We were delighted to be approached by the producers of Glow Up – a BBC Three series about the make-up industry, which uncovers the very niche and often misunderstood job of a successful, professional MUA. Ten contestants go head-to-head on creative and technical challenges, all under the watchful eyes of judges Val Garland (Global Make-Up Director for L’Oreal Paris) and Dominic Skinner (Senior Global Artist for MAC). The prize at stake: a contract assisting some of the world’s biggest make-up artists. We were given the opportunity to consult on this show, starting with the early judging of potential contestants here at Delamar Academy, recommending guest judges from our huge pool of industry contacts, creating make-up challenge concepts, supplying materials, kit and even our graduates as production assistants.
Episode one aired on BBC One (6th March 2019 @ 10.35pm) and it saw the contestants meet their judges and undertake the first challenge: a beauty editorial. This is no simple task, even for the most experienced artists, because unlike other make-up professionals in the industry, these contestants are working with a kit and brushes that are not their own. It’s possible that the contestants were familiar with some of the products, but it’s a big ask to hand someone a kit that they have never used before. The second reason why this was a very difficult task, was that the contestants did not have the opportunity for a quick camera test towards the end of their make-up. When you are working on a beauty editorial, the model is always put in front of the camera for a few “test” shots of the make-up. At this point the photography assistant will zoom in on the skin and details of the make-up so the artist can make any necessary adjustments.
Val’s critique “where is the beauty?” was brilliant, and she brought to light a question at the centre of every beauty editorial; whatever the brief, this is an issue that make-up artists must show an intricate understanding of – beauty.
The top three make-ups were very well executed and we loved the feedback, especially from Val. Paige was a deserving winner of the first and second challenge as she had a creative imagination, good taste and a healthy amount of confidence to execute her looks without the arrogance that let some other contestants down.
What we really appreciated about this show was that anyone watching will quickly understand how specialist, difficult and skilled the job of a make-up artist actually is. The production values of this series are seriously slick! We related to Paige, as her mum wanted her to become a doctor; a common struggle for make-up artists is how people outside the creative industries can often be unsupportive of this career path. This lack of support usually comes from a lack of knowledge, which Glow Up will hopefully change. It was also interesting to watch a group of people who had more experience putting Instagram-style make-up on their own faces, than working on a model/actor/performer, for a professional result. This made for fascinating watching.
The next episode sees the contestants working in the film industry with a visit to the Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studios. Our long-time graduate Nick Dudman designed the make-up on all the Harry Potter films, so these films are close to our heart. Delamar Academy tutor Jennifer Drew made the prosthetic pieces that the contestants apply and paint in episode 2. We also recommended Oscar winning David Malinowski to the producers as a specialist judge for this round.
Check in next week to read our low down on the second episode of Glow Up, which is available on BBC Three via iPlayer on Wednesday 13th March and will also air on BBC One at 10.35pm