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To celebrate the launch of Idôle L’Intense, British superstar sprinter Dina Asher-Smith slowed down long enough to chat with Lancôme about the importance of role models, following dreams and the power of a great beauty routine.
As the fastest woman in British history, Olympian, Dina Asher-Smith, had us at on-your-marks-get-set-go! However, besides setting new standards, advocating for change and empowering other women – ideals she shares with our new fragrance Idôle L’Intense – she’s fast becoming a beauty and fashion icon, too.
Indeed, the long-time Lancôme devotee’s pre-race powerup involves a spritz of scent and a slick of lip gloss. Lancôme caught up with Dina to find why she’s on the fast track to greatness.
Lancôme: Idôle L’Intense celebrates women who set standards, challenge societal norms and change the world for the better. Do you recognise these ideals in your approach to life?
Dina Asher-Smith: I think I live by those ideals almost by accident. In life and in my athletics career, all want to do is to be happy and to be the best person I can be. What “best” means now might not be same as it will mean in five to 10 years, it’s constantly changing. I find that controlling tangible everyday things – like the time targets I want to achieve on the track and eating well - helps me to strive for bigger goals.
Lancôme: Idôle and Idôle L’Intense share a message of female empowerment and celebrate women supporting women. How important is it for you to use your platform to recognise, support and encourage upcoming female talent?
Dina: It’s something I hold close to my heart. If I get to do something that sportswomen or black sportswomen haven’t done before I like to think it will open a door, not just for me, but it will be a door that I can keep open for others to come through too. I get that from my mum, she’s like that as well!
Lancôme: We like to think of Idôle L’Intense as a spritz of confidence. How does Idôle L’Intense make you feel?
Dina: For me, Idôle L’Intense’s scent evokes the excitement I feel when I arrive at a foreign destination for a race and the sense of strength, confidence and happiness that I have when I’m ready to give a race my all. I love that moment when I step off the plane and I know I have confidence in myself and in my strength, and I’m excited about the possibilities ahead.
Lancôme: You’ve spoken in the past about makeup and beauty routines playing an important role in your preparation for big sporting events. Is that still the case?
Dina: It’s part of the preparation process, that psychological feeling of being ready. I allocate an hour for hair and beauty before I race, sometimes I don’t need a full hour but having that time helps to calm me down. You can get jittery and shaky before a big event, but having to sit down to do your makeup requires control and concentration, you can’t have shaky hands while you do your eyeliner or you’ll poke your eye! You have to be really grounded and centred to do it, so it helps with my race preparation. I use setting spray and powder, and the last thing I put on is lip gloss. It’s a performance, it’s like going on stage, so I of course wear perfume.
Lancôme: When you’re off the track, are there any beauty or self-care routines that are particularly important to you?
Dina: I’m a big skincare person, I feel like it’s therapy. I like processes. I apply a facemask before I go out because I like the feeling of being really well prepared and put together. I may not wear a full face of makeup every day, but I love creams, serums, exfoliators and cleansers. I’ll definitely do a facemask if I have back-to-back competition days. I find sheet masks help my makeup to hold really well.
Working with Lancôme is a very special opportunity for me because when I was at school, Lancôme was one of only two brands that made foundation shades for my complexion. So, I always wore Lancôme as it was the one I liked and the one that made products right for me.
Lancôme: When you wear fragrance, do you wear it for yourself, for others or both? How do you like to apply scent?
Dina: I love perfume so much, it’s my dad’s favourite present for me! I’ll spray some on my wrists and rub them together, and spray around my neck and waft it. I wear fragrance for myself. I’ll wear some even just going to the supermarket!
Lancôme: To people who don’t follow athletics your face may be familiar from magazine covers and fashion shoots. How do you manage that change of scene?
Dina: A sporting mindset helps me so much in all aspects of my life and I carry it across to fashion and beauty shoots too. I’ll always ask photographers for criticism as I want to get better and to evolve. Even if what I’ve done is good, I want to know how to be better next time. You can always get better even if what you’re doing is already great. A sporting mindset is also about focus and getting into the zone, as a sportswoman you’re able to focus at the flick of a switch, which definitely helps.
Lancôme: Who are your idols and how have they helped shape who you are today?
Dina: I definitely have idols, women like Serena Williams, Christine Ohuruogu, Jessica Ennis-Hill, they’re very important to me. I’ve never seen them as people I want to copy though, it’s more about respecting what they have achieved; how they’ve worked so hard; how they hold themselves, and how they live their lives with honesty and integrity. I really respect those women, but I have always wanted to be myself as well, to be my own person and to see where that takes me.
Lancôme: What does being an inspirational figure for so many mean to you?
Dina: It’s something I’ve become more comfortable with as the years go on. As a 19-year-old being told you’re a role model felt odd as I was looking up to people myself – and I still am! But it’s never felt like a heavy weight to bear, rather it’s an honour and a privilege. It’s something I grew into and something I continue to grow into as I mature as a woman.
Lancôme: What advice would you share with young women just starting to figure out their futures?
Dina: I would say, “be patient,” which for a sprinter does not come naturally! Work hard and be patient in combination. What you’re aiming for may not come the next day or the next week, but by believing in yourself and believing that the work you have done has value, the results will appear when you least expect them. Believe in yourself and don’t allow yourself to impose limits on what you believe you can do.
Life is too short to do something you don’t enjoy. It’s easy for me get up every day and do what I do because I love it. You’ve got to find something you love and enjoy.
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