head, like a crazy fly, and wouldn’t leave me alone. So now that they have been

born, I have a million ideas for them! So watch this space – or rather watch Perfectly Cast’s space!! Hehe. Oh, and I have an ebook coming soon too…..! An adult fairytale/parable. That is something not many people know about, so you read it here first!

Oooh, I’m looking forward to reading that! Huge thanks to Charlotte for stopping by and answering my questions.

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