GK Barry talks fake tan, manifestation and how to go viral on TikTok

The TikTok star chats through her self-care Sunday must-haves...

GK Barry

by Aimee Jakes |

We love a bit of self-care and all this time at home has really given us an excuse to look after ourselves inside and out. Each week, we'll be asking the celeb lot to share their Sunday self-care routines, because taking care of yourself is more important than ever.

This week it's all about TikTok legend GK Barry, otherwise known as Grace Keeling. Her pseudonym came from not wanting to be discovered by people she knew when starting out.

"I was like, 'Let me think of a name that no one will ever know", Grace tells heat, "so my best friend is called Tatiana Barry and my initials are GK. We're basically lovers anyway, so I was like, 'Let's just merge our names together!'"

Despite still studying at Nottingham Trent University, the 22-year-old has a massive 2.1 million fans on TikTok thanks to her hilariously-relatable, deadpan storytime videos which make you feel just that little bit better about life.

She also hosts the chart-topping podcast, 'Saving Grace' which includes juicy chats with the celeb and influencer lot including Chloe Burrows and Too Hot To Handle's Emilly Faye Miller.

GK Barry chats exclusively to heat about starting a TikTok channel, self-care routines and the best advice she's ever been given...

On starting TikTok

From Ibiza trips with Jack Wills to filming content with Top Gear's James May, the whole TikTok thing is really taking off for Grace - but how did it all start?

"During lockdown, I was honestly bored out of my brains so I started making the most pointless videos where I would do storytimes about what had happened with ex-boyfriends or whatever. I started that in March and then by my birthday on the 12th of August I had 100k [followers]. So I was like, 'You know what, I'm going to carry this one on!' and it sort of went from there."

Does Grace plan out her videos via the Notes app or are they straight off the cuff?

"If something embarrassing happens to me, I'll just get my phone out straight away to talk about what's just happened. Or sometimes I'll go on Twitter to see what's trending because I know it could be a viral video. So, if something political is trending I'm straight on that. Anything to slag off Boris Johnson, I'll hop on or anything Love Island, but they're never really planned."

On going viral

What is Grace's top tip for anyone wanting their video to blow up on TikTok? Spoiler alert, it's time to join the conversation.

"I always know when I'm going to have a viral video because it's based on something that's trending. So say next year, they're doing a winter Love Island, right? So when the cast of the girls and boys come out, you should rate them that video for me always goes viral.

"I'd also say not to put too much pressure on it. If you're trying too hard, people can tell. So just do what you want to do. If it works, it works. If not, Tesco are always hiring!"

On self-care

"Self-care to me is drinking my body weight in wine. Maybe fake tanning, I love a bit of Filter by Molly-Mae (£21), I've got to be honest. I use my 24 hours with the Filter tan! Then watching a bit of Love Island, you can't go wrong.

"I would be into baths, but I live in a uni house which has a shower that genuinely looks straight out of the sewer. So I just I'm in and out with that."

We have all been there, don't you worry.

On manifestation

Gratitude journals, manifestation and the Law of Attraction are having a moment on social media, but would Grace consider herself spiritual?

"Yeah, I'm completely unhinged, I love a crystal, I love a salt lamp... before I started my TikTok actually, I used to do this thing where I'd write down in my book, I'd be like, 'This year I will...' and I'd write it down loads of times every day. And I looked back at in December and I'd literally done everything that I wanted to do so now I'm like scared that I have to continue doing it. I'm being forced to do it by my own head. To be fair, it might just be me, but I'm not taking the risk. So I'm going to continue moon watering those crystals, do you know what I mean?"

On make-up favourites

Grace opens up her make-up bag and shows us over Zoom which products she's currently reaching for.

"I love the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation, it's so good. Then I've got the Pink Honey Cream Blushes (£12.95), the Holly Boon Translucent Powder (£13.50) and maybe a Doll Beauty Lipstick (£11.70). They're my faves, I'd say.

"Yeah, I am a girl that you need to take swimming on a day 100%. I am a fraud and I am completely fine with it, I will slap it on."

On podcasts

The Saving Grace podcast is forever in the charts and has racked up hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, but who has been her favourite guest so far?

"I'd say Joe and George Baggs, I just love them. You know when you meet people sometimes off of social media and they're completely different? They are the few people I can say, and obviously Max [Balegde] who are completely the same and I just love them. I've got a few guests lined up and I can't wait to see everyone's reaction, because when I signed them I was even like, 'This is gonna be so funny.'

"I only ever listen to one podcast and it's Rob Beckett and Josh Widdicombe's Parenting Hell. It makes no sense as I do not have children and I never want children. But it just makes me die laughing. Seeing them going through hell with kids makes me warm inside, I just love it."

On great advice

"Something I've learned to stop doing myself is to stop looking at what other people are doing around you. Because I feel like when you're looking at what other people are doing, you're slowing yourself down. You're constantly comparing, like 'Why am I not there? Why am I not doing that?' I think just do whatever you do and have the motivation to be happy with what you're doing.

"Especially in this industry, it's easy to look at what other people on TikTok are managing to do, but realistically taking a look back, if I told myself a year ago stuff I'm doing now I'd be like, 'Shut up, you're a liar!' So I think, just always look at yourself from a different point of view."

Quickfire round:

What show are you currently watching? Love Island!

How do you like your cuppa? I like mine with two sugars and oat milk, but not too milky.

Go-to loungewear brand? I'm not gonna lie, at the moment it's got to be Jack Wills. Their tracksuits have come through in clutch.

Favourite face mask? Anything charcoal.

Go-to takeaway order? I love a Chinese, I like sweet and sour chicken, a chow mein, chips and curry sauce which is disgusting altogether but I will inhale that.

Favourite candle? The one I've got here which is the Yankee Candle Glistening Christmas Noel. I'm here for it, 'tis the season.

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