Alumni Profile: Katrina Doran
Beauty Writer, Skincare Expert and Make-up Artist for Film and TV
Katrina Doran graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and is currently a beauty writer and make-up artist for Film and TV. Katrina is a pro-aging skincare advocate, acne and rosacea specialist and a self-confessed lover of Dermatology white papers.
Why did you choose Psychology at Queen's?
My brother suffers from Bi-Polar disorder so I had a keen interest in mental health as well as being very observant of human behaviour so it seemed like the perfect fit. My eldest brother studied at University of Ulster and lived around the Queens area so I was always wowed by the Lanyon building as a teenager and the prestige of studying at an iconic university.
How did you transition into your current career?
Psychology is a brilliant basis for any marketing career so I’ve always worked in marketing – if you can understand how people think and behave, then you have a unique insight into how to communicate key messages to them. Identifying markets is the same as identifying groups and understanding their behaviour and how people behave in groups has been invaluable.
I worked as Marketing Director for Stafford Hairdressing for seven and a half years and have been writing about beauty since I graduated – writing the beauty page in the Irish News for nearly ten years - so the beauty side of things as been a constant. My good friend Pamela Smyth, (HOD crowd makeup on Game of Thrones) ran a hair & make up training school called The Make up Dept. specifically for the Film & TV industry – but was so busy with filming she hired me to run the school.
I took a few courses to really understand the customer experience and it turned out I had a bit of flair, so she asked me to help out for a few weeks on a massive battle scene and that was that! I’ve been Pam’s assistant ever since and eventually stepped into the role of Crowd Supervisor for ‘Krypton Season 2’, for the school musical episode of ‘Sex Education 2’ and currently on ‘Dungeons & Dragons’.
What Psychology learning have you applied to your role?
As a Psychology graduate and a makeup artist I’m fascinated by the concept of ‘beauty’. As a child I learned to draw by copying comic book artists which is probably the most idealized representation of the structure of the human body and the essential element is symmetry.
From a purely biological point of view, we are predisposed to be attracted to symmetry - as a sign of high-quality DNA. In nature - symmetrical patterns are the most pleasing to the eye – flowers, leaves, pets and partners! How the eyes perceive and process symmetry, is just another word for beauty. The golden equation is how the brain views symmetry without judgement and translates it into what is ‘pleasing to the eye’. We are programmed to look for that genetic perfection.
Also, managing teams is something only my studies at Queens could have prepared me for. Putting teams together that work well, understanding personalities and why they behave in certain ways, dealing with conflict – and being able to take myself out of situations and see the issues from all sides has been invaluable.
I’m a massive fan of Carl Jung and feel that his teachings have helped me understand myself and others and bring out the best in my team. On a personal note – having taken the Psychopharmacology module meant I was able to help several friends and family dealing with mental health and support them with advice on medication and therapy.
What is the happiest memory of your time with us?
Definitely my graduation day – it was such a wonderful experience with strawberries in the Quad and being able to have my parents there to celebrate.
What advice would you give yourself if you had a time machine back to Level 1?
Ask for help when you need it. I always pushed myself to get things done to the deadline even when things outside my control like computer discs being wiped (remember floppy discs?) happened. I’ve learned from that, but when you’re a student you think it’s the end of the world and it really isn’t!