Behind the scenes of a red carpet look.


Mia suggested that instead of a video this week, I list every thing I like about strawberry flavoured ice cream.

Ha ha ha! As if. Everyone knows strawberry ice cream is revolting. No, what Mia actually suggested is that I do a rundown on my hair and makeup at the ARIA awards on Sunday. Normally I would laugh maniacally and say such a thing is ridiculous, but she elegantly reminded me that sometimes people find it interesting knowing how much work goes into a red carpet look, and how it’s achieved. And I kind of agreed, because I love pervy shit like that. Annoyingly I am the subject of this particular piece of pervy shit, which takes a bit of the fun out of it for me, but hopefully not for you.

Also, I’m happy to be self-indulgent on the off chance it might encourage YOU rascals to try something new. There is no point people like me telling you what The Big Trend is right now, and then trying to boss you into said trend – in this case, the roaring ‘20s, the great Gatsby, embellishment and jewels, glitter, jazzy broads – and then never doing it myself to show it can, nay, should be done. Of course, as you can see I went to the far end of the spectrum in this case, but you needn’t quite go that far. Some doll-like lashes, lined eyes and a strong berry-coloured lip might be quite enough.


Now, first things first: The reason I was at the ARIAs was not because I was up for Best New Male Artist, (one day they will recognise my talent as Australia’s freshest beat-box operatic rapper), but because my boyfriend, as one half of Hamish and Andy, was up for Best Comedy Release, which they subsequently won. (Applause!)

Second things second:  I did neither my hair nor my makeup. I simply instructed far more talented people in the field, and let them get to work. I’d like to note here that I generally do my own mug and mop for such things, but as you can see I opted for quite the dramatic look this time, and there was no chance in Helsinki I could pull this off.

The hair.

I asked Mr. James Pearce (find him at Barney Martin hairdressers in Surry Hills, and do find him should you be keen on a fancy ‘do) to create sculptured finger waves, of the kind worn by those fabulous dames in the earlier part of the century. But not the brushed-out, movie star ones; the theatrical wet-look ones. I drove to his house at 11am Sunday morning with dirty hair – it’s generally a good idea not to go for an updo with super clean hair – but knowing it was about to be gelled to the max, I figured why bother washing it first? Sjust more time spent washin’ and foamin’ and blow-dryin’, right ladies?! RIGHT.

The metal clips

Now, I have been taught how to do my own finger waves in the past, and done a few shitty attempts, but James is a maestro. First he wet my hair with a water spray, and ran a strong gel-prod through (evo) so that it was REAL wet and malleable and able to be sculpted and set into those outrageous waves with his fingers, like clay almost. He then clamped each of the ‘peaks’ with a metal clip, and let it set while he did the rest of the hair, including the back, which he left more dry, and tucked and pinned underneath in a loose, waved bob look you see people like Nicole Kidman and Jessica Alba do on the red carpet sometimes.


He then hair sprayed the heck out of it, but in targeted little doses, making sure each little hair was locked into place. I left his house in my shorts and t-shirt, with little else but sunscreen on, wearing the most fantastic helmet Bondi had ever seen.

The makeup.

Even Kim and Tyra enjoy a finger wave every now and then. Fancy that!

Because I write about makeup and things, sometimes I am lucky enough to have the superstars for makeup brands do my makeup. These are the trainers and the creatives, the people who teach the counter staff and makeup teams how to use prodz and create certain looks. On Sunday, Kate Squires, who is one of these exact people for Napoleon Perdis cosmetics, came to my house to do my face. (Swoon!) She arrived at 1pm, roughly ten minutes after I had got home from my hair adventure, and three minutes after I had jammed two turkey-on-rye-cruskits into a very hungry, increasingly vague and stroppy mouth. This was c r u c i a l  as if I didn’t eat now, there would have been a Food Gap from 10 am to the breadbasket at the awards at 5pm, because you just don’t get time for food on these days. As anyone who knows me will testify, I am about as friendly as an abruptly awoken Bengal tiger when I am hungry, so it was more of a safety move than a digestive one. I didn’t want to have to kill a man for a banana later on.

At 1:07 I was still in shorts and t-shirt, had no idea which shoes/bag/accessories I would wear, and was being picked up at 2:10pm for a 3pm red carpet. Cute!

Thankfully, I had that morning used a mask to make sure my skin was in good shape and ready to go (Sodashi Plant Essences mask to plump up and hydrate) and Kate is used to doing backstage makeup, (“theatrical and fast”). This meant she didn’t blink an eye when I, mustering up more charm than a baby sloth napping, asked if I could please be finished by 2pm. No problem, she said, smiling as she set up her gear, probably thinking I wanted the same smoky eye all people going to a fancy event ask for. And I’d like a 1920’s flapper look, I said, trying to be adorable and polite and hoping there was no lettuce in my teeth. She just smiled and set to work. It was magnificent.

Flapper girls

I showed her some references I had ready to go on my phone, (I highly recommend this whenever you’re getting your hair or makeup done, makes it easier for everyone) and we were off, with only mild distractions from a boyfriend running equally late, and needing to know where his: cufflinks, black socks, a safety pin and his keys were in four minute intervals. I asked for some glitter on the inners of my eyes to sparkle and balance out all the dark liner, and a heavy wine-coloured lip, and intense, doll lashes. (Care of the new NP lash collection – they have lash bars at their counters now – go get some on next time you have something on, why don’t you?) The rest I left to her.


By 2:04, she was done, and I looked into the mirror, and UH OH: I was the most glamorous woman in the universe. It was absolutely perfect. The hair came to life once the makeup was on, and I asked myself at what point did the modern woman become so lazy and uninspired with makeup and hair, because this brand of dazzling adornment is the best way to feel like one million Euro, and look like two million.

We took a few photos and I thanked her profusely, and then screamed to my room to chuck on my dress, and find the Right Bra and NOT FORGET deodorant, and ask KATE which shoe looked better, and decide on necklace or earrings, and cover up the faint aroma of fake tan with a lot of Tom Ford Black Orchid, and grab a clutch, and some mints and a lipstick that wasn’t the exact match but good enough (KATE assured me the lips she’d given me would last many, many hours: lip liner followed by layers of Napoleon Perdis Lip Gloss in Nude Rose) and a hand mirror for lip touch-ups and teeth checks, and keys and money and a phone that had about 4% battery left.

Hamish and Zoe

Once on the red carpet, which I mostly stand on smiling politely and watch as the boys take interviews and get snapped, there was sun, heat and wind. I could see these things annoying some of the dames with lovely long hair and soft updos and sexy-natural makeup. But me? With that helmet? That doll-like makeup? You wish. I was an unflappable flapper.

My makeup – and especially my hair – did not move the entire night. Annoyingly, I did have to eat and drink and talk and stuff, so I re-did my lips, but the rest stayed immaculate. It became a fun game for people waking by/my boyfriend to touch my hair; such was the cement-like intensity with which it had set. (Thankfully it washed out immediately.)

So, maybe you try the ‘20s look this party season. Maybe you go to a makeup counter and ask for a ‘flapper’ look…. or try doing your own finger waves… or pop on a sequinned or glittery dress, or even a pastel one or a plain black one with a drop waist…. Look, who knows what you’ll do. But I say give it a nudge! Try it out! Give it a go! It’ll take you roaring back to playing “dress ups” (or high school theatre) and you will look and feel absolutely dazzling. That cannot be a bad thing.  Which, be definition, makes it a good thing.

Here’s our gallery of the red carpet at the ARIAs…