Suzanne Neita

I was in one of the first cohorts on the MA Fashion and Film (now MA Fashion Cultures), starting in the academic year 2008/2009. I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of one of the much coveted Tillman Scholarships. 

As a make-up artist by trade (I did my BA Hair and Make Up for Film and TV - now BA Hair, Make Up and Prosthetics for Performance - at LCF) I am passionate about film. When this particular MA was added to the study programme, I jumped at the opportunity to gain a deeper perspective of the medium and also become more adept at 'reading the moving image'.

The units were well run and organised with a wide range of guest lecturers/speakers such as Professor Stella Bruzzi (Undressing Cinema) and Professor Paul Willemen (Theorising National Cinema). The course director Pamela Church-Gibson is one of the most interesting and inspirational people you are ever likely to meet. All the tutors are seasoned professionals and this came through in the lectures and the assignments that were set. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the freedom the course allowed. This freedom was evident in the final major projects which included a short film, a hand-made costume and a number of dissertations. My final major project, entitled "Hollywood in Colour: The Tragic Mulatto Motif in Classic Hollywood of the 1930's", discussed the incongruity of looking white but being classed as black in a particularly turbulent period of American history.

I was awarded a First, which encouraged me to take my masters topic to the next level and start a PHD at LCF. The title is "Underground Tactics: Invisible Traces of Ethnicity in Classic Hollywood," which discusses actresses such as Rita Hayworth and Carol Channing who were not as 'white' as we were lead to believe, and it will consist of a thesis and a documentary film.

My time on the MA Fashion and Film was a truly life changing experience. I enjoyed numerous collaborations with other MA students, as my skills as a make-up artist were sought after. One of the most important elements of my time on the MA was the support I received from all LCF staff. Overall I gained knowledge, confidence and an even greater love of costume and film.