Skip to main content

RNZB-1When the lights go up, and the cur­tain lifts, Abi­gail Boyle takes centre stage with full makeup, slicked hair and tutu as a dan­cer in the Roy­al New Zea­l­and Bal­let. Yet des­pite the stress of con­stantly apply­ing and remov­ing makeup — not to men­tion the dan­cing in between — her skin pos­it­ively glows.

The dan­cer, who’s been with the com­pany for nine years now, has off-duty chic down pat.

Day to day when we’re in the stu­dio [rehears­ing], I don’t really wear a lot of makeup because I’d sweat it all off, but that’s a com­pletely dif­fer­ent story to when we’re in the theatre and you cake it on,” she says. “It gets a bit hard when there’s two shows a day — you put it all on, then take it all off, then put it all on again, take it all off.”

Abi­gail finds makeup wipes — whatever’s on spe­cial at the super­mar­ket — the easi­est way to remove it all after her hours spent on stage.

I would love to get facials and things like that, but I don’t have the money or the time. If I do have extra money, I usu­ally get my corns done! I go to a podi­at­rist more than I go to a [beauty ther­ap­ist],” she laughs.

She real­ises she’s lucky to have imper­fec­tion-free skin, attrib­ut­ing it to using qual­ity mois­tur­isers, like Lancôme and Estée Laud­er, which her mum has intro­duced her to, along with L’Oréal Youth Code BB Cream, her go-to for daily coverage.

It’s slightly heav­ier than a tin­ted mois­tur­iser. That’s all I wear — I don’t usu­ally put found­a­tion on unless I’m on stage.”

She adds Lancôme Teint Mir­acle to dis­guise under-eye circles, plus MAC Iri­des­cent Powder in Sil­ver Dusk to high­light cheekbones, brow bones and the cupid’s bow. Pinks, purples and oranges are her favour­ite col­ours — includ­ing Revlon Photor­eady Bright­en­er and Eye­liner in Purple Reign — along with a sweep of Napo­leon Cheek to Chic Duo blush.

Abi­gail pulls out a col­lec­tion of well-loved Estée Laud­er and Lancôme eye­shad­ows, in a myri­ad of dark, berry, spark­ling and nat­ur­al shades, which she switches between, on stage and off.

And des­pite her relaxed atti­tude towards beauty, she’s some­thing of a pro when it comes to stage makeup.

We do it ourselves,” she reveals. “You tend to learn in [bal­let] school how to do makeup for stage, then you learn and you grow and you find dif­fer­ent things. It’s all about cre­at­ing more fea­tures and mak­ing your eyes bigger.

You put white on the lid and then con­tour with the dark [shade] on the inside. Then you lengthen the eye­liner a little bit longer, and on the bot­tom [lid], so it gives your eyes a def­in­ite edge. Always wear lip­stick, red lip­stick — you can’t go on stage without it.”

Revlon is her favour­ite found­a­tion for stage — it “stays on, des­pite sweat” — teamed with “tonnes” of hair­spray, and a spritz of Lancôme per­fume, either Mir­acle or Hypnôse.

Hair is the real chal­lenge for this baller­ina. Abi­gail recalls one sea­son when female dan­cers were required to wear fish­tail braids, which she had “no hope” of mas­ter­ing. Luck­ily, a couple of girls in the com­pany were able to run around the dress­ing room styl­ing every dancer’s hair.

The real makeup fun, Abi­gail says, is in cre­at­ing an older char­ac­ter — which calls for cre­at­ive kohl wrinkles — or a role like a fairy, which calls for a gen­er­ous sprinkle of glitter.

I did the ugly step-sis­ter in Cinder­ella, and that was a free-for-all — we could be as ugly as we wanted. Just dra­mat­ic: what you would pic­ture a five-year-old doing, makeup wise!”


*Abi­gail Boyle per­forms in the Roy­al New Zea­l­and Ballet’s Allegro, at the St James Theatre, 15–17 August.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.