Samantha Tansey: Making Up Her Passion

Hollywood 411
3 min readJul 21, 2018

Makeup and special FX artist, Samantha Tansey is celebrated for her work on internationally acclaimed films, television, music videos, theatre, commercials, and online content.

Samantha’s passion for the art of makeup and filmmaking began at a young age. “My mum told me she always saw me doing makeup.”

At the age of twelve, Samantha would invite neighbour-kids over and put makeup on them to look like dead bodies. Samantha’s professional career began in production. Earning a BA Honors degree in film and television from Southhampton Solent University, led to a role at the Disney Channel as a production assistant. While the experience working on TV series and feature films was invaluable, a future as a production manager was not her aspiration.

Samantha followed her passion and discovered her purpose, attending the Cinema Makeup School in Los Angeles. She enrolled in the ‘Master Of Makeup’ course — studying: beauty, fashion, body painting, prosthetics and special FX.

“This was where I discovered this is what I was put on the earth to do.” Samantha was selected for the Leonard Engelman Fellowship Program. Twice, Samantha was nominated and recognized for the honor for achieving the top percentage in her class. She excelled in the fields of character makeup, and beauty and fashion.

Following her studies and hands-on experience in Los Angeles, Samantha returned to London to continue her career journey. Last summer, Samantha worked for The Royal Shakespeare Company. As a member of the wigs and makeup department, the experience pushed her to grow as an artist.

“I learnt that it’s not about perfection, but about time. My makeup application and wig work really was pushed and by the end of the London tour. I was the queen at changing wigs and makeup in record time and dealing with sweat and bodily fluids of actors.”

Success has offered Samantha the opportunity to work in interesting and exotic locations. As key makeup artist on the Netflix film, ‘VANish’, locations were set in Los Angeles the surrounding desert. “We were filming in crazy heat in the desert where even my feet were burning on the sand.”

VANish starred, Maiara Walsh, from Disney Channel’s, ‘Cory In The House’, Tony Todd, ‘Candyman’, and the famed, Danny Trejo.

As makeup supervisor and key makeup artist on, ‘Fanged Up’, Samantha filmed in an abandoned prison in Portsmouth, UK. Conditions in the winter were challenging enough besides the main location being a maximum security prison.

“I swear to God this prison was haunted. We were covered in blood for most of it — with some outrageous blood rigs, cannons and gags.”

A true artist, Samantha continues to challenge herself and always keeps her skill set to the latest techniques.

“Makeup artists are expected to now be able to deal with hair from modern to period styling, cutting, blow drying and even now barbering and beard trims in addition to dressing, maintaining and applying wigs.”

Samantha Tansey’s journey as a makeup artist and special FX expert has allowed her to follow her passion and live an interesting life.

“I feel very lucky having the job I do. I get to travel to some places I would never see normally, work with interesting people from all walks of life and make a living out of my passion.”



Hollywood 411

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