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You Glow, girl! Glow Up Ireland hopeful Carol Knox hopes to encourage others to follow their dreams

Mum Carol Knox is among the MUAs hoping for a brush with success on Glow Up Ireland

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Carol Knox from Kilkenny city.

Carol Knox from Kilkenny city.

Carol Knox from Kilkenny city.

Glow Up Ireland hopeful Carol Knox can't wait to see the first episode of RTÉ's brand new reality TV show on Thursday night - mostly because it'll be a break from Peppa Pig and Roblox.

The mum-of-two from Kilkenny city is one of 10 contestants battling it out to be crowned Ireland's next make-up star on the Irish version of the hit BBC formula, hosted by Maura Higgins.

In truth, she jokes: "Oh Jesus, I will be looking at it through cracked fingers.

"Listening to my own voice and then watching myself, I'm like, 'good Christ, no!' I'm nervous but, at the same time, I'm looking forward to it. My son Jack (8) will probably watch it - I want to see his reaction when he sees his mammy on telly. Phoebe, who's two-and-a-half, hopefully will be asleep."

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Glow Up Ireland. Photograph: Ruth Medjber

Glow Up Ireland. Photograph: Ruth Medjber

Glow Up Ireland. Photograph: Ruth Medjber

Former childcare professional Carol only returned to her first love of make-up artistry, specifically prosthetic make-up, after sharing one of her amazing transformations on TikTok during the third lockdown in March.

Now the 44-year-old is hoping to do enough to wow judges Cathyanne MacAllister and Emma O'Byrne during a string of creative challenges, after picking up her brushes once more as a form of self-care during her first pregnancy.

"I started doing make-up as therapy for myself," explains Carol, who shares her work on @muckmakeup on TikTok.

"I was made redundant the day before my maternity leave with Jack. I had suffered from mental health [problems] - the pregnancy had brought on depression and anxiety. Jack came along and then it hit me again really, really hard.

"I used to go in to the local theatre group and help out a little bit and it kind of took off from there. Then, having Phoebe and the lockdown, it's been a couple of years."

When an MUA pal tagged her in the social media shout-out for contestants, amateur Carol nonetheless seized the opportunity to quite literally highlight her talents on her favourite programme.

"Normally, I'm the type of person that would completely run the opposite direction to anything like that," she admits. "But something in my head went, 'You watch Glow Up, you love it, just send an email and find out'.

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"I got an application form back and, before I knew it, filled it out and sent it off again, and I just rolled with it.

"It's a totally different environment from being at home," Carol adds of filming for the competition. "You're under so much pressure. This panic kind of takes over and you kind of forget things."

And she praises former Love Island sensation Maura for helping to put the contestants at ease: "She was lovely. During challenges, she encourages people, so if you're having a hard time, she'll come over and she'll give you a bit of a pep talk. She's very down-to-earth - like what you see, I think with her, is what you get."

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Maura Higgins

Maura Higgins

Maura Higgins

Although she can't say how she fares on the show, ahead of tonight's debut, Carol hopes that her participation alone will inspire other 40-something mums not to abandon their dreams.

"When you reach a certain age, you feel that you can't follow your dreams," she admits.

"When I finished school in the 1990s, I wasn't allowed to do make-up. Twenty years later, I'm still chasing the same dream. The message I would like to get across is, it doesn't matter what age you are, if it's something that burns in your gut, just go for it."

  • Glow Up Ireland starts on Thursday, September 2, on RTÉ 2 at 9.35pm

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