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Make-up artist John Corcoran: It is a lovely feeling to dress the way you want and be complimented

Inspired by his role as chief make-up artist for Trinny Woodall, Corcoran has learned to tear up the rule book

Dubliner John Corcoran says that within 10 minutes of first meeting British entrepreneur, style guru and beauty expert Trinny Woodall five years ago, he was sitting on her lap.

“Trinny and I had great banter from the off,” Corcoran says. “I used to watch her on What Not To Wear with my mam in the 2000s... and it spins me out that I spend almost every day with her now.”

Brought up in the suburb of Shankill, Corcoran is now the chief make-up artist for Trinny Woodall and Trinny London, and he has an effervescence that could only be matched by Woodall’s irrepressible personality. “I used to think she was mad when I watched her on TV. She is mad,” he laughs, “and that’s why we get on.”

Along with his make-up expertise, Corcoran brings his own brand of effortless style to the Trinny London juggernaut and is gaining global recognition as the entrepreneur’s fabulously dressed, handsome right-hand-man, who takes Woodall’s well known cream-based stacking pots and makes magic with them, regularly transforming his 59-year-old boss. Woodall regularly refers to Corcoran as “the talent”.


A former dancer and dance teacher who retrained in make-up in his late 20s under Paula Callan in Dublin and then Charlotte Tilbury in London, Corcoran’s role is as full-on as the woman he works for. He oversees make-up for all photo shoots, press trips, public appearances, book deals and PR events associated with Woodall personally and the Trinny London brand.

Corcoran spent the latter half of 2023 charging around the US and Australia with Woodall and the Trinny London team, working 16-hour days for several successive weeks. “I get my energy from Trinny,” remarks the Brixton-based Dubliner. “She’s phenomenal.”

Woodall’s energy is not all that has rubbed off on Corcoran. Recognised for his unique sense of style that swerves smoothly between pared-back precision tailoring and colourful eclecticism, Corcoran appears to have an inherent understanding of how to achieve a contemporary take on classics, and a simultaneous instinct for tearing up the rule book and wearing something entirely his own way. He reveals that everything he knows about colour and tailoring has come from Woodall.

“Charlotte Tilbury taught me technique,” says Corcoran, “but Trinny taught me colour. She’s an encyclopedia when it comes to colour. Knowing what shades suit you – in make-up and clothes – is so important, and I think Match2Me (the company’s online personalised recommendations tool) is one of the brand’s biggest achievements.

“I’m still learning; still trying to figure it out,” admits the 40-year-old, adding, “Every day is a school day with Trinny!”

She also taught him about the importance of an impeccable fit. Anyone who follows Woodall on social media will be familiar with her talented tailor Azucena. Corcoran, too, has a “lovely family in Balham” which looks after all of his alterations. He says he often buys women’s clothes, but in a size 12, and then has them customised.

“The clothes I buy don’t cost much,” he explains “but I put money into having them tailored. I like to have waistcoats and the waists on trousers pulled in a little.

“I’ve just picked up a white woman’s shirt from H&M. It’s got incredible, dramatic cuffs and looks like something you’d find at Alexander McQueen, but it cost £45 (€52.59). I chose a size large and I’ll have it pinched in at the waist so it will look more expensive.”

One of Corcoran’s favourite suits is a white waistcoat and wide-leg trouser two-piece, which he wore to the launch of Woodall’s book Fear Less last September. “That cost me £80 at Asos, but I spent £40 having it tailored,” he says.

Australian brand Glassons is a favourite of his for great linen pieces, and he likes Jaded London for its grunginess. “I’m tapping into Korean fashion a lot at the moment, and The Korean Fashion (@the_koreanfashion) offers great design and decent fabrics. They’re good value pieces that hang really well,” Corcoran says.

Engaged to his partner of 10 years, Aaron, who proposed in New York’s Central Park in 2022, Corcoran says he is a thrifter first and foremost and his best buy is a jumbo-sized string of pearls he picked up in a charity shop called Oasis in Balham for £3. Despite an Instagram persona that exudes cool and confidence, the Dubliner reveals he was incredibly nervous about wearing them for the first time.

“It was a real moment for me when I found the confidence to show them off. It taught me not to have any fear because the pearls became the star of my outfit,” Corcoran says. “Everyone loved them and I don’t think the outfit would have worked otherwise.”

Woodall and her team have inspired Corcoran to continue to take risks. “I hang out with Trinny and all of these girls for whom clothes are everything. It has made me think ‘Just go for it’,” he says.

Corcoran’s love of style comes from his mam, he says, who, despite struggling financially raising three children, always ensured he and his brother Michael and sister Lyndsey were the best dressed.

“Mam was always very proud of us and made sure we were really well turned out. At 14, I got my first job and I immediately started buying clothes. Michael and I experimented a lot with fashion, sometimes wearing the craziest stuff. I think a lot of people thought I was weird!” he says.

Corcoran admits this has not changed as much as he would like, revealing that he is often stared at when back home in Dublin. So now he saves his more flamboyant looks for London and further afield.

“I do pull back when I’m home, especially on colour,” he explains. But, despite this, Corcoran says he feels he has finally found his style personality. “It’s a lovely feeling to dress the way you want to and have people compliment you on that.” Woodall would be proud.