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What to Buy to Look Like: An ABT Ballerina

She wasn’t in the American Ballet Theatre, but she was a pretty hard-core ballerina. Photo: Fox Searchlight

Status can be a funny thing. Of course, it’s most obvious iteration comes with shiny hardware and easily recognizable logos, but it gets far more interesting as you narrow it down to the more opaque signals — when the way you tuck your shirt, or what you eat for breakfast, or your particular brand of notebook can mark you as in or out. And of course, what counts as a status item varies wildly across human tribes. In our series, Insider Goods, we’re talking to tribe members (some with their real names, some anonymously) to find out the status items among art-gallery assistants, or Broadway actors, or Capitol Hill interns. Today, we talk with Katie Williams, who’s been a dancer with the American Ballet Theatre and in the Corps de Ballet for nearly ten years.

“We’re sponsored by M.A.C cosmetics, but the one thing that tons of people use is the Glossier Boy Brow. Onstage, having defined eyebrows is one of the key parts of your face. The audience can be so far away, and that’s something that really stands out. People used to use an eyeshadow and basically draw on an eyebrow with liner, but that’s so hit or miss. The boy brow is amazing. It takes a minute and it gives you that full shape and color and evenness.”

“Everyone is very into this skin-care line called Jordan Samuel skin because he is a former dancer. We wear tons of makeup every night onstage and it’s really heavily caked-on makeup because it has to stay through the sweat and the hours of performance. He has this oil cleanser called the Plie cleanser and it takes everything off. It’s amazing. It’s really hard to find something gentle that also gets all your makeup off and he obviously knows what that’s like because he was a dancer. All his products are amazing but that’s the numero uno.”

“Dancers in my company are weirdly into kombucha. It’s become the trendy drink to have. It used to be coconut water, and some people are still into that, but everyone drinks kombucha now. I feel like it’s the perfect in-between before-lunch drink. It keeps you hydrated, keeps you refreshed, gives you a little energy, and obviously helps with immunity because of probiotics. We’re all about not getting sick.”

“The avocado toast from Le Pain Quotidien is the perfect pre-show meal. Before a show you can’t eat anything too heavy because you’ll probably puke onstage and you’re wearing really tight costumes. Avocado toast has healthy fats, a little protein, a little carbs. You feel satiated but can still go up there and jump and turn around and not worry. Everyone loves it.”

Foam rollers are huge. There’s a specific one that we all get that’s textured. It’s almost like a deep massage in a roller and it’s called Trigger Point. It’s like an extra-strength foam roller. People will bring them in their suitcases and wrap clothes around them just so they can have something to roll out their muscles in their hotel rooms. People also use little golf balls for under the arch of their feet.”

“Everyone wears Worishofers in the summer when our feet are all swollen and you still have to perform. They’re ugly-cute sandals because they’re orthopedic. When girls first see them they think they’re the ugliest shoes they’ve ever seen, and then after you wear them you’re like, Oh, they’re not so bad. You know you’re doing something good for your feet.”

“We’re constantly trying to keep our backs warm because a lot of people can get back spasms and have back trouble, especially in winter. The brand flexistretcher makes a vest called the Odile and it’s the best vest. You can wear it in the studio or out. It’s very sleek — not one of those puffers that you can’t do anything in — and it’s much more stylish than a Uniqlo puffer.”

“I have to talk about my Williams jogger pants. Ten of us from ABT started this line of clothing called Company Cooperative that transcends studiowear, but is inspired by ballet. It’s not athleisure, but for instance I can wear my joggers in the morning, on the airplane, going out for drinks at night. The clothes are so comfortable that you can wear them to bed, but you want to wear them going out. I call these joggers butter pants because they’re the softest most comfortable pants.”

“Then there are these track pants called Sauna Pants by a company called Chacott. As you can guess, they’re very, very warm and people use them to get in shape because they might speed up the process. You will sweat like a beast when you wear them. A lot of people also wear them in the morning when we’re warming up to get the body really warm. You can also just wear them in the winter when it’s cold.”

“Everyone is very concerned with hydration and we’re always making sure we’re staying on top of it because dehydration leads to muscle cramps and all kinds of bad things. You lose a lot of water when you sweat, so everyone has a Swell bottle they use and bring on tour. It’s another trendy thing, like the avocado toast, but they’re also the best. It’ll keep your water cold through a 12-hour plane ride.”

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What to Buy to Look Like: An ABT Ballerina