Who are you?
I am Melissa Croft and I am a Twitch streamer and body painter!
How did you come up with the name MCroft07?
MCroft07 originally came from my Xbox Gamertag. I wanted something that incorporated my favourite franchise (Tomb Raider) but was still unique to me. I also wanted it to be more gender neutral, I personally just like the idea of it not being obvious whether I am male or female. The 07 literally came from nowhere, I just thought it was a cool number, haha! I thought a number in my name would make it more ownable and here I am.
How did you get into bodypainting, and how long have you been doing it?
This one is tricky to answer because I’ve been doing it on and off for around eight years but have been taking it more seriously over the past two or three. I was always the one who was a little bit “extra” at fancy dress parties because I felt like the makeup was just as important as the outfit. I’ve always seen make-up as something which is expressive and not a chore so using it as a creative tool was the next natural step for me.
The thing that then really kicked it off was when I had a leavers day at the IB. Two friends and I dressed as Thing 1, Thing 2 and the Cat in the Hat. To me, it was very important that we had a Whoville nose but I couldn’t find one anywhere! I decided to make one and started teaching myself online. This led to me playing with the materials afterwards and slowly I started to build a fascination with it.
Favourite bodypainting you’ve done so far?
There are a few. Lady Mechanika, Poison Ivy, Viper and Starfire. These are where I pushed myself a lot and felt like I really grew as an artist.
How do you choose which ones you’re going to do?
Sometimes I need to find a character with less prop work so I can work on other things during the week. But mostly I sift through my suggestions tab in my discord or I look through my Marvel/DC Encyclopedias and find characters to fall in love with. I have a very long list of characters to paint and I am slowly working my way through them. Other characters which require a lot of prop work take more time, but I am always working on them in the background. So some nights after I come home from work I will sit and assemble a headpiece for Star Sapphire then I will paint her 2 weeks later. I’m quite organic with my choices, I just paint whatever I feel like that week because it produces better results than scripting them all.
How long does it usually take for you to complete a single project?
A whole paint job can range from 9-19 hours, not including the preparation and prop building. I’ll spend the whole day painting, and sometimes will paint 1-3 hours before going live on twitch. This ensures that I abide by the ToS and helps me to sketch and plan the paint. Certain paints are more technical and detailed, like Lady Mechanika and will take a long time. However, paints which are simpler tend to be the quicker ones.
How are you able to do such detailed work on yourself? It looks difficult.
It might look difficult, but it is all practise. I think at the beginning it is hard to wrap your head around painting something on yourself while looking in a mirror, but it is just the same as applying makeup.
How do you prevent wardrobe malfunctions while working?
Wardrobe malfunctions will not happen. The pasties used are fabric stickers and are stuck on which are pretty secure anyway. This is then covered with 8-9 layers of liquid latex which adheres like a second skin, securing the pastie in place as well as covering the chest. This is then dusted with talc and finally painted over.
Do you have any advice for people wanting to get into bodypainting?
Yes, start with the face and chest first. It is very exciting to want to get into the whole body, but there are some basic techniques which you need to master first. These include understanding facial/body structure and how to manipulate them as well as just understanding how to cover large areas with paint and wrapping your head around painting backwards in a mirror.
If you want to add anything else to the body, I always recommend researching how to properly adhere things to the skin, and what is skin safe.
What’s the bodypainting community like?
It’s really supportive. I have always found that people assume it will be a very salty and competitive place, but the vast majority of people I have met are incredible and kind. We always help each other out from instagram engagement to inspiration and techniques.
What resources do you think bodypainters should be taking advantage of?
Social media. It’s difficult, and I have definitely not mastered it, but it is important as an aspiring artist to get your work out there for people to see and learn from. I also think people don’t take enough advantage of Youtube tutorials. I have used these for years to understand not only body painting and makeup, but also to watch drawing classes where they talk about body anatomy. This really helped to improve my work.
With the body painting needing a fair degree of skin showing, do you get much negative or unwanted attention from it?
I don’t usually have that many “trolls” in my channel. Most people see that what I’m doing isn’t sexualised, more cosplay. However I have had a share of individuals give unwanted attention. This is where my moderators come in, they filter out a lot of the negative comments for me and for my community. I appreciate them so much. There are some out there that will only ever see body painting as sexualised content. I can’t change their minds and it isn’t my job to. I prefer to let my work speak for itself.
Has it affected your journey on Twitch?
I think so. I hadn’t seen that many bodypainters on Twitch and so I anticipated a slow growth really. I was surprised that I joined at the time many other established individuals had, but it also allowed me to meet so many other new artists too. My account grew very quickly and I am inspired to keep growing as an artist and streamer for my community.
You have a really welcome and friendly community. How were you able to foster that as you were growing on the Twitch platform?
My moderators filter it out. I have a painfully strict chat. Automod will pick up a lot of content, but I mostly just permanently ban anyone who is rude. I try my best not to respond to all of the trolls. In some cases I do think I need to improve on this, because self defense is very inherent, but I can just let them get bored and leave which also works.
Have you considered doing non-bodypainting content on Twitch?
Yes, I want to. I would like to play some games on Twitch but always keep body painting as my core content. It’s good to show variety and to spend time with your audience doing other things too. I think this can create more of a connection with your community.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to grow on Twitch?
Grow all of your social platforms because you’re going to increase your chances of people coming across your stream. I also think that it’s good to really immerse yourself into the community, I enjoy spending time in other streams. For me, I always raid after a stream because I love to bring a happy surprise to an unsuspecting streamer. It’s nice to share your community with others!
If you could have a single superpower, what would it be and why?
I have had a LOT of time to think about this one. I would love to have Domino’s probability powers and be supernaturally lucky. It would definitely make my life much easier. Haha!
Have you bingewatched any shows recently? If so, what have they been?
Unfortunately, I don’t have any time to watch TV. I also barely play games anymore, hence why I think it would be good to play them on Twitch. I work a full time job, and after I finish work at 6pm, I go to the gym, then work on my social media until 1am and go to sleep. At the weekend’s I’m doing the actual painting and usually catching up on chores.
If you could live in one franchise, what would it be and why?
Good question! I think maybe the DC Universe. I’d want to be an Amazon though!
Are there any streamers or bodypainters you think deserve more attention/coverage?
Definitely all the girls in the Hypnotica collective. These include Jordan Hanz, Djarii, NsomniaksDream and OFlora. We also have a discord full of artists who all love creating and streaming. There are far too many to count though, including all my friends on instagram, I could be listing for days!