Meet the St Albans monster making who beat Hollywood rivals to win competition
A mother of two has come up trumps after leaving her day job to pursue her dream career.
Bianca Judd, 41, of Bernard’s Heath, St Albans, was a teaching assistant when she decided to quit her day job and take a course in special effects make-up.
Taken with her new career path, and returning to Gorton Studios, where she took her course the previous year, Bianca decided to submit a creature she had made to a worldwide competition run by the Stan Winston school in LA.
Much to her surprise, Bianca beat more than 600 entries to win the top accolade for her creature ‘Shrump’.
She said: “I went back to help out at the school and the pupils were all talking about this competition. I wasn’t going to enter and then I thought, why not? If they can, I can’.
“Then I had a friend message me on Facebook saying congratulations, and I told her that I had only submitted it, and that’s when she told me ‘no you’ve won it’. I was so shocked, I couldn’t believe it!”.
Growing up in the North of England, Bianca had always wanted to pursue prosthetic make-up, but didn’t have the opportunities available to her.
She said: “All of the places I could train were too far away so I did a diploma in performing arts.”
Bianca went on to work in theatre for many years before moving to St Albans six years ago.
She said: “When we moved I found it really difficult to re-establish myself as a freelancer so I set up an after school drama club in my child’s school [Bernard’s Heath].
“They had a vacancy for a teaching assistant so I decided to do that and stayed for four years.”
It wasn’t until Bianca visited the Harry Potter Experience in Leavesden that she had an epiphany.
She said: “I was blown away by the costumes, sets and creatures and I had a moment when I realised if I don’t do this with my life now, I never will. My husband encouraged me to find a course and give up my job.”
She went on to take a Life Sculpture course at the University of Hertfordshire, and later on completed a specialist make-up and prosthetics course at Gorton Studios, the training school for prosthetic make up company Millennium FX.
Bianca added: “I loved the course and felt totally at home in the busy workshop. For my final project I decided to make a creature puppet, Shrump.
“Since childhood I have loved films such as Labyrinth and Dark Crystal. I was also inspired by woodland walks with my two children and pug dog Spud. Shrump resembles Spud a little!”
Following her win, Bianca will spend August helping owner of Gorton Studios, Neil Gorton, with his youth summer school. In September she will begin working for the St Albans-based Youth People’s Puppet Theatre.