GLOW UP: Britain’s Next Make-Up Star is back - and Bradford students have been given an exclusive behind-the -scenes look at what it takes to make it in the industry.

The new series of the hit BBC Three show sees eight talented aspiring make-up artists judged on their creativity and ability to thrive under pressure, in intense professional assignments. Challenges range from pop star-led social campaigns and global gaming body painting, to West End theatre looks and mastering gory TV special effects.

Over the course of six intense weeks, the Ultimate Make-up Artist (MUA) will emerge victorious, securing a contract to assist the world’s leading make-up artists and earning the coveted title of Britain’s Next Make-Up Star.

Make-up, hair and beauty and media students at Keighley College and Bradford College were treated to a preview of the first episode, following its broadcast on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer. Then the students heard from renowned judge and make-up icon Val Garland, series 5 make-up artist Sarah Agbiji and Leah Caffrey, Glow Up’s Series Producer during a Q&A panel.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Producer Leah Caffrey, series 5 make-up artist Sarah Agbiji and judge Val Garland on the Q&A panelProducer Leah Caffrey, series 5 make-up artist Sarah Agbiji and judge Val Garland on the Q&A panel (Image: BBC)

Sarah Agbiji, Glow Up series 5 MUA, led a masterclass titled ‘How to achieve bleach brows without actually bleaching your brows’ and demonstrated her make-up skills on a member of Bradford College staff, Lucina Edden.

The BBC held the outreach events at the two colleges as part of a push for more activity in Bradford ahead of its year as UK City of Culture 2025.

It’s the second BBC show to visit Bradford this year, following Asian Network Certified in February. The broadcaster says more shows will be coming to the city in coming months.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Val Garland, serieLeah Caffrey, Sarah Agbiji and Val Garland at Bradford CollegeVal Garland, serieLeah Caffrey, Sarah Agbiji and Val Garland at Bradford College (Image: BBC)

Says Val Garland: “It feels incredible to be back with another series of Glow Up. More sparkle, more glamour and more fantastic looks - Ding Dong! Our goal as judges is to elevate and encourage each of the make-up artists who participate, so that no matter how far they get in the competition, they end up stronger and more skilled.

“I’ve had such a warm welcome in Bradford - a city so full of energy, personality, and talent - and it’s been great to meet the next generation of passionate young people who are all looking to make their mark.

“I hope that meeting students from the Bradford colleges has given them an insight into not only what goes on behind the scenes but also some of the tools and techniques needed to make it in the beauty industry. Now, it’s time for this group of young artists to find their voices and have a think about the path they want to take. I wish them all the very best.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Leah Caffrey and Val Garland at Keighley College Leah Caffrey and Val Garland at Keighley College (Image: BBC)

Says Sarah Agbiji: “I love how enthusiastic, cheerful and excited the students are! In today’s society, with social media, where you see people making it from such a young age and you’re constantly comparing yourself, seeing people still have that dream and their eyes lighting up is amazing.

“Growing up, make-up wasn’t an industry pushed to me by my parents, so showing these young people there are creative routes that you can chase and succeed in means the world to me. It is possible.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Sarah Agbiji demonstrating her skillsSarah Agbiji demonstrating her skills (Image: BBC)

Adds Sarah: “Participating in Glow Up: Britain’s Next Makeup Star was more than a competition, it was a transformative journey. The show not only showcased my skills to a wider audience, giving my work incredible credibility, but it also instilled in me a newfound confidence that has been pivotal in my career.

“Beyond the glamour and the challenges, I found a community. I’ve made lifelong friends and connected with peers who share my passion. This experience has proven that success isn’t just about winning - it’s about the growth, relationships, and opportunities that continue to shape my professional life.”

Leah Caffrey says the new series of Glow Up is “packed full of talent, tears, ding dongs and diamantes!”

She adds: “Each series we secure the MUA’s incredible opportunities which test them in a multitude of jobs, from West End theatre shows such as SIX the musical, to working on a sneaker campaign for Footlocker and even creating Avatars for Roblox. And. you can’t start bigger than working on a social campaign for Lady Gaga!

“We are super excited to be involved in the outreach event in Bradford, ahead of the City of Culture year. It’s important to directly connect with the next generation, to inspire them to follow their dream career, whether that be in the TV industry, on screen or off.

“TV is multi-faceted, it takes a team of over 100 people to make Glow Up from Casting, through pre-production, filming and then in the edit, and each job is so different yet so crucial in creating what you see on screen. It’s hard work and dedication that get you noticed in this industry and it’s also a lot of fun.”

The Glow Up event was the showstopper in Bradford School of Art’s Cultural Careers Week, aiming to shine a light on cultural industries and the various opportunities available to students.

Throughout the week, students were treated to a bumper schedule of guest experts delivering workshops and talks in their areas of expertise.

Val Garland told the students: “Do whatever brings you joy and if it doesn’t bring you joy, throw it out the door!

“In this college audience, I’m sure there is the next superstar and I want to speak to them!”