A big thank you to Joanita Louw for answering our questions
1. What is it exactly that you do? Currently I am a Prosthetics Technician Intern at Ottobock in the silicone department. My focus is in cosmetic hands and fingers, custom silicone liners, and partial feet.
2. How did you discover the field of anaplastology? I came across Anaplastology when my studies in Advanced Special Effects Makeup Prosthetics Props and Puppetry came to a close and I had to start looking into finding work.
3. What attracted you the most to that profession? It was everything I was already doing but more focused into helping people. Everything in the film industry is about creativity and that is where I live. I absolutely love being creative and Anaplastology took the skills I had as a Special Effects Technician and as a Makeup Artist and combined it into a beautiful job where you got the chance to help people face the world again. Right now I still get to do this even though I am not an Anaplastologist. It is as if I am doing it but my work is not focussed on the face but on the extremities.
4. Does it require additional education or specialized training? If so where did you receive it? To become an Anaplastologist you do need a lot of specialized training and they take very few students each year. John Hopkins School of Medicine has an Anaplastology program that takes you through the clinical and technical parts of Anaplastology. It seems like a very well rounded program but you need an extensive portfolio and you do need a degree. I have also heard about a school in London that is exceptional as well however I have not looked into it myself. As for what I do, I do not have a degree (yet) but I have the diploma, the one you are working towards right now. However one of the reasons I also got the job at Ottobock was my creative background in film in which I have a certificate in Artfundementals, a diploma in Cosmetics Techniques and Management and then of course a certificate in Advanced Special Effects Makeup Prosthetics Props and Puppetry.
5. If someone wanted to pursue a career similar to yours, how would they go about doing that? Get your diploma. It is surprising how employers will go out of their way to train you if you are willing to learn and are easy and fun to work with. The diploma offered in the P&O program does open up that door for you to get in. You just have to be smart enough to take advantage of the opportunities. I don't think I would ever have had the privilege to work for Ottobock if I had not done my student placement at their facility.
6. What sort of challenges do you face daily? Messing up projects happens, but it is essential that you keep a level head and stay confident. Don't be a Debbie downer, learn from your mistakes, be proactive to fix it, and keep trying to create the highest quality work possible.
7. Is there more area for growth within the field? If so, what is the next step? Personally, there is always growth within any field. I think it takes patience to invest the allotted time needed to develop the fabricator’s finesse to actually be great. So take the time to develop your skills. Right now I am focusing on getting my technical registration since the job market for Anaplastologists are horrific, and that is putting it politely. Then I will go into getting a degree part time. Only then would I consider applying for the program in Baltimore. I think with the work I am doing in silicone right now will give me a fantastic portfolio for applying.
8. What can one expect for an hourly wage? If you do not wish to answer this question, simply answer N/A. I actually do not know how much anaplastologists make.
9. What is the work-life balance like? How many hours a week do you work? At Ottobock I work Monday to Friday from 8 - 4:30 (pretty fantastic). For Anaplastologist, I have heard it’s fairly similar, however because they work with surgeons, surgeries are sometimes scheduled at odd times and this will affect their schedule. But form what I have heard it’s fairly easy going.
10. If you have anything else you'd like the share, please let us know. The more information we receive the better! So I am not an Anaplastologist; what I do is very entry level and it is prosthetic related. Anaplastologist focus on the face and hopefully I will one day get to do that.
For more information on anaplastology, you can check out my website