X Factor make-up artist who painted Gary Lineker for a Walkers Crisps advert is past Suffolk student

Carolyn winning the Suffolk New College make-up competition in 2002.

Carolyn winning the Suffolk New College make-up competition in 2002. - Credit: Archant

From Hadleigh to Hollywood, Carolyn Roper has brushed shoulders with acclaimed actors, sporting legends and pop superstars.

Carolyn at work with Gary Lineker.

Carolyn at work with Gary Lineker. - Credit: Archant

Because the 33-year-old – whose outstanding work features regularly in films, television adverts, music videos, magazines and newspapers – is one of the world’s finest body painters.

The former Suffolk New College student’s intricate designs can take up to eight hours to produce - and the results are outstanding.

“It wasn’t a career I’d ever planned on while I was at college,” said Carolyn, who is originally from Hadleigh but now lives in Kent.

“I was studying beauty therapy but I was always better at the creative aspects rather than things like waxing, so my tutor suggested pursuing a career as a make-up artist.”

A camouflage piece Carolyn produced in the Caribbean for a Belgian travel company.

A camouflage piece Carolyn produced in the Caribbean for a Belgian travel company. - Credit: Archant

Carolyn, who for the fourth year running is working under the renowned Julia Carter as a make-up artist on ITV’s X Factor, founded getmadeup.com in 2003 and has since travelled the world showcasing her talent.

She spent a month in Atlanta, America, working on the movie Dumb and Dumber To, which stars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, after her skills caught the attention of the film’s directors.

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“The movie was amazing, a brilliant experience,” she said.

“I painted the actor Rob Riggle and it was probably the most ambitious body paint I have had to do. The directors showed me a picture of what they wanted and it was a lot of work.

Another example of Carolyn�'s skills

Another example of Carolyn�'s skills - Credit: Archant

“They said they had flown me out as a world expert and said if I didn’t think it could work they would change that part of the movie. But I said I could do it – and then the pressure was on!

“There were no digital effects or CGI – what you see in the film is what I painted.

“While I was over there I got to go to the wrap party, which was great. I remember having this almost out of body experience as I was doing the conga with a load of movie stars and directors.

“I was also invited to the world premiere in LA. Part of being a make-up artist is almost being invisible when you’re on set, so it was a great honour when Rob Riggle was being interviewed on the red carpet and he talked about my work.”

Carolyn has also produced the art featured on the cover of three Biffy Clyro albums and has painted former England footballer Gary Lineker for a Walkers Crisps advert.

Her client list includes SKY TV, BBC, The National Lottery, Vodafone, Warner Bros., Ford, Coca-Cola, NHS and Twentieth Century Fox.

“One of the best opportunities was having the chance to do some work experience with the late, great, Storm Thorgerson, who was responsible for so many iconic album covers, including Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon,” she added.

“The time it takes to body paint varies – anything from three-and-a-half hours upwards. Usually, the more well-known the person you are painting, the less time you have.”

Carolyn’s YouTube channel features stunning timelapse footage of her at work, which reveals her painstaking attention to detail.

“It never occurred to me that it was something you could turn into a career,” she said. “It seemed like an impossible dream.

“A lot of hard work combined with a few strokes of luck has led to a really interesting career. If you want to be successful you have to put the effort in to succeed.

“It’s a very competitive industry, so don’t expect anything to drop into your lap.”