Inside the Beauty Routine of American Ballet Theatre's Isabella Boylston
While undoubtedly best known for her dancing, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston has also been getting noticed for her style by Allure and Vogue—and with good reason. Her Instagram feed features a mix of on-trend athleisure wear and detailed dresses from runway designers like Valentino and Anna Sui, none of which would be complete without the makeup and hair to match. With a penchant for skin care and an ever-growing lipstick collection, Boylston talked us through some of her beauty must-haves on and off the stage.
Photo by Jayme Thornton
Jordan Samuel The After Show Treatment Cleanser
"Jordan used to be a dancer, and this is amazing for taking off stage makeup. It's a gel you put on your skin dry. When you wash it off, it foams as it picks up all of the dirt and makeup."
Jordan Samuel Hydrate Facial Serum
"I use this at night after the cleanser."
Hadabisei Kracie Face Mask
"If my skin looks dry, I use these Japanese moisturizing masks. Someone on a photo shoot recommended them, which is how I learn about most products."
MDSolarSciences Mineral Tinted Crème SPF 30
"If I'm not rehearsing or performing, I won't wear makeup. But I do wear sunscreen every day. I get this at Credo, an all-natural beauty store in SoHo. It's mattifying, but it feels velvety on the skin."
Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation
"I use this more like a concealer, putting a little under my eyes, on my nose and on my forehead before blending it out."
MAC Eye Shadow in Twinks
"I've been using this since I was 15. I even use it for my stage makeup. I just apply more."
Chantecaille Faux Cils Mascara
"I don't like waterproof mascara— even for stage."
Glossier Boy Brow
"I just brush this through my brows."
Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Rose
"I own so many lipsticks, but this is my day-to-day color."
YSL Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick in Rouge Rose
"This hot pink is extremely bright, but it's also really flattering."
Face Stockholm Matte Lipstick in Evita
"Janie Taylor gave me this as a merde gift, and I use it as my stage lipstick. It's matte, so it stays put and doesn't end up all over your teeth."
"For everyday, I either wear my hair down naturally or in a ponytail. I don't even own a curling iron or a blow dryer. The only part of my hair-care routine that's elaborate is that I see Aura Friedman at Sally Hershberger for highlights. She's even dyed the ends pink before, which was really fun."
Michele Byrd-McPhee's uncle was a DJ for the local black radio station in Philadelphia, where she was born. As a kid she was always dancing to the latest music, including a new form of powerful poetry laid over pulsing beats that was the beginning of what we now call hip hop.
Byrd-McPhee became enamored of the form and went on to a career as a hip-hop dancer and choreographer, eventually founding the Ladies of Hip-Hop Festival and directing the New York City chapter of Everybody Dance Now!. Over the decades, she has experienced hip hop's growth from its roots in the black community into a global phenomenon—a trajectory she views with both pride and caution.
On one hand, the popularity of hip hop has "made a global impact," says Byrd-McPhee. "It's provided a voice for so many people around the world." The downside is "it's used globally in ways that the people who made the culture don't benefit from it."
Just four years ago, the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomed its first class of BFA students. The program—which boasts world-class faculty and a revolutionary approach to training focused on collaboration and hybridity—immediately established itself as one of the country's most prestigious and most innovative.
Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:
Every dancer knows there's as much magic taking place backstage as there is in what the audience sees onstage. Behind the scenes, it takes a village, says American Ballet Theatre's wig and makeup supervisor, Rena Most. With wig and makeup preparations happening in a studio of their own as the dancers rehearse, Most and her team work to make sure not a single detail is lost.
Dance Magazine recently spoke to Most to find out what actually goes into the hair and makeup looks audiences see on the ABT stage.