The Inside Edge with Sarah and Drew - Nov. 9

Flatt's new 'do, catching up with Ten

Rachael Flatt decided on a new hairstyle for her programs this season.
Rachael Flatt decided on a new hairstyle for her programs this season. (Drew Meekins)


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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to
(11/09/2010) - Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins get you caught up on the latest behind-the-scenes skating tidbits.

Flatt's short cut
Rachael Flatt has started the season off in serious style, with a silver medal at the NHK Trophy and a sassy short haircut. Last week, she and Drew shared a computer screen in Colorado to video chat with Sarah in Boston. Flatt showed up looking chic and fabulous, layered in shades of grey, complete with a very cute, form fitting winter coat. Before we moved onto serious topics, we had discuss the California-turned-Colorado girl's new hair.

"I actually really liked my long hair and didn't want to get it cut because I have a rounder face," Rachael said, laughing. "I got my hair cut shortly after Champs Camp. The judges wanted a different look for my programs, and they wanted to see a hairstyle that would compliment the choreography and the stories of my programs. Plus, they wanted to see my hair highlighted so that it would have a little bit more dimension on the ice."

Flatt told us that the first cut actually wasn't short enough.

"Each time I've gotten my hair trimmed since, it has become shorter and shorter!" she said. "I really like the length it is now, but I might change it up a little bit so that I don't have to pin my bangs back at all to keep my hair out of my eyes when I compete."

Moving along to on-ice fashion, Flatt said that she and her choreographer, Lori Nichol, found inspiration for her dress designs through Italian fashion magazines.

"It is very important to me to be involved with the design process. I like to feel good in my dresses, it adds a little extra sparkle!" she said with a smile. "For my short we just ripped a page out of a magazine, and the beading on the dress was based on that."

Flatt wore a dress from a past season for her free skate in Japan last month, as her costume for this season was not quite ready to make its debut. Her dress will, however, be ready to walk, or rather, skate, at Skate America this week.

"It'll be a brighter red than my NHK dress and will have straps, a deep V in front and a crystal belt. We're going for simplicity rather than over-the-top," she told us.

Flatt also mentioned that Ann-Patrice McDonough's mother Julie has made her competition costumes for the past seven seasons.

We joked with Flatt that we were startled by the gunshot in her "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" long program.

"We had had some cool movement where I was sort of ducking under the bullet, but people thought I was getting shot myself, so we obviously had to change that," she said laughing.

We asked Flatt for her thoughts on her recent trip to Japan.

"The rink was really hot, probably one of the warmest rinks I've skated in, so the ice was really soft," she said. "Unfortunately the programs in Japan weren't quite as good as what I've been training. But, it was really fun, actually!"

The Japanese media was interested in every aspect of Flatt's life, as well as in her skating.

"There was one reporter who came up and asked me, since I've skated to mostly romantic music, if I had ever been in love. I was like, 'Um, no! I get inspired by the music!' It was so funny!"

Amongst all the dress talk, we uncovered that Flatt is going to be a debutante this season. The ball will be held at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs in December, so she has been taking ballroom dancing classes and attending parties to prepare the debutantes.

"I've got my dress already. It was kind of fun picking it out!" she added, and then told us some of the many requirements of the gown.

"We have to have straps, and long white gloves, and only a string of pearls and pearl earrings. Oh, and no Swarovski crystals on the dress! There was one party where we had to learn to curtsy. We had these big petticoats on. A bunch of girls had never curtsied before, but I was like, 'I've got this down! I have years of practice!'"

Each debutante will have three escorts at the ball. Flatt's will be her father, a friend from home, and Patrick Chan.

As you probably know, Flatt is taking a year off from school before she attends Stanford University next fall. She's still working hard outside the rink, though, tutoring chemistry and math at her high school as a volunteer.

"I'm helping teach a class at the high school, mainly for kids who are elite athletes," she said. "We have one of the best pentathletes in his age group, a table tennis player, and a girl who's balancing three sports."

Flatt and her mother went to see Toy Story 3 this summer, and her mother got choked up during the scene where Andy heads off to college. Flatt, though, is excited and eager to go to college and become a California girl once again.

"I can't wait to get going. And to get back to California, where it's sunny and warm," she said.

Kazahkstan's Denis Ten recently moved from Moscow to California to train with Frank Carroll. We love Ten's skating, and we are looking forward to watching his career develop. We got in touch with him by email and asked him how he likes life on the Left Coast.

"Life is very different in California, but I really liked Los Angeles since worlds in 2009," Ten said. "Staples Center is my favorite place, I guess. One month ago I went there to watch Yu-Na Kim and Michelle Kwan's show 'All That Skate LA,' and I was really impressed. The show was amazing, and [the] ice arena gave me many good memories and motivation for hard work."

At the age of 15, Ten skated brilliantly in the Staples Center at the 2009 world championships and finished in eighth place. He's still only 17, so when he decided to move to California to train, his mother came with him.

"My mom moved to California with me," he told us. "My dad and older brother are living in Almaty, Kazakhstan. It was not an easy decision for my family to move."

Ten had been training in Moscow. California must have been a big change, right?

"The weather in L.A. is my favorite thing. When I lived down the hill in El Segundo, our ice rink was very close to Manhattan Beach, and I used to go there to run. Mr. Carroll is staying in Lake Arrowhead at the moment. Some skaters think this place has nothing fun to do, but I like our training location 'cause I can be more concentrated on skating. That's the reason I moved here. I don't really pay attention to anything around ice rink. If ice rink is good, everything is good."

What is it like working with Frank Carroll?

"Frank Carroll is wonderful coach. He has a big group right now, but he always finds a time to work with you. I'm really happy that I have a chance to work with him, and I can learn a lot from such a great coach. All his students moved to Lake Arrowhead with him, and it's cool that we can all be together. We get along very well!"

Ten gave us a little inside scoop on Evan Lysacek, who has new competitive programs and spent some time training them in Lake Arrowhead two weeks ago.

"He is a great skater and person as well," Ten said, about Lysacek. "He really surprised everyone at the rink when he started to do his programs, and he could make two clean programs [short and long] in a row without any mistakes. It's unbelievable! We are very lucky to have Evan as our role model."

Ten will compete at Skate America this week, and then he's off to Astana, Kazakhstan, for his national championships in December.

"This year is special for Kazakhstan," he said. "We will provide an Asian Winter Games in February. And I still can't believe that. I am really glad that we will have such a big event in Kazakhstan! This competition is my main event in the season, and I want to do my best there.

"My life is really changed right now. New environment, new coaches, new technique, new training system, new country. etc. Apparently it all affected my first competition in this season [The NHK Trophy, where Ten finished 12th]. But I'm already really excited for Skate America!"

Bits and pieces
We didn't have room for our "Best Invisible Accessory" nominations in the last blog. Shawn Sawyer won walking away at the NHK Trophy, for his Mad Hatter headgear and artistic juggling. Ross Miner was right in there though, firing a Luger and sipping a drink in his Casablanca free skate. (By the way, Sawyer's Alice in Wonderland free program is definitely going on our all-time favorites list. The movement and character development are superb! Don't miss it at Skate America).

Skate Canada didn't provide as many candidates. We'll give this one to Rudi Swiegers' vampire cape and fangs, exhibited during his Van Helsing free skate with partner Paige Lawrence.

Tomas Verner wins Cup of China for his vividly sketched umbrella; Samuel Contesti did enter the contest with his conductor's baton.

We'll have a special guest in our next blog, sharing thoughts about on and off-ice fashion.

Until then,
Sarah and Drew
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