By Jessica Groom
Sarah Jane sat down at her makeup chair after the last show of the day and grabbed the makeup remover wipes, sliding the box towards her. She had been looking forward to this for weeks and weeks, so much so that she had barely been able to contain her excitement about performing in a headlining play as an up-and-coming actress. But now that the first week was over, the reality had set in.
Caking on the show makeup eight times and then going out on the brightly lit stage to perform in front of hundreds of people was hard. Putting on a mask each time, vanishing beneath it, and transforming herself into a completely unrecognizable person was exhausting.
Sarah Jane closed her eyes to the harsh light of the lights in her dressing room and wiped the left side of her face with the wipe in her hand. She had to do that a couple times to make sure that every bit of the makeup, or her mask, was gone. Opening her eyes for a moment, Sarah-Jane saw the immense difference of her face when it was bare.
With makeup, her skin was flawless and her eyes popped with colour from the smoky eye shadow that lay on her lids. Her lips were a beautiful red, almost the exact colour of the perfect ruby, and her cheeks had the right amount of colour.
Without this mask that she wore during the play, Sarah Jane was not perfect. Her skin had some imperfections and the occasional blemish, and her eyes were not enhanced by the eye shadow. Her lips faded from ruby red to a light dusty rose and on the left side of her face there was a faint scar on her cheek.
Without the makeup, Sarah Jane was not the doll that the audience saw her as when she stepped on stage, but yet that was okay with her. When she looked in the mirror in the privacy of her apartment and saw her face free of everything, Sarah Jane saw a young woman with life experience.
She saw the tears cried over broken hearts, but also the smiles and laughter that came when the pieces were put back together. She saw the friends and the family that made her who she was. She saw the videos of musicals and Shakespeare plays put on repeat so she could memorize the lines and practice for countless auditions. In the mirror, she saw life in her eyes. She saw good things as well as bad things, including the scar, but all the same she was happy.
— — — — — — —
A few weeks later after the last show of the week, Sarah Jane was once again sitting at her makeup chair. Tonight, unlike some other nights, was going to be different. She was taking off the makeup that she wore on stage, but immediately afterwards she began to paint her face once again to form a new mask. There were people waiting in lines at stage door this night, she knew, and Sarah Jane felt like she needed to present a good face for them. It was not stage level, to be sure, but Sarah Jane knew that they still wanted to see this doll, this person held to almost unnaturally high standards, not the one who was imperfect.
Once she was finished, Sarah Jane looked in the mirror and took a deep breath before standing up and going to meet the lines of fans that were waiting outside the stage door for her to come out. She was not out there for long, but Sarah Jane still had to focus on keeping the bright smile on her face as she signed programs and took photos with the people standing in the line.
“WE LOVE YOU!”
Sarah Jane smiled to herself as she waved at the people, before walking away from the theatre, a security guard trailing behind her until she was far enough away from the lines of people. They loved her, and that was good, but sometimes she wondered if they would love the person that was underneath the mask of makeup, bright lights, and paparazzi shots in magazines.
— — — — — —
Months later, Sarah Jane was sitting in the back of a town car after the final night of her first headlining play. It was hard work for her, looking back on those months of blisters on her feet and blurry eyes from reading lines late into the night, not to mention a hoarse voice from the gruelling schedule of eight shows per week.
She did not have another job lined up at the moment, but that we okay with her. She had people to get back to and spend some quality time with. Just as Sarah Jane was thinking about this, her phone went off, signalling a text message had arrived.
Congratulations darling, cannot wait until you arrive back home.
Sarah Jane smiled to herself, completely free of any worries.
She could be herself, without any outside forces dictating her actions, for a little while at least.
This sentence seems a little awkward, but I’m not sure how to best make it flow and still sound how you want it.
Do you want to leave these lines in for the final draft in the magazine? How should these look with layout and formatting?
Lines here too.