Dawn Cragg: “I believe in treating people the way I would like to be treated myself.”

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At the age of sixteen I became a pre-nursing student at The Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, England, UK.

My commitment to nursing only lasted for six months. Why? Because I was fortunate enough to be placed in The McIndoe Wing which was for patients who had suffered very deep burns and serious facial disfigurements, such as loss of the mouth, eyelids and eyebrows as well as discolouration or uneven texture of the skin.

I noticed that each morning around two hours before her normal shift a certain nurse would arrive carrying what seemed to be a rather large handbag. I also noticed that the gentlemen on the ward would smile (those who could, of course) as soon as they saw the nurse approaching. Intrigued, I went in early one morning to find out for myself what was going on. What I saw changed my life and my career forever. The nurse would open her very large bag, take out her own makeup and draw eyebrows, lips on the patient’s faces; she tried to colour-match their skin with foundation and to correct any obvious disfigurement doing whatever she could.

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That was it. This was exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My career was going to be (and still is) helping people of all ages, nationalities and gender to feel more comfortable with their appearance. After a few months I started training as a makeup artist. My experience covered every aspect of the subject including the use of camouflage creams, film, television and stage makeup, special effects makeup, prosthetics, wig making and wig dressing, and all aspects of beauty therapy.

After many years of experience in the industry I completed a teacher training course and then opened the Dawn Cragg International Colleges of makeup, special effects, hairdressing and wig making. It became world famous. Steven Spielberg sent a member of his staff over to be trained, and Alyn Waterman, another former student, is now Joan Collins’ makeup artist and hairdresser.

During this time, I wanted to do something more permanent for those who were not comfortable with their appearance, so I exchanged some of my makeup brushes for needles…


You can read the full article with Dawn Cragg in PMU International Magazine # 3.

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