Award for ex-soldier turned make-up artist
A FORMER British soldier, who swapped tours of Afghanistan to re-train as a make-up artist, has been named as the Association of Colleges’ Higher Education Student of the Year.
Benjie Kusita enrolled on the media make-up with special effects course at Bradford College following a spell in the Army, and after winning the award she is now hoping to forge a professional career in the industry.
She said: “When I was in the Army, we had to run through mud with a 25kg weight in my bag and a rifle over my shoulder.
“The make-up artist isn’t always working on the red carpet, but it is very different to my previous life.
“I really didn’t expect to get this award. I felt so shocked and proud when my name was announced.”
Ms Kusita has already won plaudits from renowned makeup designer Mandy Gold, who has worked on films including Snow White and the Huntsman and Rush.
College tutor Lisa Dawkins, who nominated Ms Kusita, said: “Benjie goes above and beyond what’s expected and she is such an amazing student and person.
“She always went the extra mile regardless of what was going on in her life outside the college. As a student she always wanted to try harder and all her tutors knew that she had to sacrifice a lot to complete her degree.
“While studying she was also supporting her mum in running a Thai therapy massage business, but she never complained about anything. She was a very special student and incredibly deserving of this award.”
Ms Kusita has competed in various competitions and last summer she submitted an entry to Brush Wars in London. Despite being unable to attend the finals of the competition, her work was highly commended by the judges and received wider praise when it was showcased on the organisation’s social media feed.
‘INCREDIBLY DESERVING’: Benjie Kusita has been named the Association of Colleges’ Higher Education Student of the Year.