Judy Craig

Judy Craig, 57


Head of portrait studio, Madame Tussauds


pounds 35,000


Ealing, London

So you're an arty type?

Well it's always been an interest. I taught art in Montreal (my home town), the West Indies and Guyana, and I slipped into sculpture in my early thirties. I followed my son to London - he came to boarding school here - and intended to stay for a year. But my first marriage was drifting apart and I was presented with a choice: return to Canada and teach or take up a sculpting post at Madame Tussauds and separate. Twenty years later I'm still here.

Who were the first people to sit for you?

Geoffrey Howe was the first, then Tom Baker, the actor - he read me poetry. I worked on Nelson Mandela too, which was a nightmare - we'd arranged to meet at Heathrow, where he was changing flights, but his plane was delayed so we had only 19 minutes. There are dozens of measurements to collect and if you miss out just one there will be problems later on. I had to take him into a tiny bathroom to check his eyes against a tray of eyeballs.

What about Maggie?

Yes, of course! If people remain in the public eye we like to remodel them every five years. I saw Margaret Thatcher for her third and fourth times. She was very professional actually. We had problems with the lighting though - Downing Street still had the old-fashioned two-pin electric sockets.

Do you still sculpt?

No, as head of the portrait studio I critique other sculptors' work - I've just made some notes for the person who's working on Mel G - Scary Spice. I keep a check on the exhibits: Tom Jones's skins tones, Shirley Bassey's lips and Whoopi Goldberg's hair. I miss sculpting but there are compensations...

Oh yeah?

... yes, like working with an enthusiastic team who take a pride in their work, seeing them improve.


I get to travel to places I would never see otherwise, like Australia and Amsterdam; I'm off to Singapore soon. Sometimes I transport one of the heads with my hand luggage. It always creates a stir when Sylvester Stallone's features show up on an airport X-ray machine - you get 20 people crowding around and you have to lift it out for everyone to see. I set up exhibitions abroad.

Don't you ever get a break from hanging out with waxworks?

Of course. I still have family in the States and Canada so I regularly go there for my hols.

Any amour to take with you?

I'm married to a man called Jim these days. He's a figurative and abstract sculptor and we live in a terrace house in Ealing, west London, with a workshop and a small studio.

So you even work at home

I mostly paint at home - I'll go back to sculpture when I retire. My son, Scott, has a six-year-old daughter and she's showing artistic tendencies. I'm a firm believer that everyone can draw and paint. You should try it.