Sam Brenchley


Where are you based? I live and work in Falmouth and I have modelled at Gorton Studio and on location in Falmouth.

How long have you been modelling at Gorton Studio? Only since September 2014. Some of the models have been working for a lot longer, but I was involved in the first course here in Falmouth. It was good to be involved when it was all new. The students hadn’t yet met Neill, and I didn’t really know who he was! Everybody was like, “Oh I can’t wait to meet Neill!” and I started to realise he was kind of a big deal, in this industry! I’ve done two films here in Falmouth: Dead Zone and Twist of the Knife.

Tell us a bit about your background and life outside of modelling. What does a ‘normal’ day look like to you? I work for a mental health charity, fundraising at Sea Sanctuary in Penryn [the town adjacent to Falmouth]. I haven’t been there for that long, as I’m also a property developer. I’d really love to get into acting more. I’ve applied for extra work on some films, but because I have a fringe and dyed hair it makes me have a distinctive look. So, I couldn’t be an extra on Poldark.

What made you decide to be a model? I saw it advertised in the paper and I just love it, anything like this. In my private life I’m always the one who wants to get dressed up. But the extent of my dressing up is like porridge oats on the face. I did dress up as a zombie once, with oats on my face. When I could get the chance to be around other people who were as excited about it as me, it seemed great.

What do you enjoy about it? I absolutely love everything! I love meeting people. I’ve stayed in touch with the first lady who did my makeup. All of the professionalism. From the film crew to the students. Neill is a really professional teacher. I feel like I’m quite patient.

What does it feel like to wear a lot of prosthetics? It gets really hot under there. The first time I did a life cast I got quite claustrophobic. But Neill is really professional and passes that on to the students. So he’ll tell them “you have to stay on it. Stay on the nose because that’s where they [the model] needs to breathe”. It’s not like you have straws up your nose, so the materials need to be thinner around the nostrils.

You must get to work with loads of different students. Which personality traits make the best makeup artists? In that situation when I had the first life cast, Neill was really reassuring, with his professionalism. He made sure he said, “If you don’t like it under there, if you get claustrophobic, we can get you out in seconds”. I thought I might panic, but I found it reassuring. And actually when the student then did my life cast, she had obviously picked that up from Neill. He told the students to remember to stay with the model. So they keep an arm on you, or keep talking. Quite often you can’t even see, so it’s nice to be reassured like this and I think that remembering your model is a person, not just a blank canvas is really important.

From your perspective, do you think students enjoy the course? There’s usually a great atmosphere and people are impressed with how much they are learning and what they get to do. So I’d say they enjoy it, yeah. They get to make a film, and it’s all done so professionally. It’s like proper Lights! Camera! Action!

Which prosthetic/s have you most enjoyed modelling so far? All of them! For different reasons, they’re different courses. I love zombies! I think the old age one was the most interesting but I love anything I have done here.

If you could get our makeup artists to create any look for you, what would you choose and why? Zombies have always been my favourite! I was a zombie for the last film, and they did all the cheekbones coming out. It looked a bit like my face had melted, and they used contouring to make a scary face. I’d love to be involved in the autopsy. Does that make me sound like a freak?

How do you try to get in character for the part? When I was the old lady, I was given the name Mitzi and so I found it easy to connect with her. She [the student] said you’re a drinker and so, yes, I tried to get in character by holding onto a bottle of wine. It was ridiculous, but it was really funny.

Tell us a funny story about something that has happened when you’ve been modelling for Gorton Studio? I went out once after modelling. Wearing prosthetics. I was like an over exaggerated caricature of an old person. I had a big nose, it could’ve been seen as a drinker’s nose. And my partner and I went up to these girls and they definitely believed in the character. I also saw some of my niece’s friends and they didn’t recognise me. In fact, people treated me completely differently when I was ‘old’.

After filming this week, we got out of the taxi and this guy came down the hill on his bike and he slammed on the brakes. He looked really panicked and said, “I thought you’d been in an accident or something!” That was quite funny.

Do you have any advice for anyone considering modelling for us? Do it! If you’re a friendly and patient person, you will be treated well and have fun!

Finally, if you had the chance to be in any film, whether it’s been made yet or not, what would you choose and why? Back to the Future IV probably. Haha. 


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