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JCI News: Tracy Lai’s Promotion to Head of The SPFX Makeup Department at JCI

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What better way to start the week than with the announcement of our beloved JCI Instructor Tracy Lai on her promotion to Head of SPFX Makeup! Tracy was kind enough to take some time away from makeup (She’s so dedicated!) to answers some questions. Here’s her story:

First of all, we want to congratulate you on becoming Head of SPFX Makeup at John Casablancas Institute. Can you tell us about this position and what it entails?
Thank you! I am honoured and excited to continue my commitment to the JCI family.  I will be overseeing the hiring and training, as well as contributing to the curriculum development and updates to ensure JCI’s Makeup Artistry Diploma Program is on top of the advancing makeup effects that is ongoing in the industry.  How long have you been teaching at JCI? How did you first get started? I’ve been teaching for over 10 years. I did a lot of freelancing and got myself into the film industry after completing the Makeup Artistry Diploma Program at JCI.  After a couple years of gaining experience on film sets and photoshoots, I was invited by my JCI Program Director and Instructor (award-winner Dorota Ergetowski) to do a makeup demo and instruct a class.  Just 1 day.  One day turned into 2, then the rest is history. Do you have a favorite part about teaching?

It’s extremely rewarding and always a fun environment, no matter the type of makeups my class is learning for the day.  My life outside JCI is so busy, but that’s how much I love teaching!  I’d have to get back to you with a novel if I have to tell you my favourite part about teaching… If I am able to help someone, then that’s what makes me happy.  As much as I love airbrushing, prosthetics and sculpting, at the end of the day if the students don’t appreciate my help and advice, I would not be an instructor.

*Check out this broken nose tutorial that Tracy teaches with fellow JCI Makeup Grad Samantha Ravendahl*

Aside from working with JCI, what else do you in the makeup industry? Though you may see me around at JCI often, I’m actually a full-time Makeup Artist/Makeup FX Laboratory Technician.
Film and television, including commercial and music videos, is my full-time job.  You may find me on set in all the action, or in the lab, where the magic starts with the lifecasting, sculpting or mould-making.  I also do bridal makeup and fashion photoshoots if I have a free day. Do you have any favorite projects or accomplishments that you’re extra proud of?
I am extremely honoured to have been Key Makeup for the late Wes Craven’s last project “The Girl In The Photographs“.  Star Trek 3 was another pretty great project.  They decided to send me to Dubai for a month during the tail-end of shooting and I was a 1-man show for the first 2 weeks!  It was extremely stressful to be the only one representing the MUFX department… in the Middle East, figuring out where I was going and what I was doing and getting a tall list of things completed on time but I figured it out and got it all done!  I have to thank Joel Harlow for believing in me and giving me that opportunity.  What advice do you have for students and graduates wanting to find success after completing the makeup program at JCI? You gotta work you a** off.  It’s a tough industry to be in, but the payoff is incredible if you love your craft.  There are no rules to being an artist.  There’s no textbook to read.  Have confidence and don’t get discouraged if makeup is your passion.  I have a lot more to say if you want to hear about it.  Come find me at JCI and I will talk your ear off.
Are there any projects you’re doing in the next while that we can look forward to (that you can speak about, of course)? Recent projects include TV series Wayward Pines and Legends of Tomorrow.  I can’t usually reveal too much about current projects, but all I’ll tell you is right now I’m doing MUFX for a movie feature that has peg-legged people with eyepatches!
spfx makeup artist JCI Tracy Lai Follow Tracy Lai on Instagram: @traylai
Check out her IMBD profile at: Tracy Lai

 The Makeup Artistry Diploma Program has gained an industry-wide reputation for excellence, giving students an exceptional network of contacts and resources when they enter into the marketplace. During the 10-month full time program, students study everything from glamour and special occasion makeup to special effects makeup and prosthetics application techniques. With classes limited to 16 students, individualized attention and encouragement foster each student’s personal  and professional growth potential.

John Casablancas is the pioneer of prosthetic lab techniques and face casting in Western Canada. This advanced level of training affords our graduates amazing opportunities and a significant advantage for a career in film, TV or theatre.

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