Having applied for Glow Up every year since the Series 2 casting announcement, Saphron was successful for this year’s fifth series, which aired on BBC Three and iPlayer and has a future release on Netflix, with one of her favourite weeks being Drag week with drag queen Trixie Mattel. With Saphron making the Final alongside Axel, Keiran and Roo, she was eventually announced as the winner by judges Val Garland and Dominic Skinner, and she recently attended the National Reality TV Awards, where Glow Up won Best Fashion & Makeup Show, with Saphron collecting the award with her fellow finalists. It has been announced that Glow Up will be doing a live show (Glow Up Live) this October at The London Palladium, and Saphron will be in attendance as a special guest alongside Val and Dom, as well as other Glow Up alumni. We recently spoke to Saphron about how she felt being announced as the winner of the fifth series of Glow Up this year, collecting the award for Best Fashion & Makeup Show at the National Reality TV Awards and being a special guest for Glow Up Live at The London Palladium in October.
Earlier this year, you were a contestant on Series 5 of Glow Up, how much did you know about the show before applying and was there anything that drew you to be a contestant?
I started applying for Glow Up when Season 2 casting was announced. After enjoying Season 1 so much, I wanted to push myself to apply for the show to challenge my work and I’ve actually been applying consistently since then. It’s going to be weird not having to apply for Season 6. I knew it would be a difficult experience but I wanted a challenge and I proved that I can do more than I thought when I got cast for Season 5. I do think this was my year though! I managed to still have lots of fun and do well at showing my skills, which was my main goal.
How did you feel finding out you’d be part of Series 5 and how did you prepare for filming?
There was a part of me that was like: ‘FINALLYYY’, but also I was in disbelief because it’s been a long time coming! I remember being equally excited and also worried about what might come from this experience. I rewatched all the seasons, trying to put myself in their shoes and how I would react to criticism, being filmed, public speaking etc. I probably shouldn’t have analysed the shows too much because it did cause a lot of anxiety, so it came to a point where I stopped that and just worked on making sure I was in a good headspace ready to be my most creative self. I took time off work and went out with my family to fill up the anxious wait to when we started filming. I think taking time to reset on my own helped the most to prepare. For years I’ve been practising makeup and watching the show, so I think I did the most I could at preparing in that sense so I just had to calm my nerves for the rest and trust myself.
How was it meeting the rest of the MUAs for the first time?
The first person I met at the Glow Up house was Wez! We got there early and ran around the whole house as it was beautiful and we were freaking out that we were actually there. Meeting everyone was so lovely and we all got along together really well. I remember the first day at the house we had our food delivered and we all accidentally got too much so we had to get through so much food that night 😂. It was a great start to the experience though as it felt like a little celebration party.
Can you tell us what it was like receiving feedback from judges Val Garland and Dominic Skinner, and did you have a favourite episode to film?
I remember going up to get judged every episode being super nerve-racking, even if you think you did well you never know how the judges are going to interpret your work. Luckily, I was very well-received for the first two episodes. But I remember getting my first lot of criticism from Val and Dom for my Sagittarius centaur look and feeling a bit down that I didn’t perform to standard. But all of the critiques are constructive and are there to help you become a better makeup artist. And I think after that point, my creative briefs got better and better. My favourite episode (as was a lot of ours) was Drag week! Mainly because we got to meet the ICON Trixie Mattel! But also because I did very well that episode and Ana Tomical is, I think, my favourite look from my time at Glow Up! She will be back. 😉
What was it like being a finalist on Glow Up and how was it being announced as the winner of Series 5?
I was so happy to have experienced all the challenges as a finalist, and to be announced as the winner of Season 5 was just the cherry on top! I’m very grateful to have had such a great experience on the show and I am so proud of myself for pushing myself. I’m also just so happy that all the cast are so supportive of each other, we all really helped each other out during the process! It would have been even harder without that support.
How did you find the experience being a contestant on a TV reality competition and what do you feel you’ve learnt from your time on the show?
The strangest thing about being on a reality TV show was being filmed! It took some time getting used to but soon you sometimes forgot they were there and I appreciate looking back on the show as it encapsulates such a big part of my career. Plus, I have bad memory so it’s nice to go back to remember aspects, haha! I definitely learnt that I am much more capable than I give myself credit for! I managed to do things I never thought I’d be able to do well, for example, the final masterclass.
What advice would you give a makeup artist hoping to apply for a future series of Glow Up?
