Radio City Christmas Spectacular: The Beauty of Being a Rockette
While it's been proven the Rockettes of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular know how to kick it, their beauty routine is also pretty kickass. We know because they showed us. Two Rockettes, Tara Dunleavy and Allyson Kelly, invited InStyle to their backstage dressing room at Radio City Music Hall to learn all the secrets to their beauty routine from start to finish. They told us there are three beauty rules Rockettes must follow: 1) Wear a French twist; 2) Wear false lashes; and 3) Wear red lipstick. Talk about holiday look inspiration! Flip through the gallery to get the inside scoop.
Meet the Spectacular’s Stars!
Nine-year veteran Tara Dunleavy (right) and 8-year vet Allyson Kelly (left) welcomed team InStyle to see their beauty routine backstage. Holiday time is their busiest season—they each dance in up to five shows per day.
Rule No. 1 – French Twists
There are three rules to being a Rockette, and having a perfect French Twist is one of 'em. They’ve mastered it: Each can complete this pretty updo in about 90 seconds (or less!).
Start with a Low Ponytail
“The longer your hair, the bigger your twist will be,” says Allyson, an Annapolis, Md., native. She starts with the low ponytail and continues to “tuck and tuck and tuck” to fold it in, smoothing the sides along the way.
Stick a Pin in It
The Rockettes keep stashes of pins in the dressing room and right next to the stage for quick fixes before and during the show.
Voila! The Perfect Updo
Allyson checks a handheld mirror to see her work and sprays Herbal Essences hairspray to lock it into place.
Rule No. 2 – Fake Eyelashes
Next up: Each Rockette must wear false eyelashes. Each dancer is responsible for supplying their own because these are so specific to personal tastes.
Trim Them to the Right Length
When dealing with false lashes that are all connected, trim them to fit your eyes, suggests Tara. “I always have a scissors with me backstage,” she says.
Apply the Glue, Then Pat
Tara, who grew up in Queens, N.Y., applied her lashes right above the lash line and patted them to dry the glue and get rid of any excess.
Rule No. 3 – Must Wear Red Lipstick
MAC Cosmetics supplies the Rockettes with their two pro-hues: MAC Russian Red lipstick and MAC Brick lip liner.
Why It Works
“Over the years, we’ve tried to figure out what looks best on camera,” explains Tara, “as you don’t want it to have an orange or pink look.” Her tip: “Go for a little deeper red, because it looks better in pictures.”
These ladies aren’t hitting the stage in stilettos. Their heels are about three inches high—perfect to get in and out of eight rapid costume changes in the 90-minute show.
The Finishing Touches
Allyson clips on dazzling silver crystal earrings before heading to her first show.
An InStyle Moment
The Rockettes barely have a moment to spare, but when they do, they paged through the latest issue of InStyle. Wow, we’re so honored!
Ready to Hit the Stage
French twist? Check. False lashes? Check. Red lipstick? Check. They’re ready to go. “We always check each other before we go on stage,” says Tara.
The Show Must Go On
Tara and Allyson are ready to dazzle audiences with their kick lines, bevels and more. Scoop up your tickets at radiocitychristmas.com. Not in New York this holiday season? The Rockettes will star in the New York Spring Spectacular starting this March. Tickets are available now at newyorkspringspectacular.com.