The Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave recently wrapped up for 2016, attracting supporters from all around Australia to shave or colour their hair.
We chatted to the make-up artist and Bartercard member who creates the eccentric chin characters and has added miniature to the diverse set of skills under her belt.
Suzi Dent is a Gold Coast-based hair, make-up and special effects (SFX) artist whose experience spans creating zombies and gore in television commercials, to making brides look beautiful on their special day.
Suzi has been the artist for the World’s Greatest Shave since it came to life in 2008, where for weeks starting every October, she down-sizes everything to work in miniature.
“I was approached by a creative agency to bring the chin concept to life eight years ago and each year it keeps evolving,” said Suzi.
“This year the campaign broke new ground by turning the chins into full-bodied characters which required a whole new set of logistics not just in designing and creating the tiny clothing and accessories, but using SFX to make them look realistic.”
The World’s Greatest Shave is the Leukaemia Foundation’s biggest appeal which has created a wave of support for combating blood cancer.
Since launching, thousands of participants have shaved or coloured their hair to raise dollars which have been poured into research and services to support patients and their families Australia-wide.
The campaign has sky rocketed the Leukaemia Foundation’s reach, largely thanks to Suzi’s extraordinary efforts.
Suzi has created a mixed bag of tiny characters in her eight year stretch as a miniature artist including the Queen, Gordon Ramsay, Bear Grylls, an Instagram model and even a choir of chins singing to raise support.
“It’s always the most challenging yet rewarding job of year but it’s also my favourite because it pushes the limits creatively and inspires people to do something significant,” said Suzi.
Suzi hand-makes and assembles every miniature wig, outfit and accessory, typically pouring 300-400 hours in the weeks leading up to each campaign shoot with the help of a personal assistant.
“Creating the miniature characters is a painstakingly detailed task because everything is blown up in magazines and on big screen TVs, so anything out of place really stands out,” she said.
Suzi’s experience in makeup, hair and SFX has seen her working with Australia’s entertainment elite, in television and fashion magazines, creating beautiful faces for special events, television appearances, photoshoots and terrifying effects for Fright Night at Movie World.
She's worked with a host of corporate clients, sporting stars, former prime ministers (she was lucky enough get Bob Hawke camera-ready), actors, models and celebrities, recently including the Real Housewives of Melbourne in Byron Bay.
But she said her biggest achievement is World’s Greatest Shave.
“Getting sponsored to shave your hair is an extraordinary way to help people with leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma, so why not sacrifice some hair and be part of the community drive to help others face their daily challenges,” said Suzi.
Suzi joined Bartercard 11 years ago when she started her first cosmetics business.
“I used Bartercard to build a customer base, and while I sold the business some time ago to go back to working in TV, I still do essential oils on Bartercard as a way to cover some of my cash costs. Starting with my first business, I use Bartercard whenever I need printing or photography, something done to my website, and accommodation when I’ve travelled in Australia and overseas. I love Bartercard and I love to spend - whenever I need something, I always see if I can buy it on barter first.”
When she’s not working in miniature or creating a new look for TV, Suzi teaches SFX which sees her showing blood and gore techniques to students.
Being a make-up artist is certainly diverse,” she said.
“I always get my creative fix and you won’t get two days the same.”
The World’s Greatest Shave recently wrapped up another successful year, finishing up last weekend.
Suzi recently landed coverage in the paper and on the news for the flair she adds to the industry. You can see her in action on Nine News here.