Glow Up, Series 5, Episode 6: My Boy Plutarch

The pink one is so terrify.

This is a certified Rhys’s Pieces stan account.

Viva la Revolución

After a couple of seasons on hiatus, the best challenge in the Glow Up arsenal was back as the MUAs were tackling the world of drag makeup, with this week’s guest judge being Trixie Mattel

who is an insanely good get for a guest judge, as you can tell by the fact that finally everyone is reacting to a guest judge reveal at an On-May level

you could have convinced me Keiran was looking upon the face of God

I do think Trixie may have deserved slightly better than having her Season 7 reunion makeup dredged up from the murky depths of the pre-HD Drag Race era

it’s almost as homophobic as eliminating Wezley the episode before a drag challenge. For said drag challenge, the MUAs were competing to be a part of the Viva Glam makeup campaign and trying their best to impress campaign manager Sharryn Hinchliffe who you cannot convince me isn’t just Val Garland after she syphons the life force out of the eliminated MUAs

and for the campaign each of the MUAs had to do the makeup for a different drag artist, with some of them being familiar faces, including Drag Race UK’s season 4 finalists Black Peppa and Cheddar Gorgeous

and season 3’s casualty, Victoria Scone and Victoria Scone’s Traumatised Knee

and then for the new faces we had Dame Dave Lynn

but truly stealing the entire show was Rhys’s Pieces

I am obsessed with them – they’re the perfect overlap in the Thriller Video / Air Bud venn diagram.

And because this was for an actual campaign and there is a well documented history of drag makeup going horribly wrong on this show… (we’ll get to it) there was the option for the drag artist to veto the MUAs look and have their makeup redone at Jack’s Makeup Station of Infinite Betrayal

and this was not an idle threat like Paige Louise threatening to have 200 anonymous TikTokers boot you from a livestream, they were serious about this one. I did feel a little bad for On-May because everyone had kind of a signature makeup to work off of whereas with Black Peppa, I don’t think I could pin down with a specific aesthetic which is probably why we only ever saw this much of her moodboard (remember the Blue Man Group look, it’s important for later)

so instead On-May was leading with Black Peppa’s look for the campaign which was sort of Violet Beauregarde at a Berlin Sex Club

“Violet, you’re turning violet! USE THE DAMN SAFE WORD!” In this case the safe word was a panicked glance to camera

On-may was really running with the spiked motif, spending an inordinate amount of time sort of Blue Petering Black Peppa into a Dilophosaurus

and despite Trixie Mattel trying to Hypnotoad On-May into admitting she was losing this origami battle

this might be the only time I’ve ever been this aware that Trixie Mattel has pupils but On-May was so deep in the weeds she simply could not escape

and Black Peppa was the first to jump ship and hand themselves over to Jack, who just Smurf’d Black Peppa up

I would be FURIOUS if I had spent the best part of 2 hours giving myself papercuts and all I had to do was cover them in blue paint – which I’ll be honest, seems a little distracting for a lipstick campaign and seems antithetical to what was being said


On-May was not the only one to have their client request a change up because despite Keiran feeling pretty good about the whole thing

that feeling may have just been gas because Victoria Scone executed a Shakespearean level of betrayal up on those steps

however I do get where Keiran was going with it – it’s a lip campaign, go with the biggest, brightest lip you can, and I wish they had kept with the red instead going fully nude

so I do think Keiran’s spiral into an existential crisis was kind of a fair reaction

I do think it’s quite impressive how Keiran has essentially monopolised the red chairs and every MUA that lands in it now owes them £500.

The other MUAs had much more successful outcomes, although it did feel like it could go any which way with Axel who bordered on treating Dave like an exhumed corpse

He’s a 65 year old drag queen, not the mummified remains of Tutankhamun! He can hear you!

