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Lisa Armstrong reveals just how gruelling Strictly job really is

The makeup artist has worked on the BBC One show for 12 seasons

Jenni McKnight

Lisa Armstrong has revealed there is much more to her job on Strictly Come Dancing than just applying glitter to the celebrity stars who grace the show. The makeup artist – who is head of makeup and hair – detailed her gruelling schedule once the Saturday live show kicks off, revealing she is often on set for 15 hours!

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"On a Saturday, we start at 8:30am and wrap at 11.30pm. During the day, the celebs and their partners are constantly rehearsing and whizzing around the dance floor: the rollers are flying out, the lip-gloss is getting smudged and the eyelashes are hanging off," the ex-wife of Ant McPartlin told the Royal Television Society.


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"Dancers, especially the boys, sweat like you wouldn’t believe," the 43-year-old added. "The team is constantly on the go. We do the live show and then, after a break, record the results show. And then we’re back in the make-up room to clean everything ready for the following week." 

And considering the intricate makeup looks and costume changes that take place, Lisa's team is smaller than you might think. "Myself, five make-up artists, a hair supervisor, five hairdressers and four assistants – although, as we lose celebs during the series, the team slims down," she added.

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Lisa also needs to work closely with the different departments – including costume, staging and lighting – to make sure that her and her teams' handy work is highlighted in the best possible way. She explained: "You’re running up and down the corridor, talking with the costume department to ensure the dancers look just right. You work with each other, not against each other. We are a big family.

"The lighting and the staging needs to highlight the makeup, as it did with Faye Tozer and Giovanni Pernice’s Halloween routine a couple of years back.

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"She was half woman, half skeleton: from one angle, she was beautiful and, then, when she turned in her routine, you saw the gory side of her face. The routine was amazing and it was all about the make-up, costume, lighting and camera departments working together."

Despite the hard work, Lisa wouldn't change a thing about her job. She added: "Strictly’s the best show in TV entertainment – you can be so creative. The only downsides are the long hours and the lost weekends. But – you know what? – Who cares! I love the job."