The finishing touch
Exploring the role of makeup in sports
December 22, 2022
As someone who doesn’t wear flashy makeup regularly, typically only wearing eyeliner and mascara, junior Ashika Mittal enjoys being able to dress up for performances with her teammates on the MV Dance team. This year’s look, similar to previous years, was decided by the coach Katie Sullivan and includes foundation, concealer, blush, false eyelashes, and a signature red lip — Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink in Shade 50 Voyager.
Even though dance members say they have grown familiar with the routine of applying makeup and could get ready very quickly if they wanted to, they usually dedicate an hour before performances to get ready together and use the time for team bonding.
“I’ve had some of the deepest conversations with the people on the dance team while getting ready,” Mittal said. “It’s a nice time to unwind, put makeup on [and] just talk with each other. Usually, we’re in a very fast paced environment — trying to dance and stretch and do all that stuff — [but] getting ready together is a time [to] talk to each other.”
Senior Joyce Lui carefully applies a row of silver stars underneath her eyes, the last step in her performance day makeup routine. During Color Guard’s fall season, the team explored a winter-like look with icy blues and silver glitter to match its “True North” theme.
To keep all members’ looks as uniform as possible, the Color Guard leadership, which Liu is part of, plans out a list of products for members to purchase from drugstores or amazing to ensure they are affordable. The team’s makeup is usually very heavy, with vibrant colors and false eyelashes, which Lui says is especially helpful during fall shows when Guard performs on an outdoor field, with spectators in the bleachers far away.
“It’s hard to see everyone’s faces, so we have to have more dramatic makeup — jewels, liner, false lashes,” Lui said. “But in a more intimate setting, like [Winter Guard, which performs indoors], we still do [dramatic makeup] because it enhances facial expressions. We’re a performing art, so having that visual element adds a lot to a performance.”
Sophomore Zoe Bao gathers in the gym bathroom with the rest of the cheer team, the captains following behind with a speaker to blast music as the members get ready before the Monta Vista vs. Fremont football game half-time performance. Cheer team members had decided to place pink and yellow dots on their faces to match the game’s neon theme. As a teammate drew dots on Bao’s face, she says she felt closer to her team than ever.
“We have so much fun getting ready together, especially when we’re doing those extra steps like drawing dots or painting numbers,” Bao said. “We get together 20 minutes before we’re actually supposed to meet up and do our makeup together.”
Cheer tends to have more dramatic looks — competition days feature dark eyeshadow, lashes and a bold red lipstick. Game days feature a simple lip gloss, but always have a gold eyeshadow for Matador spirit.
Bao also enjoys wearing makeup outside of cheer, although she usually goes for a neutral look rather than the striking cheer makeup that is intended to stand out.
“It grabs [the] audience’s attention,” Bao said. “And for me, it makes [me] feel more confident. When people are looking at me, I can feel good about myself.”