Tes FE people of the year: Alana Pignatiello

The make-up lecturer turned her face into that of Boris Johnson and the Queen – and showed the level of skills in FE teaching and remote delivery
31st December 2020, 12:00pm
Tes Reporter

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Tes FE people of the year: Alana Pignatiello

https://www.tes.com/magazine/news/general/tes-fe-people-year-alana-pignatiello
A Make-up Lecturer From Scotland Has Been Recognised As One Of The Tes Fe People Of The Year

When remote learning became the go-to method of education for hundreds of thousands of students, some subjects found the transition easier than others.

Ayrshire College make-up artistry lecturer Alana Pignatiello stands for the thousands of teachers of vocational subjects who had to come up with incredibly innovative ways to make sure their students did not miss out on practical training and close-up learning experiences.

Pignatiello gained national fame in April through her online videos, in which she turned herself into a variety of celebrities including the Queen and Boris Johnson via her make-up skills, gaining the notice of singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi - and then the nation's media.


More: Lewis Capaldi sings the praises of make-up lecturer

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Tes FE people of the year: Musthag Kahin


Her impressive video that showed her transformation into the multi-awardwinning Scottish vocalist led to an expletive-filled tweet from Capaldi himself, who was clearly impressed by the likeness.

"My daughter actually came running in to tell me - there were no words, just utter shock," Pignatiello told Tes at the time.

"About 50 per cent of people love the transformation of Lewis and think that it's amazing, and the other 50 per cent think that it's terrifying, creepy and looks like Susan Boyle - so I might think about doing her and see the difference," she said.

The idea of this approach to teaching actually came from one of her cohort. Students and lecturers at Ayrshire College had already been taking part in make-up challenges every day to keep them focused and busy during lockdown - and when one student suggested that they did NHS-inspired make-up, Pignatiello created her own look and tweeted it out.

Her photograph attracted a lot of attention and this led to a number of other makeovers, with subjects ranging from the nation's PE teacher Joe Wicks to Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon. Each look took Pignatiello about three hours to create.

Her videos have not just been entertaining but a beacon of what vocational learning can look like online - and a timely reminder of the vital work that teachers like her are doing every day.

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