Benjie creates foundation for an exciting career

Ruth Peterson | December 8, 2020

Studying for a degree takes hard work and dedication for everyone, but for Benjie Kusita, the past year has been exceptionally busy.

As well as working towards achieving her degree and achieving national recognition for her achievements in competitions all over the country, Benjie was named the Association of Colleges (AoC)’s Higher Education Student of the Year in December 2019.

Benjie in the studio

She has now graduated from Bradford College with a First Class BA Honours Degree in Media Makeup with Special Effects.

All my hard work has paid off

Benjie said: “When I found out I had gained a First, I was over the moon. All my hard work has paid off.”

Her proud tutor Lisa Dawkins, who nominated her for the AoC award, says: “She goes above and beyond what’s expected and she is such an amazing student and person.

“Benjie is, for me, a wonderful human being – and I always feel really emotional when I talk about her, because, to me, she’s a very special student.”

Benjie with her AoC HE Student of the Year Award

My tutors believed in me

There were some moments during her course when Benjie was concerned she may not do as well as she hoped – partly as English is not her first language. She explained: “Because of my English, I wasn’t sure if I was going to pass my course. But my tutors believed in me and saw my potential. They said: “Come on, you can do this.”

In November 2019, Benjie competed at The Prosthetics Event in Coventry, a highly regarded annual forum for professionals in the special effects and prosthetics industry. She was a student competing against professionals in the field. However, received numerous comments from judges and fellow competitors who said they loved her work.

A model in costume and make up designed by Benjie
Benjie’s work for Brush Wars

“We love Benjie’s work”

In summer 2018, Benjie also entered Brush Wars in London. Despite being unable to attend the competition, her work was highly commended by the judges. It was also showcased on the organisation’s social media, which garnered compliments from famous TV/Film make-up designers such as Mandy Gold and Julia Townsend. Benjie said creating her work for Brush Wars was one of the highlights of her time at Bradford College.

Her enthusiasm for entering competitions has inspired her fellow students. In October 2018 they wowed judges at prestigious regional competition Warpaint North Make-up Championships. They went on to bring home a raft of awards, including the College Cup.

Benjie said: “I enjoyed everything about the course really. I enjoyed going to college to see my friends, to see my tutors.”

Collecting her AoC Award in December 2019

“Patience, patience, patience … and passion”

Since completing her course, Benjie has worked as a make-up artist for Mabway, which provides training support for organisations in the defence, maritime and railway sectors to deal with real-life situations.  She has  continued as a freelance make-up artist and still runs her family’s Thai massage salon business. This is on top of caring for her young son. She says, to succeed in studying media make-up with special effects, you need: “Patience, patience, patience. Patience and passion.

“If you’re really passionate about doing make-up, you have to try your best, and think about your future career. If it’s a job you really want to do, you will really enjoy doing this course.”

About the BA (Hons) Media Make Up With Special Effects Degree

The exciting and creative Media Make Up with Special Effects degree course is multi-disciplinary; students learn a variety of specialist practical and academic skills appropriate for various industry sectors and specialisms. You will learn from experienced and specialist tutors who work in the industry. They have developed strong contacts with industry professionals and organisations to help you to develop your knowledge and understanding of this exciting industry. You will learn through practical demonstrations and applications in studio or workshop environments, staff and student-led presentations, live projects (competitions, work experience), lectures, tutorials, visiting professionals and visits to makeup industry environments.

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