One half of the partnership responsible for creating the best on-set tool belt in the film industry today, Georgia Lockhart-Adams has been working as a makeup and hair artist in film for almost two decades. She’s a woman of many talents, and not only commands a fierce work ethic but also utilises her skills in business with the extremely successful brand Linear Standby Belts. LSB was born out of necessity while Georgia and fellow artist Cath McGuire were working on The Hobbit in 2012.
Georgia had never thought about a career in film makeup. It wasn’t until she was thrown into the thick of it that she knew this was the career for her. “As soon as I stepped into the crowd tent on Lord of The Rings to work on 400 extras alongside so many other artists, I knew this was the job for me!”
What inspired you to pursue a career in hair and makeup?
“Hairdressing had been my after-school job from the age of fourteen but I always had an interest in makeup too. I loved the idea of the complete look. At sixteen I heard through a friend of a friend about a makeup diploma. It was an introduction to straight makeup, theatre, basic prosthetics, period, ageing etc. I knew I had to apply. After school I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try and get into fashion/editorial or film but the opportunity arose to try my hand in film.”
How did you get started? What was your first job?
“After finishing my makeup course I worked full time in a hair salon and was aware that Lord of The Rings was filming in NZ. I found out who to contact through a family friend and sent my resume in. After a little persistence on my part they responded but I had to be willing to move to Wellington, or wait until they came to the South Island in a few months. I took the later option and joined a ‘wig workshop’ that was held for a few of us in Christchurch. I was incredibly fortunate to attend this workshop and learn the ropes on some of the finest wigs in the world by Peter Owen. In hindsight it was a critical moment in my career.
I was given two weeks of work just outside of Christchurch, which turned into four months full time in Wellington to assist Peter King. The whole experience was extraordinary. I fell in love with it all very quickly and was very inspired by all the senior artists.”
What’s been your favourite experience so far?
“Going to amazing locations has been a highlight of my career so far. Berlin, Tokyo, Shanghai, London, L.A, San Francisco, not to mention all the beautiful locations in Australia and my home country New Zealand! I have been dropped on top of mountains in a chopper, left at uninhabited islands by boat and have stood in the middle of thousands of people whilst filming in Harajuku, Tokyo. The contrast of these experiences is always mind-blowing. However, there is also an awful lot of time spent in cold dark studios surrounded by green screens as well!”
It’s the friendships, support and good times with the people you are working with that create such wonderful experiences.
How did you and Cath MacGuire start Linear Standby Belts?
“Linear Standby Belts was born in 2013 when my friend Cath Macguire and I were working on The Hobbit. We didn’t want a traditional over shoulder style bag after I had some issues on a previous job with my shoulder. We decided to head off to Bunnings to buy a tool belt. We found a builders belt which had two large pockets, it felt great to work in but wasn’t that practical as every time you ran onto set or bent down or forward, something would fall out. I also didn’t like having brushes exposed. We were heading on location around the South Island for a couple of months and knew we needed something that was shower proof and that zipped up. We also wanted to customise something that would be a little more suited to hair and makeup artists. We sent our designs away to a local NZ bag maker and had prototypes made!”
What made you want to create such a unique product?
“The thing that got me thinking about a padded belt system was something that I had learned years earlier whilst on a hike in NZ. I had put on my massive back pack and the guide came around checking that we had done it correctly. He said “ the straps should be almost loose on your shoulders and the belt around your waist should be very tight. The hips are designed to carry weight, not shoulders!” It made so much sense.
We designed it so that it could work in conjunction with your large over shoulder bag that most people take to set, you wear the belt onto set and leave your large bag near a makeup station or cast chair etc for when you need to do more work than a quick touch up during final checks.
The concept was for the system be like two large pockets that you could easily reach into and grab just the necessities on set. I wanted to be able to work with ease with both hands free. I couldn’t handle clutching actor bags under my arm pits or digging around in an full bag whilst the crew were waiting.”
What are you most proud of?
“I get so excited every time I see anyone wearing LSB! Every time I walk on set and see my colleagues working from their belts, I feel so happy that they love it as much as I do. I’m so proud that it’s selling all over the world. It has come out of an idea from two makeup artists wanting to make their day easier by working in comfort. If I can make anyone’s life easier or more comfortable while standing on set for 15 hours a day then my job is done!”
Georgia and Cath’s custom designed and patented belts are now sold worldwide, with some of the best artists in the business raving about it. It’s made by artists for artists, thanks to Georgia’s experience and journey as a film makeup artist. However, she truly believes that the learning never stops.
Listening and using initiative is so important. We are always surrounded by amazing artists and designers, and there is so much to learn all the time. Stay true to yourself, be confident and remember we can’t all do everything! It’s okay to say you don’t know how to do something and to then be taught from those around you. We are constantly learning from each other!