A GLANMIRE native landed her dream gig working behind the scenes of the hit TV show the X Factor.
Cliona Sweeney owns Beautique beauty salon in Little Island and was part of the Creative Academy Ireland team helping contestants look their best for the live shows.
Her nail art has featured in an episode of the current series, watched by millions. The mother-of-two said one of the highlights of her experience was going back to the X Factor house where contestants reside for the duration of their stint on the programme.
“One of the contestants, Scarlett, was delayed during rehearsals so we were asked if we could go back to the house. She ordered pizza and shared it with us,” Cliona said.
“All the contestants were there. We could hear them rehearsing Some of them even did shout-outs to our kids. We ended up being there till 11pm.”
According to Cliona, contestants weren’t afraid to be adventurous.
“I asked one of the them, Gio, if I could paint his nails black and he agreed. He confessed to being a bit of a nail-biter so hopefully we will get him out of that habit,” she joked.
She described the important role of nail technicians working behind the scenes.
“People don’t realise how important manicured nails are, but when a performer is holding a microphone this is one of the first things you notice.”
Cliona is no stranger to high profile gigs, having worked on London, Milan, and Paris Fashion Week.
“I’ve done some pretty cool things in my life but this has to be the icing on the cake.”
Cliona’s kids were just as excited about her big break.
“My little girl told everyone at school and the principal announced it at assembly. We watch it together every week at home.”
She described the atmosphere on the night as tense adding:
“There were a lot of last-minute song and wardrobe changes so the atmosphere was quite tense. One of the contestants, Bella was on voice rest so she wasn’t able to talk to us. There were costumes being especially made the night before the show. It was really fascinating to watch.”
Cliona, wasn’t phased by the presence of music mogul and producer of the show, Simon Cowell on set.
“I almost bumped into him at one stage,” she laughed.
“Everyone has a huge amount of respect for him. When he walked into the room you could hear a pin drop.”