Liberty Webb has gone from measuring Daniel Craig’s inside leg on a James Bond movie set to delivering new-born babies in Brighton.
Where once she was the principal costume maker for megastars of the silver screen, she’s now a midwife at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.
As career changes go it’s quite the curveball – more quantum leap than Quantum of Solace.
Liberty, 44, tells us how, and why, she made it.
“I did my degree in Costume and Design and started out working on small budget stage productions. I really wanted to work on films, so I pestered Pinewood Studio’s for long enough for them to give me an opportunity.
“They liked the work I did for them on Troy, and that’s how I became known for my work and for the next 10 years that’s what I did – I was a costume maker for some very well-known people.”
Well known, indeed. Stars like Daniel Craig and Judy Dench. Clive Owen, Kate Blanchett. Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz. Helene Bonham-Carter, Scarlett Johannson, Nicole Kidman.
Films such as the Quantum of Solace and Troy, Alexander, Harry Potter, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Sweeney Todd, Kingdom of Heaven, The Other Boleyn Girl.
“It was a really fun time, very hard work and very demanding but fun too. The whole group costume designers would be like a family, and we would work on all these films and hang out with these superstars on set,” Liberty recalls.
“Mostly it was in film studios in London, although we did get to go to Panama for the Bond film, and it was Daniel Craig’s 40th birthday while we were there, and we all got to go. That was a stand-out memory.”
Liberty even got to meet her husband, Mike, on a film set.
“Mike was a runner on Alexander and I met him on that set, so I have a lot to thank the film world for.”
But she still left it all behind.
“I’d had Oscar, now 14, and was pregnant with Scarlett, so this was around 2011. I just couldn’t do the job anymore, not with two children. So, I decided to go and set my own business up,” said Liberty.
Film director Tim Burton had given her some leftover tweed – you know, as you do! – and she made a poncho from it – and the second part of her career began.
“I made three poncho’s and gave them to a market stall in Clapham to see how they went. They all sold, so from there I began making more and more and had my own business, Liberty Kelly. I worked from my own studio, had a few pop-up shops and did well.”
Liberty still felt there was something missing. She fell out of love with the business, and knew she wanted something else.
“I closed the business down, and decided to move back to Brighton, where I am originally from, in 2019.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do.”
A chance meeting at a friend’s party, set her on her road for the next part of her journey.
“I used to see a friend, who is a midwife, at get together’s every now and then, and I always said that she had the best job. I went to this party, and she was there, and I said the same thing and she said, ‘Why don’t you do it. Why don’t you become one’. I was 40 – I thought, ‘no chance, I’m too old.’ But I did it. I went to the Met in Brighton and became a student midwife – at 40!
“It’s the best decision I ever made. It’s such a privilege to look after women and support them and have a positive influence on their birth stories.
“My first was in 2020 back when the world had stopped but we carried on. Delivering that baby was the most beautiful, amazing, spiritual experience ever- it still gives me goosebumps.”
There’s been 41 more babies since then. With many more to come.
Does Liberty miss the movies at all?
“It sounds all very glamourous, and at times, I guess, it was. But everything I’ve ever done before was a job – this, being a midwife, is a calling.
“I’ve never experienced anything like it before. I feel like I was born to do this.”