Christina Grant - MHSA TO NYC TO STEVEN SPIELBERG!
Milwaukee High School of the Arts
When Christina was asked in September, 2019, what she was working on, she stated that she had just "wrapped-up" on set with the crew for the feature film, West Side Story directed by Steven Spielberg. When asked if she could share the wonderful details, she said, "because it has not yet been released, I can only tell you that it is scheduled to open in December of 2020. Let's just say that I was a member of the make-up crew." She spoke of Spielberg like he was a household name and it became evident that her journey from the Milwaukee High School of the Arts to Broadway, made it so!
Christina Grant graduated from the Milwaukee High School of the Arts in 1997 as a theatre major- with an emphasis in acting. She had many interests, but specifically in sound design, directing and stage make-up. On top of being in various productions at MHSA, Christina worked as a sound technician for most of the productions at school. She was President of the National Honor Society and was on the Forensics team, which won city and state championships during her time there. She was a Rexnord scholar and played varsity tennis doubles on the MHSA team.
My first 'real' make-up class was at MHSA. I was so well-versed in stage make-up, that by the time I graduated from MHSA and entered the University of Evansville, I was assistant teaching the make-up class my freshman year. As a high school student, I had an interest in many aspects of theatre and production. "My instructors at MHSA really nurtured my interests. I never felt like I was being told that I could only do one thing. I felt that my ever-shifting goals were supported by the faculty and by the time I was a senior, I had a resume and a portfolio -I knew how to prepare an audition and I knew how to present myself to the working world. This prep put me ahead of many of my peers in college and even in grad school. I loved my time at MHSA. I had competent teachers who really cared about the subjects and the students they were teaching. They wanted us to succeed and they laid the groundwork for that success. I felt challenged academically and artistically! One of the biggest lessons that I learned while at MHSA was to take risks and to not be afraid of failure. I think about that often as I work in the entertainment business - a business ripe with risk and failure."
Christina is currently a professional union make-up artist in NYC. She spent the first 10 years of her time in New York working on Broadway doing both hair and make-up. Shows that she has worked on include Beauty and the Beast, Wicked, The Lion King (pictured right), and Shrek:The Musical, (pictured above) Christina has also worked Saturday Night Live, Broad City, Orange is the New Black , and this Fall will be coming back as the 'Make-Up Department Head' for Season 4 of Search Party on HBO.
If I had a chance to talk to the students at MHSA today, I would tell them to step out of their comfort zone! "Don't be afraid to fail. Failing isn't as scary as you may think - and once you realize that the world isn't going to end, it won't be as scary to take the risk. Don't focus on what other people are doing. Do it for yourself! Try to understand why others are succeeding and you are not. Don't complain! Learn! Learning is a life-long endeavor. I learn new things about my job and the business everyday."
I would tell my fellow alumni to support MPS, MHSA, and all students in general. Every student is inspired and learns differently - but they need our support. And PLEASE, don't underestimate the value and importance of arts in our schools. My academic teachers were creative. Their subjects were interesting and fun and almost always relatable for artistic-minded students. There are many ways to approach educating our young people - teach them to think outside the box.
Milwaukee High School of the Arts Friends - https://www.facebook.com/groups/213626622439412/
MHSA Alumni Association: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2000989299935602/
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