Olivier Awards 2014: Backstage Gossip from the Styling Suite

Tuesday, April 15th 2014 0

Red carpet ready with MAC and Bumble and Bumble

This weekend, my sister and I attended the Olivier Awards as special guests of Bumble and Bumble. It was one of the best nights I have ever had the pleasure to enjoy and frankly I am heartbroken that it is all over. Here's the insider scoop from someone who tried her hardest to play it cool but couldn't help but feel like Cinderella at the ball for one night of magic...


To begin our experience we checked into the Rosewood Hotel, occupying a hotel room with the comfiest bed I’ve ever known and a mini fridge stocked with everything from champagne to Grey Goose vodka. After collapsing into a pile of pillows and admiring the Downton Abbey-esque bathroom, it was time to head downstairs to the Styling Suite.

Teams from MAC Cosmetics and Bumble and Bumble were on hand to pamper the evening’s guests. From Kathleen Turner to Alexandra Burke, there were ladies from all areas of theatre and entertainment around the room. I got to sneak peek all of the dresses, the hairstyles and the make-up, and even got a little smile from Kathleen herself! My first stop was a styling session with Mark Coates, head of training at Bumble.



Unsure of how to have my hair, I decided that when in Rome I should do as the Romans do, and asked Mark to give me that classic beachy Bumble hair. Here’s a step by step guide as to how he achieved it.


Step by step to beachy, Bumble hair:

1. Mark took Thickening Hair Spray and applied it to the roots of my dry hair in sections. Then, he took the hair dryer and dried this in, all the while working it into the hair with his hands.

2. Next he applied Does It All spray all over the hair. Mark told me that this worked both to protect the hair for upcoming heat styling and also to add texture to the hair because it was a little too clean to hold anything.

3. Then for the famous Surf Spray. Mark worked Surf Spray into my hair, whipping sections around in a circular motion to really work it in.

4. Mark used tongs to create sculpted curls, and pinned each curl into a roll. Ahead of my make-up appointment, this allowed my hair to cool for the duration of my appointment.

“Leave your hair to cool before you move it,” he tells me when I ask for his top tips on achieving long lasting, perfect curls. “Lots of people curl the hair and then run their fingers through it right away, but you’re pulling the curl out if you do this.” He tells me that pinning your curls into place is a great way to let them set, and can give a more even, symmetrical finish than classic hair rollers.

Me and Cher

With hair set in pin curls, I took to MAC to meet Cher Webb, one of their Senior Artists. I couldn’t have had more of a scream with Cher; as we got to talking, we realised that we had two hysterical mutual friends (Ross and Rose, the infamous brother sister duo from Illamasqua) and the rest was history. Aside from the comedy value, Cher created the most beautiful make-up for me, and make-up that lasted the evening without looking too heavy. I’d heard so much about her that I didn’t really set a criteria; I asked her merely to do whatever she thought herself, and the finished result was a feline smoky eye with glowing skin and a bright lip.

My dress was a soft pink with a mirrored jungle print (it’s from Ted Baker and you can find it here) and so it did a lot of talking. For this reason, we kept the colours of my eye make-up netural with champagne golds and warm browns and opted for a colour pop lip in Impassioned. We finished the blend with a flick of jet black liner and a set of No.7 lashes, quite mod in theme with staggered bursts of fullness. For that hit of red carpet glamour Cher pressed a little Reflects Glitter in Gold to give my eyes a high shine sparkle.

The key to Cher’s technique was layering. I noticed that she built product after product in very small amounts, leading to a blended smoky eye that simply looked flawless. My top tips from observing her at work are to ensure that you have plenty of clean blending brushes to use in any one look (MAC 217 brush is your no.1 necessity here) and to use lots of flesh toned shades to create your shape before deepening the template with any darker shades.

I confessed to Cher that despite being a complete MAC obsessive, there was one area of the range that I never seemed to get on with – their foundations. Preferring to opt for a fresh, glowing base, I wasn’t sure that they had something for me. She proved me wrong by using their Mineralise Moisture foundation, which left my skin dewy, luminous and yet concealed of redness. On the cheeks she blended a mix of Powder Blusher in Peaches with an iridescent powder, and topped the lot with a hearty dose of Vanilla pigment to highlight.

Once our make-up was complete, Maria and I had our hair finished. Maria had a big bouncy blow and I had opted for more dishevelled curls, but we both loved our styles.

Maria's Hair

Me Mark and Brona

Then to the evening itself. For the first time, I walked a red carpet which was an experience I’ll never forget. As I strolled along, there were famous faces to each side of me, attending to their delighted fans. From Judi Dench to Kristin Davies and even Barbara Windsor, it was hard to know where to look.

Me and Maria

The ceremony was around three hours in length, punctuating award celebrations with performances from some of London’s best musicals. From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to the Sound of Music, it was just a dream to see highlights from across the West End. Something that I hadn’t anticipated would be quite so enjoyable was hearing the speeches of the winners. Some of them were really emotional – thank the lord for the tissues in the gift bag!

The real highlight for me was at the very end though, when Benny and Bjorn from ABBA took to the stage and joined the cast of Mamma Mia for an ABBA medley. I am having to give some serious thought as to whether I even want to stay in beauty any more, because Mamma Mia looked like such a joy that I might just have to audition myself…

A truly brilliant evening that I will never, ever forget, I know for sure that I will be getting tickets to the Olivier Awards every year from now on, and that I have a long list of musicals to get to before then.

A huge thanks to Bumble and Bumble for having me – the pleasure was all mine.


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