20 Questions: Game of Thrones make-up artist Pam Smyth

Gail Bell asks experts and people in the public eye what keeps them going. This week: Emmy-winning Game of Thrones make-up artist, Pam Smyth

Game of Thrones makeup artist Pam Smyth on her morning routine
Gail Bell

1. Up and at it – what is your morning routine?

To be honest, I don’t have a morning ‘routine’ as no morning is the same. I get up anywhere from 2:30am onwards, depending on where I’m working. I always have a large oat milk coffee and, if I have any super-rich dark chocolate, I’ll have a square. I eat breakfast when I’m hungry.

2. What might you eat in a typical working day for... Breakfast?

For breakfast, I might have eggs and black pudding – the latter was a favourite when I was on set, as it is filling and helps me avoid bread. When I’m not filming, breakfast could be anything from a simple avocado with black pepper to brown rice and red pepper humous.


If I’m filming, the catering department always have some great vegetarian options. I love all veggies, so I will just pile my plate with veg and salad and maybe potatoes if I’m hungry.

If I’m off work, I just snack all day – I'll have some nuts, soya yoghurt, corn cakes with peanut butter or home-made soup.

Evening meal?

I’m terrible when I’m filming, so ‘dinner’ is often a glass of wine and, perhaps, a few tortilla chips or cashews. On non-filming days, I try to eat well; I avoid meat and dairy, so I 'Google' vegan recipes and it always amazes me how quick they are to make.

3. Is nutrition important to you?

With food, I think overall balance is more important to me than just nutrition. I think about everything I eat, in a good way, as I enjoy food so much and I want to be able to eat whatever I want whenever I’m hungry. I don’t care much for regular mealtimes, but, if I’m hungry, I eat, and I eat whatever is available.

Having said that, my food usually consists of small amounts of very varied things, including veg, rice, beans and nuts. I’m conscious not to eat things that my digestive system doesn’t like.

My friend, Caoibhe Bailey, is a kinesiologist and if I feel sluggish, she checks out why and guides my food choices.

4. Best meal ever?

That’s an impossible question, really – there are so many.

5. Do you have a guilty pleasure?

No guilt at all! I could be lighter and fitter, but I will not feel guilty for the divine pleasure of food.

6. Have you ever been on a diet? If so, how did it go?

When I was in my 20s, I tried loads of ‘new diets’ in order to lose weight, feel miserable put the weight back on again – it is a seriously negative mental cycle. I only eat positively now and I have been roughly the same weight for 20 years, except for going up or down a maximum of half a stone. I think that’s okay.

7. Do you take health supplements?

Only when I remember – so, not really...

8. How do you relax?

I relax with meditation. Any time I get a few spare minutes, I will close my eyes, breathe and smile to myself. I do this as often as I can – and, if I manage a half hour or so, I’m delighted!

9. Teetotal or tipple?

Definitely tipple; I’ll have a wee glass of wine or a gin n tonic – not everyday, though, and usually, I’m happy with one. If I have more that one, I’ll leave it a few days before having another. I’m a happy drinker, thankfully, and I rarely feel the ‘need’ to fix a state of mind.

10. Stairs or lift?

If it’s only one or two floors up, I’ll take the stairs rather than wait for a lift. It it's any higher, I'll take the lift as I want to arrive with dignity instead of knocking on a door, panting.

11. Do you have a daily exercise regime?

Generally, I like to keep moving; I don’t sit during the day, so I’m always warm and I can feel the blood moving. That’s it, really, plus a few stretches here and there.

12. Best tip for everyday fitness?

I would just say "each to their own".

13. On a scale of one to 10, how fit do you think you are and how fit would you like to be?

I think I'm a seven and I would like to be an eight.

14. Have you tried, or would you try, alternative therapy?

Yes, definitely! I opened a place called ‘At One’ at Portview on the Newtownards Road as a place for alternative therapists to hire space and for me to meditate. I’ve tried a lot of different therapies and I continue to use some of them. I'm still up for trying more and there are a few things I’ve tried once, full stop.

15. Were school sports happy times or do you have a memory you would rather forget?

'Hate' is strong word, but I think I can use it for school sport. I so don’t do competition.

16. Did you ever have a health epiphany which made you change your lifestyle?

It’s a long story, but about seven years ago, I had to slow down – all work and no rest will kill you. Although it sounds hippy, I discovered the power of 'now' through meditation and I’m so much happier.

17. Best health/lifestyle advice you were ever given and would pass on to others?

Pause and choose wisely. Seriously, the pause is just as important as the choice.

18. Who inspires you or who would you try to emulate in terms of fitness / attitude to life?

Sadhguru – I recommend you find him on YouTube.

19. What time do you normally get to bed and do you get enough sleep?

I love my pillow and duvet and will spend as much time as possible in bed. I aim for eight hours, but if I’m filming, I get what I can.

20. Would you say you have a healthy attitude towards your own mortality?

Yes, absolutely – I fear only things that might kill you.

:: The eighth and final season of Game Of Thrones premieres on April 14 2019.

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