Sunday, 6 March 2011

Why Collette Von Tora is Pure Theatre

Collette Von Tora as The Emcee, Hair and Make-up by Sharon Holloway at Vintage Hair Lounge
This weekend I met Bizarre Magazine's Ultra Vixens Winner Collette Von Tora for a Cabaret inspired photoshoot with Southampton local boy  Scott Chalmers, an extraordinary photographer with an eye for the edgy, the theatrical and the sumptous. When Scott first asked me to step in as hair and make-up artist, I wasted no time to get researching the brief. Collette was to be transformed in to The Emcee, John Santos style as per the Cabaret stage production.

John Santos as The Emcee
That in itself required a trawl through YouTube for clandestine footage of John in action. But, in true Scott style, there was a great deal more to be done, because Collette was also going to take on Liza Minnelli's Sally Bowles, in a latex replica of the classic costume. So out came the Cabaret DVD and I watched and I watched and I freeze-framed and I freeze-framed, and finally the make-up was seared in to my mind.

Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles
A full day out of the Vintage Hair Lounge salon was set aside to pitch up in Southampton studios and get to work on a truly spectacular project. Collette was unrelenting in her enthusiasm, her professionalism and her complete ease with the brief and the roles to perform. I could instantly understand how she had inspired Scott, and Scott in return, had inspired her. But as hair and make-up artist, I certainly didn't feel left out, it was a pure three-way creative collaboration throughout which none of us lost any excitement in what we were doing. Collette, regularly described as an alternative fashion model, has a constant stream of intelligently articulated creative ideas and if that's what makes her "alternative" I applaud it and want more of it! More used to working with film actors than fashion models, I have always been more intrigued by their work of creating a character and performing, but Collette's approach to her work falls completely in to that category.

Collette Von Tora as Sally Bowles, Hair and Make-up by Sharon Holloway at Vintage Hair Lounge
It is anticipated that more of this wonderful photo collection will soon be adorning the walls at Vintage Hair Lounge, 118 High Street, Southampton SO14 2AA as an enduring reminder of the power of the silver screen and the big stage to inspire over and over again.

See our retro-pin up mermaid in the Fish! Film Trailer

Photography by Christian Black at and Poster designed by Cassie Leedham at
First taster of the finished film can now be viewed in the online trailer at

Friends of Bettie, who've seen the film in full, are over the moon with ecstatic delight about how good it is, and just swoon with pride every time the gorgeous Francesca Brown (The Girl) appears on screen.

Definitely worth a look!