Michelle Carter at the 2016 Portland World Indoor Championships
Dedicated fashionista and new world indoor shot put champ Michelle Carter tells us about looking good, feeling good and throwing far.
Michelle Carter has wanted to be on fleek longer than her own memory serves. At her first birthday party, her mum recalled she insisted on wearing one particular dress with white gloves. “I was the happiest one-year-old ever,” says Carter, whose passion for looking good has only increased over the years
“I’d always try and sneak red lipstick out of the house but my mum would always catch me. She didn’t think it was appropriate and made me wash my face.”
Look good, feel good, throw far
Carter, 30, says that her natural instincts still play a role in the rituals that have helped her reach the top of her sport (and to be fair, she even looks on-point in the dreaded IAAF passport photo profile page).
“When you wake up each morning, brush your teeth, shower and put on nice clothes, it sets the tone for the day,” insists Carter. “I want to make sure I’m looking my best because it gives me a boost of energy. If I look my best, I perform to my best.”
The facts back that statement up. Since 2012, Carter has finished in the top five at all six major global championships indoor and out, picking up bronze medals at the Doha world indoors in 2012 and Beijing last year, before finally striking gold at the world indoors last month. Carter’s stunning sixth round 20.21m in Portland set an area record and a personal best.
In a battle royale, Carter took world champs gold with her final put
Say my name, say my name
Her web URL shotdiva.com reflects Carter’s twin passions. She was initially nicknamed Track Diva because she was part of the track team at the University of Texas who took their swag seriously, and her moniker evolved from there.
“I’m not really a track diva. I’m more of a throws diva, so I thought why not Shot Diva? I liked Shot Diva because it is the perfect mix of what I do and who I am. I love the shot put and I am a diva because I love fashion and I like to look nice,” she says. “To look nice is not only part of me as an athlete, but also who I am as a woman.”
Let’s make up
It was downtime during the 2008 Beijing Olympics that inspired Carter to take her interest in cosmetics to another level. Carter helped four-time Olympic discus thrower Aretha Thurmond to apply her make-up.
“Aretha said to me ‘you should really look at doing classes because you are really good’," she recalls.
Carter duly completed a course as make-up artist and regularly puts her skills to good use. Ahead of the opening ceremony at the London 2012 Olympics she styled five or six Team USA members, including Thurmond, 2011 world 400m hurdles champion Lashinda Demus and hammer thrower Amber Campbell.
“The opening ceremony is a big deal,” says the six-time US champion. “Millions of people will be watching on TV. I wanted everyone to look their best!”
Partners is crime: Carter and fellow American Track Diva Natasha Hastings
How she does it
Prepping for a competition is a serious business. After taking a shower and laying her make-up out by the mirror, the meticulous process of hair and make-up can take up to two hours.
Moisturiser is applied followed by eyebrow filling: “I believe eyebrows frame your face,” Carter explains. Concealer is the next stage of the process, followed by powder over the concealer. The next step is eye shadow and eyeliner and powder on the face, followed by a bronze look on the cheeks. The process will be finished off with blusher, lipstick and lashes: “I can’t do without my lashes!”
Team USA red is naturally Carter’s lipstick colour of choice when on international duty. “It goes with the uniform,” she adds.
How not to do it
Carter likes to experiment more at the smaller meets in an effort to fine-tune her look at the Diamond Leagues and major championships.
It hasn’t always worked out. At one unspecified meet in humid conditions her mascara ran down her face: “I had raccoon eyes during the competition!”
OWNING IT: Brianna Rollins reppin' at last year's world champs. Carter was impressed with her look in Portland, too
💖 my teammates
Carter is not the only athlete out there with a passion for fashion. Her regular roomie and partner in crime at major champs is her 400m bae Natasha Hastings.
“We co-ordinate our stuff to make sure we have all the right cosmetics,” says Carter, who also reveals her admiration for world indoor 60m hurdles silver medallist Brianna Rollins.
“She really takes risks with her style and really owns it,” says Carter. “I loved the way she had her hair at world champs.”