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Going out nightlife Northern Grimsby beauty looks
Photography Rae Martins Ashton

Out out in Grimsby: a photographic ode to Northern nightlife

Photographer Rae Martins Ashton heads to a classic high street club in Grimsby to find out how people are really doing their going-out make-up

Cowboy copper hair, blueberry milk nails, villain make-up, toffee nut latte highlights – the internet trend cycle is speeding up infinitely and if TikTok and the beauty press were your only sources of information, you’d be forgiven for thinking that everyone was chopping and changing their look every two days. But how many of these online trends are reaching outside the digital world and onto the streets? How are people actually doing their make-up and hair when they go out? Photographer Rae Martins Ashton headed back to their hometown, Grimsby, to capture nightlife in the North East and the timeless going out beauty look. Here they describe their experience. 

Born in Grimsby in the early 2000s, I’ve lived in southeast England for the majority of my life, but I still find nostalgia in the small seaside town. When I head back there for this photo project, locals directed us to Rift Bar – a new spot in Cleethorpes, supposedly home to the town’s younger generation. With a lack of larger club venues, the young people across the area rely on bars and pubs for nightlife culture, which are open as late as 6am across the strip. Many of these venues, including Rift, are freely connected to each other through back alleys, proving that ID and bag checks are a thing of the south. 

Rift boasts a mixed crowd when it comes to the age of partygoers. While the majority were young – many freshly 18 – there was also a number of older people, perhaps drawn by the local DJ playing almost exclusively JLS and Chris Brown. However, across the board, the crowd were considerably more friendly and unserious than those I’ve captured in the coastal towns of the south. Between the various catfights, bouncer rows and belligerent drunks being thrown over the entrance railings by a full crew of venue security guards, the night was equal parts chaotic and entertaining.

When it came to beauty, the looks, while toned down in comparison to those seen in big cities, tended to be the most done up I’ve found so far. The full coverage face beat is very much in favour, while still being somewhat natural and lowkey. My favourite look of the evening, of course, being my gorgeous little cousin who was too shy to be photographed! It seems that the make-up looks, alongside wider trends including fashion, were typically a few years “behind” the southern region.

I will always have a giant soft spot for northern England, particularly Grimsby town and Cleethorpes, and the cultures that surround it. In the future, I can only hope to have the opportunity to further explore and profile the area: the birthplace of blokecore, the home of traditional British beauty, and the best fish and chips you’ll find in the country.

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