We met with Fiona one lovely sunny morning and caught her working from her beautiful farmhouse kitchen, sitting in her favourite spot by the garden. Fiona lives and works in a vibrant village on the edge of Leicestershire. Her brood includes three children, two ponies, two dogs and four chickens.
In between looking after her family she works as a freelance hair inserter implanting the hair on waxwork models. She is currently working on Clint Eastwood for a waxwork museum in Hollywood.
Who or what inspired you to get into this profession?
A tutor at my art college encouraged me to go for a job at Mme Tussauds as a way to get into the BBC on a costume design apprentice. She obviously knew it would suit me. I loved it and stayed there for four years and never did join the BBC.
What are the advantages of being based in a rural area?
Well the fantastic views for a start and I'm able to stable the pony at home so I can tack up and ride her whenever I get a spare hour or two. I work from home so when I need a break I can just step outside, take in the views, listen to the birds and breathe in fresh air.
What are the main challenges of working from a rural home?
The main downside is you can become very isolated and lonely especially in winter.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
7.15am - I feed and water the animals whilst my husband feeds and waters our children
8.30 - Squeeze in a quick walk with the dogs
9.00am - Settle down to work at the kitchen table. I use a special tool called an inserter to poke each strand of hair into the wax skull. I use real human hair and each head takes about 120 hours to produce a full head of hair. If the celebrity I am recreating has highlighted hair I do this by using three different shades of human hair in turn. Sometimes I also have to paint the head with oil paints by using a stippling technique to get the right skin tone. It’s a painstaking job and takes a whole week to complete. Fortunately I only do a few heads a year!
5.00pm - I work all day stopping only briefly for lunch but at 5 o'clock I put my work away for the day and prepare the evening meal.
6.30 - After eating the evening is spent mostly socialising with family or friends before heading to bed at a very sensible time.
What do you think is the secret of success?
Being nice to people and staying in touch with your business network, not that I'm particularly good at this.
Who or what can't you work without?
The radio. I need to listen to music or chatter in the background. I don't have one favourite channel but I like radio 2, 4 and 6.
Would you consider moving to a more urban area in the future?
I would actually, once the children have moved on, probably into a pretty market town. Village life is great when your kids are young but as you get older you need a bit more.
In career terms where would you like to be in five years time?
Oh I have no ambitions. I am quite happy doing my heads from time to time! I also make curtains in between to keep myself busy. But everything I do is really to fit in with my family because they come first. I enjoy the work I do but my children have always been my priority.
What advice would you give to other rural mums thinking of moving into your line of work?
Well my job is very specialised and you would have to train at Tussaud's or take a degree in Theatrical Make-up before you could start so I doubt whether many mums would read this and think I'll do that. What I would say is focus on your talents and try to get a qualification in that field. Then go freelance and take control of when and how you work.
Do you juggle work, family and home?
Are you a working mum in full or part time employment?
Do you work from home or run your own business?
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