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Bridget Foster
Rob Greig

Quit your job, become a... wig maker

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Bridget Foster, 49, team leader at the Royal Ballet

What does a wig maker do?

'I manage and look after the team of hair and make-up technicians at the Royal Opera House. The wigs, make-up and hair of the dancers at the Royal Ballet are our responsibility. I'll give each member of my team various characters to look after and make sure they have everything they need. The only time I get to do hair and make-up myself is if someone calls in sick.'

Does the job require more than􀀀 just a steady hand?

'You also really need a massive knowledge of the history of make-up. The type of look we do varies massively, depending on the ballet we're doing and the time period it's in.'

How did you get into wigging out?

'I've always known I wanted to work in hair and make-up. I went to college and trained as a hairdresser and beauty therapist, and then I'd only been out of college for six months when a vacancy came up to work in the workroom on a variety of jobs. It wasn't a formal apprenticeship to start with, but that's what it was like. About six months later I was working on shows, and I've worked my way up since then.'

What's your favourite show?

'Probably "The Nutcracker", which is what we're working on now and have been since June. It's so pretty, and there are a lot of wigs. But it's been overwhelming at times, and it's seemed like an endless process.'

Do you get bored of seeing the same show?

'No, I absolutely love seeing the shows! Thereís nothing like watching the curtain go back and seeing what the team has produced. It always looks special, but I have to be quite critical. The ballet management will give feedback if something doesnít look right in rehearsals. Sometimes weíll only get two rehearsals so thereís no time for big changes or disagreement.'

How much do you work with the dancers?

'We test and practise on each other. It's not fair on them if we need to get a certain hairstyle right - they have busy schedules and they'd be sitting around getting cold. We go to them when all the tweaking is done and we have the final look ready.'

Hours: 48hrs p/w

Starting salary: Around £32,000 p/a

Qualifications: Anything from a BTec level 3 up to a degree

Interview by Jessica Brown

Or why not become a guardsman?

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