L'Oreal Elnett Supreme Hold hairspray

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My first job out of drama school was as part of the Boots ‘Here Come the Girls’ campaign, and ongoing series of short sketch adverts with that godawful trumpeting at the top. We had a ball. We filmed the Spring campaign in Majorca, Summer in Chile (where we stayed in the same hotel as Obama, Shakira AND Cyndi Lauper). It has made me famous in Norwich to this day, indeed at a wedding last weekend a distant relative wistfully recollected when she used to see me on those Boots adverts, staring at me with soft moony eyes that belied her thought process of ‘will she ever be on the telly again?’.

But the thing I will always take away from that time was from my first experience in the make up chair, and Jamie the artist. I fell in love with his fag ash ‘give a shit’ attitude, his Scouse drawl, the fact that were it not for his collection of Spice Girls themed hairbrushes (he was the MUA for their last tour, and still used their labelled brushes on special people) he could easily have been mistaken for one of the lads in the corner hauling wires about, with his bald head and little belly. He was about as far away as my 22 year old self could imagine a make up artist being and I loved him.

It was his sage advice, as he went through my hair with a blue sparkly brush labelled - you guessed it - ‘Geri’, that has stayed with me forever.

(Imagine in Paul O’Grady’s voice, but slower) ’Aaaalwayzzzz yewz Elnett luv’.

I asked him why, and his response has stayed with me to this day:

‘It’s cheap, it weeerks, and it brrrrushes owt’.

Cut to: 5:30am yesterday, Norwich. I had gotten in at 2 from a wedding. I’d had 3 hours sleep and was about to catch the train to London for the Vitality 10K. I had not trained for this 10K, as my body is pretty resistant to running and anyway I was there to promote body positivity with lots of other women in our bra and knickers. We were going to walk and look fabulous (and in my case, hungover). I blow dried my hair, and caked it in Elnett so I would feel a bit better about myself as I walked semi naked through the streets of London, praying my new mooncup would work.

I will never quite put my finger on why I decided to start running it. Something took over. I didn’t stop either. The sweat poured and my blow dried hair was flapping and then there was St Paul’s and I was at 7K and my bra was heavy with sweat and then suddenly I’m sprinting towards the finish line. It was mad.

The entire experience was another story but let me just say this.

The photos that were taken after the finish line should be used in an Elnett advertising campaign with the following slogan:

It costs a fiver. It can withstand 2 train journeys and a 10K run. You can buy it in Tesco express, it’s right under your nose. Never use anything else.

Because you’re worth it. Especially you, Jamie.

L’oreal Supreme Hold Hairspray, £6.70


Rebecca Humphries