The main area of consternation between the two of them was the eyebrows with Dave not usually blocking them down, however Axel hasn’t met a single follicle he doesn’t want to erase from existence

so it was curtains for Dave’s eyebrows, which had the potential to end up looking like that time Alex gave Queen Elizabeth a pair of Insta-brows as an anti-monarchist protest during the industry challenge on the set of The Crown

however it ended up going pretty well, and as much as I don’t think Dame Dave Lynn is going to adopt it into her regular makeup routine, the eyebrows were not stealing focus in the campaign shot which had a lovely cabaret feel to it

I am also a big fan of any drag queen that decides to stand by the affliction that is The British Lip

representation matters.

Saphron and Roo both got queens with much less attachment to traditional beauty-based drag, as you can tell by how absolutely thrilled Cheddar was with looking like an inhabitant of Whoville

there was some concern about whether Roo would finish their makeup or not because they spent so long finessing the base, but given how good it looked in the final shot, it was absolutely worth nearly having Trixie sweat through at least the subsoil layer of her foundation

that lip is gorge – there’s a bit of a trend in the beauty and drag scenes to do a very rounded lip and completely erase the cupid’s bow and I fully believe the root cause of it was Dakota Johnson’s makeup in the 50 Shades Darker movie in which whoever was in charge just bulldozed through that top lip

apparently it really kills the eroticism when someone in the middle row is pondering why her lips look like an American Football.

Saphron was hot on Roo’s heels though with a makeup that spoke so deeply to Rhys’s soul they were lost in their own reflection like an ultra-snatched Narcissus

and once they could tear themself away from their own reflection they bounded towards the photoshoot like a cat that just heard you opening a packet of cheese

and they just looked incredible in the final product

the only concern was that the eyes somewhat distracted you from the lips, which I mean sure, but only as much as the armpit in the final shot did

it might not be perfect for a lipstick campaign but I hope Rhys has access to these shots for self promotion because I think it perfectly encapsulates their drag.

Roo did end up winning the challenge, which everyone was super happy about – especially Saphron who no longer has to have someone test her cereal for poison every morning

and for their win, Roo got a 10 minute consultation with Trixie during their creative brief to use as they wish, including to mildly terrify her

those eyes are screaming “oh god, was I rude?”

Drag Them.

Keeping with the drag theme, for their Creative Brief the MUAs were having to turn themselves into their drag personas – which is probably a better way of doing this challenge given that drag makeup is often incredibly personalised and you can’t really just whack it onto any face without taking time to work it all out, some people have to find this out in harder ways than others

and “your drag persona” is a much more specific and inspired prompt than “I dunno, just do drag I guess?” which to be fair birthed forth the most iconic Glow Up moment (up until Charlie committed MUA seppuku with a gel liner)

Speaking of The Makeup That Launched 1000 Memes, one of the reasons that makeup became such a viral hit was Trixie and Katya’s reaction to it

so really, they couldn’t not bring the icon, the myth, the legend back in all of his slightly amphibian glory (Saphron in the background being the cherry on top of the cake)

I do wish Nikki could have been there too – the way she struggle bussed her way to the top 2 after 4 consecutive weeks in the bottom 2? Genuinely inspirational and I hope she at least got a royalty check from The Little Mermaid

she was ahead of her time, but Nikki’s disasterpiece wasn’t the only throwback we were getting as momentarily Axel was giving us a bit of a deep pull from the same challenge that we do not discuss nearly enough: Immortal Drag Santa

You know, I really wish I could remember things like my National Insurance number or to take my damn hormones every evening but no, apparently my brain has decided it’s a rolodex for British reality TV.

Once they’d finished giving themself a shave, Axel set about on their quest to become Mistress Piece which involved a right turn down Questionable Clown Boulevard

before ultimately arriving at Norwegian Proto-expressionist Drag Avenue

I’m obsessed with this: the disjointed, distorted lips, the way it feels like we’re crash zooming into the face – it’s like Edvard Munch painted a portrait of Jocelyn Wildenstein and if that’s not drag, I don’t know what is, but given that this is a Glow Up drag challenge we did run into the rocks of “What is drag?” a fair few times, On-May’s Chinese opera mask unfortunately baring the brunt of it

