34-year-old April Ross is a veteran Olympian. In 2012, Ross and her partner Jennifer Kessy took home the Silver medal in women’s beach volleyball and this year, she’s going for Gold. Right before heading out to Rio, Ross spends a few minutes with NewBeauty to discuss her beauty philosophy (she’s recently partnered with Aussie), how she changes her diet for optimal performance, and what it really feels like to be out there in a bikini in front of millions of people.
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NewBeauty: First, the age-old debate: Makeup at the gym or at the beach. Yes or no?
April Ross: I’ve tried wearing makeup in the past—obviously you want to look good! But I found that even a little focus on my appearance is a distraction for me. The preparation takes away a part of my routine where I could be focused on performance instead, so I keep it simple now. The only thing I do is apply sunscreen before getting on the court and put my hair up in a braid.
NB: I imagine your hair goes through a lot with training and being in the sun. How do you take care of it?
AR: My hair takes a beating with what I do, especially being on the beach and in the sand. It sucks the moisture completely out of it. I don’t always shampoo after working out, but I always condition with the Aussie Total Miracle 7N1 Conditioner (starts at $3). It rehydrates my hair after competing really well.
NB: What is your skin care routine like? Is there anything in particular you use that you find to be really good for someone who is in the sun a lot?
AR: In between practice and workouts, I always keep my skin hydrated so I moisturize a lot and I also drink a ton of water. I put heavier sun protection on when I get to the beach and also wear a visor to shade my face. I even wear a hat when I’m driving to keep as much sun off my face as possible.
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NB: Do you have a game day meal plan? Anything in particular that you eat that gives you energy and makes you feel in tip top shape?
AR: I change my meal plans day-to-day depending on how I’m feeling. If I’m more fatigued, I have more carbs. Overall, I’m conscious of the amount of carbs vs. protein vs. fat that I need. On game days, I increase the carbs. My go-to is actually peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And when I’m competing, I always drink Gatorade for the electrolytes.
NB: As someone who is in the public eye a lot, do you feel that the pressure for women to look or act a certain way has gotten better or worse over the past few years?
AR: I do think the dialogue surrounding body image and body acceptance has gotten better and the awareness is out there. Taking care of yourself is the most important thing, no matter what that looks like. But with social media, the athletes who are really in the public eye have more scrutiny. Media coverage and sponsorship opportunities sometimes can increase if you’re more attractive as a woman. For me, it does not matter what other people say – it matters how I feel about myself and how I’m taking care of myself. The healthiest thing is to focus on how you feel!
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NB: When do you feel most beautiful?
AR: I feel the most beautiful when I’m having the most fun! I work hard to be the best athlete I can be, to win and to be a good teammate, but it’s really important for me to enjoy the journey. When I recognize that I’m having fun, those are the moments when I feel the most like myself and the most beautiful.