A Laois man has reached the TV finals of Glow Up - the search for Britain's Next Make-Up Star!
James MacInerney is the first, and so far only, Irish person to make the broadcast final episodes. The winner of the show gets to assist alongside the leading world's makeup artists, in addition to the overall coverage providing massive opportunities for all 10 contestants.
The ten-episode series is hosted by Stacy Dooley and will first be aired on BBC iPlayer from tonight, Thursday. Most of us in Laois (and Ireland) can't access the BBC iPlayer but don't worry, Glow Up will be available to binge watch on Netflix in July!
By then we will (hopefully) be celebrating with the Abbeyleix native!
James is originally from Abbeyleix and spent six enjoyable years as a boarder in Kilkenny College. He told the Leinster Express he has fond memories of his time there, and spent most of his time in the art department.
However it was a few years before James found his way into the make-up industry. He had an interest in make-up from his teenage years, but even ten years ago, he says, that wasn't something you broadcast. He went on to college to study multimedia in DCU, but in Dublin his discovery of drag and involvement wit the LGBT community gave him to push to do a diploma in make-up at VanityX Makeup Academy. That course included movie special effects make-up.
From there a serendipitous path took him to this fledgeling front-of-camera career! He did work experience on Amy Huberman's Finding Joy TV show where he hit it off with the head of make-up department, who invited him across to the UK for work. James got a place to do work experience on the popular Horrible Histories TV show which turned into a full-time job. He describes the job as being thrown in at the deep end - actors had four or five character changes a day - but a wonderful on-the-job training.
James said he loves Ireland, and is enjoying being at home at the moment for an extended lockdown stay, but the career opportunites are better in the UK so he decided to stay on there. It worked out as he got work on Aisling Bee's This Way Up. There was a real family atmosphere on set - very real because Aisling is his cousin and her sister was the show's costume designer.
Glow Up season one was filmed while James was at work on those shows and when it was aired he was hooked from the very first episode.
Thousands applied to take part in season two - and James is among just ten people chosen for the finals!
He says it's a show full of creativity. The make-up artists (MUAs) are put through real life challenges from the fashion industry, like creating a red carpet look for a star, West End make-up and other creative challenges.
Every week the weakest contestant goes home.
The show was recorded before the pandemic lockdown - but James wasn't giving away any hints about how he fares in the show or who the winner might be!
He's really looking forward to seeing the show air, tonight. "It's really special for me to be the first, and only, Irish contestant on the show. It gave me great encouragement."
The show will be aired on the BBC iPlayer every Thursday at 7pm (tell all your cousins in the UK!) and worldwide on Netflix from July.
Good luck James!