WHOEVER the final winner is on RTÉ’s Glow Up Ireland, Cork contestant Jade Foley already feels like she’s come out on top, as the experience has changed her forever, for the better.
The 20-year-old has won viewers over as much with her artistic skills as her searing honesty since the show launched, and Jade admits she’s both thrilled and shocked to be in the semi-final of the reality TV show, which airs tomorrow night.
She’s also the last female contestant, and the young woman from Knocknaheeny said, while it was the hardest thing she has ever done, it was also the best.
“I won’t beat around the bush, it was very difficult. I literally went from doing make-up at home in my bedroom to doing it on TV, with thousands looking on,” she said.
The cameras were something she got used to very fast, not surprisingly, with filming taking place every day, and any initial nerves were quick to settle.
Jade’s social media experience stood to her: “TV was actually easier in that respect as you were being directed, instead of having to direct yourself; but you did have to think about everything you said. I’m only 20, and I definitely didn’t say everything right but you live and learn.”
When not filming, the contestants all stayed together in a house, an aspect that Jade enjoyed but also found challenging.
“I was actually extremely homesick at times and all I wanted was to hug my dog Snowball and annoy my mam – the things I’m used to doing every day! As an only child, living with the others in the house gave me a good understanding of what it’s like to share space. We all did have our own bedrooms, which I think was because of Covid, but whatever the reason, I was delighted!”
Jade has spoken out honestly about her past mental health struggles, social anxiety and panic attacks. As a person of colour, she has also experienced racial bullying.
“I did feel some of that inner saboteur creeping back in during the competition. There were definitely some nights when I felt that I wasn’t enough, or that I didn’t have enough ideas, or wouldn’t be able to think on the spot.
“But the rest of the cast were so caring and reassuring, saying that they were 10 years old older, and with more life experience and were still finding it difficult, which really helped.”
That said, there were nights when Jade needed alone time and would go to her room to listen to music or some positive affirmation videos.
“You know yourself better than anyone, so I had to be careful to focus on myself, and take care of myself.”
But it’s the laughs she shared with the other contestants which is her high point of the whole Glow Up experience.
Winning the Charlotte Tilbury challenge in a recent episode was anther good take-away memory, but Jade said winning has never been her driving force on the show.
“If it had, I think I’d have put too much pressure on myself. I just had the mind-set to do my best, make the most of the days, acknowledge I could be sent home at any moment and savour the moments.”
In a previous interview she told The Echo how she felt the strength of her beloved late Nana and best friend Noreen with her on the show. That probably explains why viewers were so taken with her creative makeover of herself in a recent episode, to honour her Nana and others who died from cancer.
“I felt that if I got sent home that week, there would have been a positive, and I would have been remembering Nana in the good moments. I remember her eating cotton candy on her death bed and joking with me not to even think about touching it!
“As a young girl, to see someone with so much strength, showed me that laughter is the best medicine. That’s why I embodied her strength in that week’s look. My Nana is a big part of why I even felt strong enough to be in the show.”
As the show was filmed in recent months,it’s back to normal life in Cork for Jade for now. For the next few weeks she is busy playing catch-up with her beauty therapist course at the Cork Training Centre before she finishes there at the end of the month, and after that she’s hoping to get a position in a salon.
After her experience on the show, which changed her completely as a person, she feels far better equipped to start on that journey.
“Without a doubt I came out a very different person to the one who went in. When I started I was on edge a lot, very anxious and worried about everything. At the beginning I cried a lot about things, and was stressed to the max.
“But as the weeks went by I started to feel confident in myself and how I could handle different situations. I think I mellowed and learned how to control my emotions, matured I suppose. I feel much calmer now.
“And that’s my win from all of this – becoming the person I am today.”
MORE ABOUT TOMORROW NIGHT’S SEMI-FINAL
Six make-up artists have packed their make up kits and been eliminated from the show. Only four MUAs remain. The stakes are high and the headpieces in this week’s episode are even higher!
The four semi-finalists are assigned avant garde headpieces by Cork designer Paul MacSpecial and must complete bold make up looks to compliment the daring headwear.
The MUAs will be judged by a guest judge who knows exactly what the Glow Up experience is like - James Mac
was a finalist on the second series of the UK version of Glow Up.
The winner’s look will appear in a Sunday newspaper magazine the weekend before the finale airs.
The challenge winner will also receive a one-on-one masterclass from former finalist James on how to excel in the remaining challenges.
For the creative challenge, the MUAs are given a brief to create a look entitled ‘Beauty In The Eye of the Beholder’ - to create a look focusing on the eyes that gives us an insight into their true character.
Who will make it to the finale?
The semi final airs on Thursday October 14, 9.30pm, RTÉ2
MORE ABOUT THE SHOW
Glow Up Ireland, presented by TV star, model and influencer Maura Higgins, got underway on RTÉ2 on September 2, for eight weeks. Ten of Ireland’s best amateur make-up artists (MUAs) have been are challenged in a range of assignments where they have been showing off their technical know-how, skill, artistry and imagination. They are being tasked week in, week out, with creating amazing make-up transformations at Glow Up HQ. One of the ten will be crowned Ireland’s Next Make-Up Star and will win a fantastic opportunity to further their professional career.