Glamour on ice at Synchro championships

Skating is just one of their many talents

Members of the University of New Hampshire college team show off their make-up.
Members of the University of New Hampshire college team show off their make-up. (Jocelyn Jane Cox)


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By Jocelyn Jane Cox, special to
(02/23/2008) - There are no limousines, red carpet or diamonds borrowed from Harry Winston, but Hollywood's got nothing on Providence, R.I. this weekend, where the synchronized skaters are glamming it up by the dozens. You'd think they came to town with their own stylists and make-up artists, but like so many things in Synchro, glamour is a team effort.

Many teams gather in their hotel rooms beforehand to transform themselves using handy tools called HairDinis, Hairagami, and lots of hairspray. Jenna Longo from the Haydenettes senior team tells that they reserve an hour-and-a-half before their performances in order to perfect their hair and make-up. This year, for their free skate, they are going for a classy look to skate to "French Riveria" and "Hotel Martinez."

Some skaters do their own hair and make-up, but on most teams there are specific skaters who specialize in making everybody look great. One of the more dramatic looks this season is being worn by the University of New Hampshire collegiate team. For their free skate, which is a storm theme, they skate to, among other songs, "Rock You like a Hurricane" and a selection from The Perfect Storm. Overall, they're going for a look that is intense and fierce.

In their hair, they have gold glitter lightening bolts along their parts, which can be seen from above by spectators. Sammi Mick, who is in charge of the team's hairstyles, explains that it's "kind of like the storm is coming to fruition on our heads." Painted beside their left eyes, they have an abstract swirl which, as Haleigh Tessitore explains, "could represent a storm brewing or a skate blade, it's up for interpretation." UNH coach Christine Hardy says that their program basically starts with the theme. From there, they pick out the music and start choreography. Then they work with dress designer Del Arbour. Finally, they start trying different hairstyles and make-up techniques at practices, attempting to see the team from the judge's perspective.

Shannon Peterson, coach of the Crystallettes senior team, tells us that two members of the team do everyone else's make-up. Another member shops for their face paint, which comes mainly from MAC and Mary Kay. Also, some skaters need help with the parts in their hair. It's important to make straight lines both on and off the ice.

One of the challenges is when skaters are competing on more than one team for their organization, otherwise known as "cross skating." Juliana Bailey skates for both University of Michigan's collegiate and senior team. Factoring in all performances and official practices, she tells us that on the day of the free skate she has to change her hairstyle three times, going from an organized bun to a poofy ponytail and then back to an organized bun. There are seven other skaters on her team making the same switches. One of the main goals, of course, is to make all the skaters match from head to toe. But looking fabulous is a good way to dazzle both the audience and the judges.