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Relatively Speaking: Game of Thrones make-up artist Pamela and art director husband Mark

By Karen Ireland

Published 13/01/2016

Creative pair: Mark Lowry and Pamela Smyth
Creative pair: Mark Lowry and Pamela Smyth

Pamela Smyth is chief make-up artist on TV's Game of Thrones while her husband Mark Lowry is an art director on the hit HBO show. They live in Crawfordsburn with sons, Lex (12) and Myles (11).

Name: Pamela Smyth

Age: 49

Occupation: Make-up artist

Relationship to Mark: Wife

After I left school, I became a make-up artist, though I actually got into the profession by accident. Initially I worked as a hair model but would end up doing all the other girls make-up at shows. I really enjoyed it and kept getting asked back to do more shows so I decided to do a beauty course.

As my career took off, I did further training at Pinewood Studios where I learned about special effects and film make-up. Soon I was getting asked to work on films and television programmes - that proved a fantastic opportunity.

I suppose you could say that I am an eternal student as I am always taking new courses. It is, however, important to stay ahead in this industry so you need to constantly want to learn new things.

As well as being a student, I also teach - I have a make-up school called the Make-up Department.

My youngest son Myles (11) has Asperger's Syndrome and I've also studied psychology. Learning more about the condition has enabled us to help him cope.

My husband Mark works as an art director and we met when we were both working on a film called, Korea, in Dublin.

I thought he was gorgeous but he seemed quiet and very involved in his work. I just assumed nothing would happen but at the end of the film he asked me out - and we have been together ever since.

We got married in 1998 and renewed our vows in a special ceremony in 2008. We hope to do the same in 2018 for our 20th anniversary, with the boys there.

Mark is a very strong character. When you meet him for the first time he tends to be quiet and seems shy but once you get to know him he is very chatty and friendly.

There is no nonsense with Mark, he only says things he means, so you always know where you stand with him.

We've just finished working together on the sixth series of Game of Thrones. Still, when I say 'working together', the reality is that we were lucky with our schedules if we got to see each other at breakfast. The two of us have worked on the show from the start and it does take up a huge chunk of our lives. I work longer hours than Mark, as I am in charge of all the make-up teams and have to oversee the look of all the 14,000 extras.

Mark is brilliant at home, though. When I am busy he really looks after the boys and me, doing all the cooking and shopping."

Name: Mark Lowry

Age: 47

Occupation: Art director, film and television

Relationship to Pamela: Husband

I grew up in Dublin and studied film at college there - fortunately, I've worked in films and television ever since.

As an art director I am in charge of set design and how a show looks. In recent years I've spent a lot of my time working on Game of Thrones which is fantastic and I love it.

The budget for the show enables them to do amazing things. We get to be very creative and the sets and special effects are spectacular.

My family are my main priority in life, though, and things revolve around Pamela and our two boys. She works long hours, so I try to help out at home as much as possible.

When I first saw Pamela I was working on a film set - I thought she was gorgeous but well out of my league.

She was very glamorous and head of the make-up department, while I was a lowly artist on the set. I thought she wouldn't even look at me - but I was wrong and we ended up going out.

We were on a four-week holiday to America when I proposed to Pamela. The time felt right and I decided to ask her in my apartment one night. But when I started talking to her Pamela actually thought I was dumping her so it was a complete shock to her when I asked her to marry me.

Pamela has so much energy and is always doing something. She works on films, runs a business, teaches and sorts the family out. She is so talented and works hard to keep at the top of her game. She even designed our dream home and was the project manager on the whole job which was a mammoth task.

When we're not working, we enjoy having time out together as a couple to go travelling - this year we're going to Boston for five days, just the two of us. Sometimes when we go out we have to bring her contact book with us, but that's just something I have to live with, as she needs to be able to keep in touch with people to make all the things in her life run smoothly."

Face to face with celebrities

  • Pamela has worked with celebrities including James Franco, Elliott Gould, Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan
  • She was born in east Belfast where she was a pupil at Orangefield School
  • Dad Sandy worked for Ford Motors and mum, Lorna worked part-time in a shop as well as bringing up Pamela and sister Valerie
  • The make-up artist's first commercial job was for a Northern Ireland Railways TV advertisement

Belfast Telegraph

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