Glamour Puss

Chrissie Hammond has been playing Grizabella, "the glamour cat", for a year now - a role she describes as "passionate and dramatic, just like me." Chrissie applies her own make-up - did she have lessons?  She laughs at the suggestion: "When you join the company, Karen, the make-up artist, does half your face and you copy what she's done on the other half.  They take a Polaroid of your face for you to use as a guideline - and then you're on your own."

The make-up takes an hour for each performance, sometimes twice a day.  Does it ever get boring?  "Never.  I quite look forward to it.  It's very ritualistic for me, a nice "chill" time.  I settle down and focus on the performance ahead.  I've also noticed that if I make a mess of applying my make-up, I tend to mess up my lines, too!"

Chrissie puts the finishing touches on Grizabella

Does Grizabella look the same all over the world?  "The face of Grizabella has changed dramatically since the show started, but it's a standard look now.  That said, the brushes can only follow the contours of the face, so each one will look slightly different."

Some actors avoid make-up when not performing - "Not me, I always wear it, though not a lot.  But a funny thing happened a few weeks ago: I was getting ready to go out with my partner, who was getting impatient, pushing me to hurry up.  In my haste, I started to draw a little black nose on my face - I really do think he would have let me go out like that, if I hadn't realised what I was doing."

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Source: December 2000 Cats programme.