Glow up – The Final

Glow up – The Final

The 8th and final episode of Glow Up sees the remaining three contestants fighting for a prize of winning a year-long contract working as a professional make-up artist. But first they’ll have to overcome their biggest professional brief to date… 

Guest judge Rankin is a world-renowned photographer who has captured portraits of some of the world’s most recognisable and influential people – Madonna, David Bowie, Adele, Idris Elba, Kate Moss and The Queen, to name but a few. This week he is photographing supermodel Leomie Anderson for an editorial in one of fashion’s most prestigious magazines – Hunger. The final three MUAs have been booked to create makeup looks for the shoot.


Each must plan, pitch and then produce a unique makeup look which meets the approval of Rankin, Leomie, and Hunger magazine’s fashion director Kim Howells. The stakes are high: if Rankin is happy with the MUA’s final makeup looks, the final shots will feature in the magazine. But will all three finalists be able to keep cool and deliver under the watchful eye of one of the world’s best-known photographers?

We loved watching this round for many reasons; firstly, our graduates have worked in Rankin’s studio on a Werewolf Editorial for Hunger Magazine last year. Secondly, fashion editorial shoots are where make-up artists are put under the spotlight, free from any rules or set client brief, you can find out a lot about a make-up artist through their editorial work.


Leigh’s personality and confidence really shone as he explained his idea to Rankin. Leomie was a great sport giving Leigh the support and help when he figured out her skin tone match for foundation. Being colour blind, this is his hardest challenge.

Interestingly, Ellis who has the most confidence to execute bold looks seemed to be experiencing stage fright before walking into the shoot. Watching his ideas receive a damp reaction was almost as awkward as watching him think he jabbed Leomie in the eye with a brush, but it turned out to be an eyelash in her eye. We were on the edge of our seats! Ellis kept on patting his sweaty forehead with tissue and we didn’t know how this would turn out. Thankfully he turned it around and created a look that Rankin and Leomie absolutely loved.

Rankin even remarked, “Seriously it’s iconic”. Judge Dominic had tears in his eyes.


Next up was Nikki, who played it very safe and didn’t wow with her ideas. After an underwhelming reaction, Nikki did a low-key make-up look that took too long.

“It’s pretty but it’s not exciting enough” Rankin summed up Nikki’s work.

After lots of interventions from Val and the team, Nikki finally amped up the look to create a much stronger effect with clumpy blue lashes printing all over the eye. The result was nice but the process was very revealing about how Nikki would work in the industry. Yes, she excelled under pressure, but she needed handholding.

The next day in Glow Up HQ the MUAs took on their final creative brief: they had to create a futuristic make-up, which told the story of their hopes and dreams for the future. As it’s the final, the MUAs will start the brief on equal footing, with no red chairs. And this week, there are no models. Instead, they must create future defining looks on their own faces.

Sadly Leigh did not deliver in this round. He disappointed with a beautiful but underwhelming look depicting a piece of paper on his face with “to be continued” written across it. Ellis created the strongest design showing technical skill and artistry in his bold, colourful look. We were really pleased to see Nikki go outside of her comfort zone and finish on time!


Dominic’s feedback to Ellis was great, describing how his work was so good it looked digital and not like make-up at all.


Deservingly, Ellis won the final and we could not be happier for him! This series of challenges tested his creativity, timing, execution, ability to follow and brief and work outside his comfort zone.


It has been fantastic to watch Glow Up over the past 8 weeks and we look forward to hearing about Ellis’s make-up career.


We were very proud industry Consultants on this BBC series, and feel strongly that the make-up industry deserves this spotlight. Thank you to Wall to Wall for choosing us to work with them and taking on board many of our ideas and using our recommended industry contacts in the show.


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