A MAKE-UP artist who runs his own gender transformation service has spoken of his joy at being featured in a new Channel 4 mini-series.
Former Belfast Institute pupil Patrick Baston (27), who grew up in Thiepval Barracks, Co Antrim, where his dad was stationed, now runs WowMan, a makeover company which helps transform men into women via make-up.
With over 15,000 Instagram followers and a growing customer base, Channel 4 recently chose to feature Patrick in a series of short films called Me To She.
Patrick told Sunday Life: "Funny enough one of my friends who is a dominatrix was researching for them at the time and liked what I was doing and got in touch with me.
"Initially they had wanted to do it as a one-off, slightly longer piece about myself but then they changed the format to a series about what I did and the clients and so on.
"It was really successful and really great fun to be part of, I had an absolute ball.
"It was amazing for Channel 4 to come along. I was getting so much positive feedback from everyone and when it first happened I thought it was interesting and didn't think too much of it.
"When the ball started rolling it all happened very quickly. The execs really liked me and there was mutterings about all sorts, it was a huge ego boost for me.
"For someone who grew up in Northern Ireland and was desperate to get away and make it 10 years ago, I hoped to find something that would cement the idea in my head that I am doing well. This felt like the validation I was looking for."
After moving to Manchester to attend university, Patrick began establishing himself as a make-up artist before setting up WowMan and he believes swapping aftershave for eyeliner is more common than people think.
He added: "I run a makeover transformation service and we have all sorts of people from across the spectrum come to see us. From transgender to gender neutral, there's many types of people who use the service.
"It all grew momentum quite quickly and that's what the series follows, we help them create beautiful versions of themselves and glamorise them.
"Having grown up in a barracks and being a former Inst boy (Royal Belfast Academical Institution) I'm sure they'd be very amused to know I now turn men into ladies.
"It's been amazing since the start, the second I started it just exploded really fast. I had a fully booked diary which I have had to postpone due to coronavirus unfortunately.
"People always say how much of a niche thing it is but you would be amazed at how many people are into it.
"I think masculinity is a really oppressive thing on our human nature for the most part. I help to lift those oppressive notions and connect with their person and feel beautiful, which everyone needs.
"My hope is to change people's minds about cross-dressing because there are so many people out there who enjoy stealing their girlfriend's lipstick and it's not just them getting a kick out of it, it's more than that."