Kim Kardashian isn’t the only woman behind the new reality series Glam Masters, a new beauty competition reality series premiering next Wednesday on Lifetime. Kardashian, who launched her namesake makeup company KKW Beauty last year, teamed up with TV personality and entrepreneur Diana Madison, who started her career at Entertainment Tonight and E! Network before co-founding Obsev Studios, to co-executive-produce the show, which ended up becoming a match made in heaven.
“We’re both Armenian, so we immediately bonded,” Madison told PeopleStyle when we caught up with her leading up to the show’s highly anticipated premiere.
While most of the details of the series (which is hosted by Laverne Cox and features Kardashian’s go-to makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic, YouTube personality Kandee Johnson and Milk Makeup co-founder Zanna Roberts Rassi as judges) are still under wraps, Madison spilled some exclusive stories about working with Kardashian and teased what’s to come on the show.
Let’s start from the beginning. How did you meet Kim and begin working on Glam Masters?
Kim and I have known each other for over 10 years. We met before Keeping Up with the Kardashians at an event in Hollywood. I had heard about her because she was Armenian and she had heard about me because I’m Armenian. We immediately bonded over that. I spoke to Kim about my idea for this show and she loved it. We’ve since been working on putting it together for the last three years.
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What inspired you to pitch the idea of a beauty reality competition show to Kim?
I work with so many makeup artists for my beauty tutorial show StyleLab and makeup talk show The Lowdown. They would all come in to do my makeup and say the same thing: Their goal is to be discovered by Kim Kardashian on Instagram. And they would tell me all the lengths they were going to: all these crazy makeup posts. One guy would literally wear a Kim Kardashian wig and make his face look like her, praying that she would discover him. I was like, “Oh my God. All these people are having a secret kind of competition on Instagram to be discovered by Kim.”
How did you narrow down all the applications to choose the contestant pool?
I was very involved in helping find the contestants. I recommended people that would come do my makeup that I felt were talented artists that needed …to get seen by more people. There are so many talented people on Instagram and I really, really wanted to help them out. I give these makeup artists a lot of credit because a lot of them just started doing makeup on themselves and haven’t even been to beauty school.
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We’ve heard the winner will get to be a part of Kim’s “glam empire.” Can you spill any more details about that?
Oh, I can’t say anything! That we’re going to announce on the show’s first episode because it is a big secret. But let me just say this much, and I will give you a hint. [The grand prize] is major. It is major for the artist that has won. It is a dream come true for any artist to be working with Kim with what they win.
What kind of makeup challenges can we expect to see the contestants compete in on the show?
Some of the challenges are crazy and outrageous. I was surprised by how fast they have to do it and how perfect it has to be! They have to impress the judges. You will see a mix of makeup looks [from editorial to red carpet-inspired] that people at home can take something away from watching it as a viewer.
Which judge impressed you the most?
Makeup by Mario. Mario Dedivanovic is famous for a lot of the looks he has done on Kim. They’ve completely changed the makeup game with some of the looks they’ve done together. It was exciting to see him talk about some of the looks he saw the contestants do. It was impressive. And I know for him, he talks a lot about it on social media, that being on camera is a big challenge for him, so it was exciting to see him on.
What surprised you the most about working with Kim on this project?
Kim is successful because she is a very hard worker and she’s got an amazing work ethic. I think people forget that because they see the glam and the glitz. But it really takes hard work to be that successful.
Can we expect to see a season two?
I hope so! To be honest I’ve had this overblown response of people messaging me on Instagram to tell me they couldn’t apply for the show because they didn’t know about it. They all ask if there is going to be a season two. So I am like, “We have to do a season two just for these kids to be able to show their talent!” It is a big time for beauty.
Catch the Glam Masters season premiere on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 10 p.m. EST on Lifetime.