first of all, she’s unhinged for how good that symmetry and line definition is, if Giotto kickstarted the Italian renaissance because he drew one perfect circle in 1296, then welcome to The On-Mayassaince baby! The judges did at least fawn over the actual look, they just didn’t feel it was “drag enough” which doesn’t sit entirely well with me because I think it is drag, it’s just drag with a different cultural context. However, it was potentially even a little more confusing when Dom questioned if Keiran’s look was drag enough while looking at a picture of Keiran dressed like a piece of Marge Simpson fanart you only really find at the weirder end of DeviantArt

babe, they’ve Cronenberg’d Marge Simpson and Pamela Anderson into a single being and I think that counts as drag no matter how beautiful or not beautiful it ends up being! Yes, Jeff Goldblum was doing drag in The Fly

In the immortal words of Jaymes Mansfield, “Hi shapeshifters!”

The entire critique of Keiran’s makeup kind of rubbed me the wrong way, especially Val’s comment about the chest contour which she likened to chest hair

it came across as an attempt to be funny but just fell kind of flat, especially when it’s just not true? It felt more referential to Andy Warhol’s pop-art than anything else. Truly the Keiran fans were in the trenches this episode

and I think the picture of Leomie fastening their necklace should be hung in The Louvre as a modern day masterpiece

it’s very Hilary Swank in The Affair of the Necklace coded

The references have been all over the place this episode, I am so sorry.

Roo had a minor advantage in that they have a fully fledged drag king persona locked and loaded, his name being Please de Cyst which is immediately up there with my favourite drag names

and for their televisual debut, Please de Cyst was going to be donning an egg-themed makeup because Roo, much like the Struthiomimus brothers in Land Before Time 2: The Great Valley Adventure, just can’t get enough eggs

I would like a full rundown of the Olympic mental gymnastics floor routine that got them from Please de Cyst, to a cowboy, to an egg themed look but I’ll guess we’ll have to forever debate which necessitated which: the egg-themed cowboy or the egg-shaped cowboy hat

now there’s a head scratcher for my boy Plutarch. I think my Drag King name would be My Boy Plutarch and every performance would just be a remix of Raining Men and Jordan Peterson crying about where all the men went.

With Roo being so well versed in doing their own drag makeup, they didn’t really need the Trixie Time for much more than for the two of them to mutually crack a few egg jokes

kind of obsessed that Trixie spent almost as much time talking about eggs as actual drag makeup techniques.

I do think it was incredibly rude that the egg cowboy did not get ding-donged, THE LOOK IS SO GOOD

none of those words are in the bible.

For her drag transformation, Saphron was becoming Ana Tomical who represents both an outward and inward confidence and really loosed up a memory of having to suffer through 2 minutes of Nickelodeon’s Inside-out Boy between episodes of The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo in 1999

it’s a ridiculously good makeup (it’s Saphron, of course it is) and I was amazed with how well it actually worked when Saphon moved – by all means Nuclear Apocalypse Bratz Makeup should look like a disaster in motion AND YET

and she may not have won the Viva Glam Battle, but she won the Ding Dong War

sleep with one eye open Saphron, there’s a cowboy with a vendetta on the loose

How do you like your eggs? Roo takes theirs poached.

You’re Making Me Blush

Given that everyone had done so well there was no change in outcome with Keiran and On-May sill sitting in the danger zone and having to battle it out over a 1980s New Romantic Cheek

I don’t think anyone on this show has ever felt a makeup look harder than that model – truly he was having the time of his life. And both On-May and Keiran managed to replicate the look decently enough

I love the intensity of On-May’s but, it did lack that definitive sliced line

and she did pull a bit of an Axel and forget people 5 feet away from you can hear what you’re saying when you’re stage whispering

DON’T GIVE THEM IDEAS! but ultimately it was goodbye to On-May, but don’t worry, she’s going to clone Dom and Val and build her own Glow Up

and it’s going to be dingier and dongier than ever, and if you want to see how On-May’s experiments with eyeliner and gene splicing goes, you can follow her on Instagram at LilBbyBokChoy.

And so, we’ve hit the semi-final

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