Lancashire's Make-up artist to the stars

PUBLISHED: 10:15 21 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:14 20 February 2013

Claire Hanson with the tools of her trade

Claire Hanson with the tools of her trade

Claire Hanson, the Lancashire lass responsible for ensuring stars look their best, talks to Amanda Griffiths<br/>Main photography by Kirsty Thompson

Claire Hanson has travelled the world as a make-up artist working with a host of celebrities, but she has never managed to get Lancashire out
of her system.

Claire, originally from West Bradford near Clitheroe, is regularly back in her native north west and she says the older she gets, the more she appreciates what the area has to offer.

It doesnt matter where I go in the world, she says, this is my home. Ive seen the most amazing places, then I come back here and see our Lake District, our coast and the hills and realise theres nowhere else in the world like Pendle Hill. Its just breathtaking!

In her career, 35 year-old Claire has worked with many big names including classical artists Andrea Bocelli and Hayley Westenra, TV presenters Fern Cotton and Kirstie Allsopp, writer Joanna Trollope, rock star Jon Bon Jovi and popstars S Club 7.

I worked for S Club 7 for about five years, says Claire. I think in all that time I only had about three weeks off. However, her favourite and perhaps most high profile client is American singer/songwriter Lionel Richie.

After several promotional trips to London where I did his hair and make-up I was asked to go on a three month tour of Europe and the UK with him in a wardrobe/personal assistant capacity. If he did any promotional work for a new single during this time I also did his hair and make-up. Six months after that we did a three week tour of Australia and New Zealand.

It meant I was away from home a lot but Ive had some amazing experiences, including getting picked up by the King and Queen of Jordan in their airbus for a private gig Lionel was performing for them.

Its all a far cry from practising make-up on her mum at the age of 15 back in West Bradford.

She has been amazing, always encouraged me and been behind the decisions Ive made. Im also lucky that my husband was in the film industry and so understands the need to travel in my job.

The other big inspiration in my life was my Grandma. She was an incredible lady, very groomed with polished nails at all times and certainly an inspiration for my mum and I.

She always wanted to know who Id been working with and what Id done for them!

At 16, it was a choice between working with animals or children, smiles Claire, who now has a home in Oxford. I arranged a weeks work experience in a nursery and one at a veterinary centre in Skipton, but I had a bit of a crush on the vet and so ended up just doing that placement.

However, a week later having seen the life of a vet and certainly a veterinary nurse wasnt as glamorous as it sounded, Claire enrolled at Burnley College to get her NNEB nanny qualification and moved down to London for her first job.

I thought I was going to be the next Mary Poppins, but I didnt last that long, she laughs.

Claires big break came when she was introduced to the make-up artist doing the live catwalk shows for The Clothes Show Live, Mary Ellen Lamb. She worked with her on a number of catwalk shows including the Clothes Show Live and London Fashion Week before making the decision to go freelance.

The film industry wasnt quick enough for me so I decided Id rather go into the fashion and music industry instead.

Ive had a great time doing the celebrity work and will continue doing it, but now at the age of 35 Im trying to do something positive and give something back, she says.

This she is doing by working with individual or small groups of ladies who have suffered from disease or long term illness like cancer.

A lot of the ladies Im working with thought their life was coming to an end but because theyve beaten their illness, cancer for example, they now realise its just beginning, she says. These treatments do change skin and hair types I give them advice on what products they should be using and how to apply them to help them look and feel great.

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