Deena dreams of TV and film after Special Effects Make-up degree

The image is a side view of Deena, who is using plaster to mould a human head.

Three years ago, Deena Nasser didn’t have UCEN Manchester down as her first choice for progression after college. But an open day visit and a chat with our tutors soon changed her mind.

Fast forward three years and Deena is graduating with a 2:1 in her BA (Hons) Special Effects Make-up Artistry degree, with a dream career in TV and film beckoning. 

We spoke to Deena about her time at UCEN Manchester, from a Covid-challenged first year to “the best year I’ve ever had.”

Why did you want to come to UCEN Manchester?

I came here to an open day here and I absolutely fell in love. Originally, I didn't want to come to UCEN Manchester because I thought it was just a Hair and Make-up course, which I’d had enough of doing in college. But when I came to the open day, the tutors explained that we would work with wigs and full prosthetic make-up. I just absolutely fell in love and I was interested to experiment with new and different things.

What did you make of the facilities when you came on the open day?

In college, I didn’t do any prosthetic make-up and there were never any workshops. When I came on the open day, I was shown an actual workshop and it was a different environment, different materials, different equipment that I would be able to use and that was interesting.

Your first year or so was affected by Covid-19. What difficulties did you face?

Due to social distancing, a lot of us weren’t in the same class and we couldn’t work on models a lot. Gradually, we were able to bring models in and work on them more, which we couldn’t in the first year. We weren’t able to do a lot of special effects in the first year.

In the second year, it gradually changed. We were able to bring models in and more workshops were open to us, so things improved as we got back to normal.

I absolutely loved third year. We moved into the new building with massive workshops, which have more equipment and more products to use.

We were able to collaborate with people on other courses like photography, fashion and film. We’re all in the same building which is so nice.

I’ve met lots of film makers, photographers and people working in fashion. I’m able to produce something so big in this building, and I’m connecting and networking a lot more. It’s just so nice to get along with other students and tutors.

You finished third year with an exhibition. How did you find preparing for that?

It was stressful but worth every moment. It was really good and I had a lot of support. The new building inspired me to produce wherever I want. That’s why I enjoyed this year so much. The tutors would let us make whatever we want. 

I’m so proud of myself. I went all out this year. I wanted to produce something real. I love realism and I wanted to produce that. I also did a character design, which was a witch. I wanted to create two different characters; one to represent TV and film and another one to represent medical, which I want to work in. I have a dream of creating fake bodies and things like that; that’s what I really want to do. I’ve got skills to do both.

Now that you’ve graduated, what’s next?

It’s so upsetting to leave. I wish my final year could have lasted two years. If you’re thinking about coming to UCEN Manchester in September I would say “do it” because it’s the best year I’ve ever had. The modules, the course, and the other students and tutors; we’re like a family. So, whoever joins in September, I know you’ll enjoy it!

I'm hoping to get a job soon working in medical. TV and film would be a dream but I know it will take me a couple of years. Right now, I'm going get my name known in medical and hopefully get my dream job.

What would you say to anybody who's thinking of enrolling at UCEN Manchester?

Honestly, do it. It's so much fun. You'll do all sorts of things. It's just been a pleasure to meet everyone. I’ve never experienced so much in my life and I've never been so confident before. Now I feel like doors are open for me. 

Do you want to follow in Deena's footsteps? Learn more about Special Effects Make-up courses in our School of Art, Media and Make-up, and find out how to apply.