The former Game of Thrones wig and make-up expert will also train the film industry’s crew at her studio in Newtownards
At the age of 72, Patricia Strong has started a new company at Ards Business Hub to train new screen industry workers and provide wigs for people affected by hair loss.
The hairstylist and makeup artist who has worked in the hair and wigs department on Game of Thrones and many other major productions, founded Patricia Strong Creatives, which brings together courses for the next generation of hair and makeup artists to provide wigs to people who want their… Have lost hair due to chemotherapy or alopecia.
The new company has opened a studio at the Ards Business Hub headquarters at Sketrick House in Newtownards.
She explained: “Ards Business Hub is just 10 minutes from my home in Greyabbey and offers a great location and studio space. It is very peaceful and tranquil and means my hair loss clients have a very private and tranquil environment to visit when they are coping with the condition of hair loss from chemotherapy, alopecia or age related. The studio ensures total confidentiality, there is on-site parking and the services offered by Ards Business Hub are exceptional. My clients’ feedback on the studio has been very encouraging.”
Nichola Lockhart, Managing Director of Ards Business Hub, said: “It’s incredible that Patricia is starting a new business at an age when most people have long since retired. She is a phenomenal businesswoman and a great example of the dedication and energy it takes to thrive in the film and television industry. It is so good that she is passing on her knowledge and experience to a new generation while her work as a supplier of wigs for people with hair loss is inspirational.”
Born and raised in Comber, Patricia began her career at the age of 13 with a Saturday job at a local hair salon and after leaving school began her training as a hairdresser at 14. During this apprenticeship, Patricia was taught the creative art of wigs, which involved making, cutting and styling wigs
After completing her apprenticeship, she opened her first salon in Comber aged just 18 and will be celebrating 60 years in business in 2023.
She continued, “As my hairdressing clientele grew and my Comber salon became a success, a client asked me if I could provide her mother with a wig while she was undergoing chemotherapy. My reputation for working with wigs grew through word of mouth and I became known as ‘the wig lady’.”
Patricia’s career has spanned the theater and she has worked on many productions at the Grand Opera House with companies such as The Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Company The Really Useful Group and was Resident Wig & Make-up Artist for Castleward Opera for 5 years.
Her skills and expertise in wigs, hair and makeup, Patricia’s talents led her into the film industry in RoI where she has worked on many productions such as Laws of Attraction with Pierce Brosnan and Julieanne Moore and King Arthur with Kiera Knightly & Ray Winstone worked.
When the film industry exploded in NI with the launch of Game of Thrones, there were very few people in the industry with the skills and knowledge of wigs and for the next five years Patricia was busy working on both Game of Thrones and Dracula Untold to work. The Lost City of Z, Mrs Wilson, Krypton, Silverpoint and many more.
Patricia said: “I love working in the film industry and the reason I started my own training academy was because during Game of Thrones season 3 I realized that in NI there wasn’t that many people with the skills and knowledge of wigs To work on large productions, crew members had to be brought in from England and Ireland. I started offering training because I thought we had a lot of talent at NI who wanted to find employment in the film industry, they just needed to be educated.”
Many of the people she trained are now working on film and television productions in NI so she has helped build a good pool of local expertise.
Courses can last from one to three days and include areas such as hair styling and styling for long hair, an introduction to wigs and postiche for film and television. Make-up courses and cutting courses.
In addition to courses for the industry, she offers short evening courses for people with hair loss on choosing the right wig, caring for the wig, tips and tricks on skin care and make-up. Classes are designed to be fun and informal and light refreshments will be offered to participants.
“When they lose their hair during their trip, many women lose confidence. This class is designed to help build that confidence and help them feel comfortable. Looking good, feeling good is my belief,” she added.