My advice would be like many told me: be yourself. Try and stay confident in yourself and your work. If you get chosen to be on the show, it was your time and you’re meant to be there! And if you don’t, it’s just not your time yet. I look back at the stages I was when I was applying and realise I am more confident and capable now than I was even a year ago. You improve every year, even if it’s just little steps, so if you still want to apply, don’t let others stop you! I think it’s a fantastic experience to really push you out of your comfort zone and to challenge your art. It is stressful but it was also the most fun I’ve had! Take it easy.
It’s been announced that you are on the line-up for Glow Up Live at The London Palladium in October, what are you looking forward to for the event and why would you recommend booking tickets?
Yes, I have been announced as one of the special guests for Glow Up Live! This has not happened before so I think that reason alone would be a great excuse to get yourself a ticket and see what it’s all about. If you’re like me, who’s obsessed with makeup, then I’m sure you will love it! There are so many talented Glow Up alumni showcasing their work on stage, and Val and Dom will be there too! Hope to see you there!
Glow Up recently won Best Fashion & Makeup Show at the National Reality TV Awards, how was it attending the ceremony and collecting the award alongside your fellow finalists Axel, Keiran and Roo?
Glow Up was nominated for and won the National Reality Television Award for the Best Fashion & Makeup Show 2023! It was incredible to be there with my fellow finalists and friends to accept the award on behalf of everyone that worked on Glow Up. They have made an amazing show, which I have been a big fan of from the start and continue to be! So honoured to also be a part of it!
Where does your love of makeup come from and how did you get into it?
I started off with a big interest in art, creating paintings, sculptures and other crafts since I was little. In sixth form, I studied mainly art subjects but felt stuck when I had to choose a career path once it was coming to an end. I remember seeing a poster in my art class with all the possible careers you can have from an art background and being a makeup artist was one of them. This was the point where I realised that being a makeup artist could be a good career for me since I have enjoyed creating makeups for Halloween and did fun looks on myself. I found it intriguing to change my art to the human body, rather than just drawing figures (which was my main thing). I applied for uni as soon as this happened and, after, my family was very encouraging of this. Since uni, I haven’t stopped enjoying creating hair and makeup looks and now I see it as a full time career.
Is there anything you enjoy most about being a makeup artist and do you have any current favourite products to use?
I love to transform people, whether you’re just having fun creating creatures or doing beauty makeup that makes someone feel comfortable and confident. I love that it can change people. I also just love seeing my art move and I get very inspired by people and different forms of beauty. My current favourite product is the Danessa Myricks Lightwork IV Transcendence multichrome pigment Palette! I am currently obsessed with using them as a topper over lipsticks for my editorial shoots! So easy to use and creates such interesting textures and colours with its multichrome pigment. And personally for me, I am loving the ILIA Multi-Stick for blush. At the moment, I only have the shade Whisper, but I aim to get a collection!
Were there any makeup artists who inspired you when starting out in the industry and how has your makeup process changed over the years?
Alex Box is an artist who really inspired me in my makeup career to play around with unusual materials and to create sculptural makeup looks. I love the more unusual ways to use makeup and Alex is so innovative and inspiring for me. Their makeup style mixes my love for art and sculpture with makeup. Over the years, I think I’ve just been inspired to be more experimental with makeup, using different materials and being inspired by everything around me.
How long do you typically spend working on your makeup designs and have you had a favourite look you’ve created?
For my social media makeup looks, I would usually take anywhere from two to seven hours for a makeup look, I like to make them huge, so I do have to make time for these big looks. For work, it can vary depending on the style of makeup, but I usually like to give myself an hour for the majority of looks. I consider myself to be pretty quick at work but when I’m home doing content I like to take my time 😃. I have a few favourite looks, Ana Tomical being one of them! Another being my final major project at uni, which was a prosthetics Troll look I did. There are a lot of looks I like of my own, all in different ways, so you can see them all on my Instagram! @saph.art
How do you like to spend your free time?
I like to spend my free time hanging out with my partner. I like to take walks in my local little forest when I need time away from social media. I love to do Aerial fitness and work on my flexibility as I’ve always loved gymnastics and the circus as a kid, unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to do this recently! I also have a cat called Wispa, who I love to chill at home with and watch Netflix/YouTube to wind down after a busy day. My family and I like to go on yearly camping trips too, which are lovely. But also in my free time I like to play around with makeup, since it is my hobby as well as my job. 😃
What are you hoping the rest of the year brings for you?
I’m hoping the rest of the year will bring me fun opportunities with my career! Both in the industry and on social media. I want to be able to work full time. I want to continue to have fun with my job and I hope that excitement never goes. I will be doing my first fashion week job this year and that was a big goal of mine this year so I’m looking forward to that! I’m just very excited for what the future will bring and I’m even more excited to see Glow Up on Netflix!
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