Gemma Garrett will go from glamour girl to agony aunt when she returns to screens in the new series of Beauty Queen And Single.
he Former Miss Great Britain (41) appeared on the reality show as a singleton during its debut season but is coming back as a confidante to women looking for love.
The model and make-up artist was delighted to be asked back onto the programme, which sees beauties stripped of their make-up and sent speed dating.
“It was unbelievable getting the call to be asked to come back, especially in a new role with a slightly different capacity. I was so happy. It was lovely,” she told Sunday Life.
“I found the show really helped my confidence when I was on it, so I took that and tried to guide the girls.
“They’re all a good bit younger than me, but hopefully I gave them solid advice and guidance.
“The show has changed slightly from when I was on it. We go a bit deeper and tackle some real issues in the dating scene, so it’s educational as well.
“We live in an Instagrammable world now and everyone shows the best version of themselves online, but it’s not real life, which feeds into dating problems.
“Covid-19 didn’t help either. People are still getting back into the swing of dating and meeting people, so we explore some of that.
“People think the show is just entertainment, but we try to do a bit more than that this time.”
This year beauty queens Lisa-Marie Saygivar, Joyce Wells, Vivienne Devenny and Emma Leckie ditch the make-up and embrace natural to go on five dates.
“It’s very real — there’s a lot of laughter, love and tears,” said Gemma.
“It gives people a real insight into dating as well as the girls — it shows them for who they truly are, which is a group of lovely women.
“The casting did a great job — all the girls are amazing. There’s a lot of big, strong personalities, but they all gel well together.
“We had a lot of fun. I think it’s fair to say I’ve made friends for life too. We’re all going to stay in touch.
“People like to see people being vulnerable, so the audience is invested in watching a beauty queen take off her make-up and go on a date.
“I think audiences like to see people being their real selves, and that’s what makes it good to watch.
“It was also fun in parts. The girls have really big personalities and the guys were up for the craic, (so there was) lots of good, clean humour.
“There was lots of underlying issues coming through about body positivity, red and green flags when dating, acceptable conduct and so on.
“It’s going to be a great show, a much deeper show than the first. I can’t wait for people to see it.”
The star of the first episode is Lisa-Marie Saygivar (25), a skincare specialist from Rostrevor.
Lisa-Marie, whose friends nicknamed her ‘Elle Woods’ after Reece Witherspoon’s character in Legally Blonde, said: “I’m very self-conscious, so for me to go on national TV with a bare face, let alone going on dates at the same time, was a huge deal” she said.
“My friends call me the Elle Woods of Belfast because I rock up to meetings in pink suits or totally glam. I like to make an entrance.
“So, to have that all taken away, I did feel vulnerable because it’s not something I would ever have done — I get dressed up just to go to the shop usually.
“I loved being on the show. It was quite freeing too.
“The guys were all wonderful to talk to and really wanted to get to know me without me being all done up.
“I was quite anxious beforehand, but it was totally okay. Very different but a lot of fun.
“It was nice to see there’s still so many nice guys out there.”
Ms Saygivar became interested in skincare after suffering with bad skin as a youngster. She now owns her own cosmetics brand, Ari Nadur, which she set up during lockdown.
She said: “It means ‘pure nature’ and is derived from both Turkish and Irish because I’m half-Irish, half-Turkish. It came about due to skincare problems I had when I was younger.
“I used to wear make-up all the time to cover it up. It took me a long time to learn how to manage my own skin.
“I studied biomedical science and did a lot of training in various places around the world to go into skincare as a profession.
“I’ve worked for cosmetic surgeons, in five-star spas and clinics. I was the youngest paramedical tattoo artist in the UK when I qualified in 2018.
“Part of that work is tattooing for women who have had a mastectomy — we tattoo the nipple on. It means I’ve worked with a lot of cancer patients. That’s still something I do which is very rewarding.”
Beauty Queen & Single, made by Stellify Media, is available today on BBC iPlayer and is on BBC Three each night starting at 8.30pm tonight. It airs on BBC One NI from January 3