Meet the make-up artist who has had her hands on some of the biggest Bollywood on-screen transformations. We are talking about none other than Clover Wootton (CW)- the most renowned prosthetics makeup artist in Indian Cinema. She has gathered a lot of appreciation for her stellar work in films like Haider, Revolver Rani (where she did Kangana Ranaut’s nose), Parched, Bajirao Mastani, Anushka Sharma’s eerie makeover in Pari, Ranbir Kapoor’s look for the biopic, Sanju, Sui-Dhaga, Zero and most recently Chhapaak!

Lets get a sneak peak into her world of prosthetics –

Tell us about your background. Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in the beauty industry?

CW- I’m a makeup artist from England but have been living and working in Mumbai for 7 years. I always loved dressing up, transforming myself as a child and doing make-overs on my friends at school. I never thought of actually being a makeup artist until much later though.

What defines prosthetic makeup and how is it different from what people apply on an everyday basis?

CW- Prosthetic makeup is the application of pre-made silicon/latex pieces that change and distort the face or body.

Which do you like better? Prosthetics or Beauty?

CW- I love that my job allows me to have so much variety in my day to day life. I don’t prefer prosthetics to beauty or vice versa, but I love that doing them both regularly means no two days are the same.

What inspired you to become a prosthetic makeup artist and who is your inspiration?

CW- I’m not inspired by one particular artist, there are lots of people whose work I admire or interesting approaches to a job that I find helpful to my work.

When you first started experimenting with prosthetic makeup did it come to you naturally?

CW- I have a degree in fine art and so understanding color and form is something that I’m well-practiced in. Prosthetics uses all those skills and more so it came naturally to me to some extent.

How did you go about in your journey? Were you formally trained for prosthetic makeup?

CW- I studied prosthetics under Mike Stringer in Leeds. I assisted him in a film in India and stayed back after being offered more work.

If yes, then How do you incorporate the school’s teachings into your work?

CW- When studying prosthetics you learn there are infinite things you can create, so you are taught how all the chemicals work together, how to make good molds, and then the rest is up to your imagination.

How much research goes into the process of making your art?

CW- Each project requires a different research approach. Regardless, there must be a collaboration between me and the director, the costume stylist and the actor, to bring to life the character we collectively envision. An understanding of the limitations of prosthetics is also important, such as how long they can be worn for in extreme heat, how much they move and that they will always add mass to the face.

How do you keep up with the changing trends – the prosthetic makeup industry is just as traditional as it is volatile in its trends?

CW- There are no trends in what prosthetics as such. However, as better products are introduced to the market, different techniques become popular.

What do you think about when involving narrative in your looks?

CW-  Nowadays directors are very aware of how much makeup can not only add to a character but to push a narrative forward or show a character’s internal struggles and arch.

Describe your process in a few words.

CW- In a few words, I would describe my process as follows: collaborative, technical, physical, creative, fulfilling.

How has social media impacted your career?

CW- I’m not very good at social media and I don’t think it’s impacted my career as much as it perhaps could have if I had optimized my platform.

Upcoming projects?

CW- No upcoming projects as yet. Waiting for something exciting to appear. 🙂

What advice do you have for aspiring prosthetic makeup artists who are just starting?

CW- For aspiring prosthetics artists I would recommend they assist someone before investing in expensive courses abroad. The skillset doesn’t come naturally to everyone and it’s also incredibly hard work. I have known many assistants who start with great enthusiasm only to realize a few months in that it wasn’t quite what they thought it would be. Better to know that before you part with your time and money!