Old-school glamour inspires newfound ambition

Old-school glamour inspires newfound ambition

Julie Podbery styles the hair of Sarah Hashemi at a wedding fair held at the Fallowfields Country House Hotel in Southmoor. Pictures: OX62906 Mark Hemsworth

Julie Podbery, centre, with Sarah Hashemi, left, and Jolene Cox.

First published in News Witney Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Twiggy have brought show-stopping glamour to Julie Podbery’s life.

The 41-year-old’s specialism is creating vintage hair and make-up looks from the 1930s to the 1960s.

She worked her magic on TV stars from Emmerdale and Hollyoaks when they appeared at the British Soap Awards ceremony earlier this year.

More recently, she did hair and make-up for presenters of the Celebrity Antique Road Trip, to be screened next month.

At the Goodwood Vintage Revival Festival in the summer, she was in demand creating vintage looks.

Now, she has been shortlisted in wedding website hitched.co.uk’s breakthrough awards for new talent.

Ms Podbery, who lives in Witney with husband Jem, is training in special-effects makeup and says her ambition is to work on TV dramas like Downton Abbey and Casualty.

Unable to find anyone to do both her hair and make-up while planning her wedding, which took place last year, she realised she had spotted a gap in the market She explained: “There are a lot of hairdressers out there and plenty of make-up artists, but not many who offer both services.”

Ms Podbery went to Chipping Norton School, then on to Abingdon & Witney College to study A-Level English and secretarial skills.

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She spent 10 years working for Thames Valley Police in firearms licensing, then on the IT help desk.

A hair-styling course at Oxford & Cherwell Valley college was followed by time at MAC Cosmetics in Oxford’s Debenhams department store which taught her all about make-up.

Then she moved to Debenhams in Witney’s Marriotts Walk shopping centre to work with Clarins on its skincare range before setting up her own business.

Her first brush with professional make-overs was with Smart Photography in Long Hanborough.

Then she was asked to prepare models for a vintage calendar in aid of a breast cancer charity.

“We replicated Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Twiggy,” she explained.

“I found I had a bit of a flair for it.

“Now, I’m following my passion in life, doing something I love.”

Back in the 1930s, 40s or 50s, it took hours and hours to get the glamorous look but Ms Podbery uses modern appliances such as heated rollers, tongs and straighteners.

Flawless skin, glossy lips and lashes complete the look.

She added: “Thanks to the recent movie The Great Gatsby, a lot of the dresses around now have elements of the 1920s or 30s.”

Most of her day-to-day business is doing hair and make-up for weddings and she has four bookings for December.

She said: “I have 35 weddings booked for next year already.

“That’s not bad for my second year in business.”

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