Originally from Co Carlow, John Paul Payne was always determined to succeed. His hard-working nature, mixed with determination, passion and a little help from the community around him, allowed him to pave the way for future generations in Carlow. As the founder of Carlow’s first ever Pride Festival, John Paul’s initiative and passion got him to this point, and his successes show just how he has been Powered By People.
Attending Carlow Vocational School in his early teens, John Paul took everything in his stride. As a teenager his summers were spent working as an intern for Youth Services. Throughout his time as an intern, he developed a passion for charity and human rights. This did not go unnoticed, and he was invited to attend the European Youth Summit in Budapest. During his time here, he addressed the issues facings Ireland’s LGBT youth. His work in this area led him to receive a prestigious President’s Award, for his dedication and effort on something he believed in.
In 2004, John Paul went to London to work for Tony and Guy. Further discovering his creative flair, he returned home to undertake a degree in make-up artistry, in the College of Further of Education in Carlow. As the only male undertaking the course, John Paul set the precedent for pushing boundaries to make a difference in people’s lives.
Relishing in his natural talent, John Paul went on to work on TV shows, movies and even London Fashion Week in 2013. His complete passion, dedication and flair paved the way for his success across the Atlantic Ocean. Heading to Canada, John Paul served as a make-up artist for the world renowned brand “Chanel”. His success in this field then led to John Paul securing his own television show titled “Bare It All – a make-up based television interview series.
Television was a relatively new avenue for John Paul, but it wasn’t his first time on camera. He was a familiar face at high profile events like Fashion Week and International Film Festival, as a reporter on the TV programme ‘Outlook’, which airs to millions of homes across North America on the OUT TV network. He did this work on a voluntary basis for two years.
With his experience of working with a camera crew, John Paul and his team flew to Dublin in 2015 to film and report on the equality referendum results in Dublin, promoting a positive image of one his strongest passions in his life – his LGBT Community. Continuing his stellar work in the make-up industry, John Paul was the make-up artist for RTÉ 1’s All Star Awards, where he painted the faces of Irish names such as Marty Morrissey, Michael Lyster and Joanne Cantwell, to name a few.
In 2019 after years of travelling around the globe for his own career, he returned to Carlow to give something back to the town which gave it all to him. Founding the Carlow Pride Committee, John Paul and his committee members took on the task of organising Carlow’s Pride Festival, hosting the very first Carlow Pride Parade.
Creating this festival was a mammoth task, and the organisers knew that. When they approached local businesses for support, it came in its droves. This is where John Paul’s local credit union came in. Along with other local pillars of the Carlow community, including the local Gardaí and the local enterprise office, Carlow Credit Union came on board as the main sponsors of this historical event. The event itself was launched with the raising of the pride flag at the credit union offices in Carlow, right at the heart of the community.
Due to Covid-19, this year’s parade and festival cannot take place, however, John Paul and his team are due to take part in the Virtual Global Parade, airing on 27th June 2020 and will reach an estimated audience of 300 million. In place of this year’s festival, John Paul has also created a magazine to celebrate all things pride month, which is available here.
John Paul’s story has been told as part of our #PoweredByPeople series – a campaign which celebrates tales of community support – and highlights exactly what the credit union stands for: people helping people. If you’d like to get involved and tell your story, we’d be more than happy to hear it. Simply get in touch by contacting Jane at email@example.com.