For an A-list celebrity, awards season isn't just the chance to get wined and dined and wear pretty dresses. It's a weeks-long gauntlet of intense personal improvement, all intended to culminate in one picture-perfect moment when they step out onto the red carpet at the Academy Awards. And aesthetic perfection doesn't come easy—or cheap. Contrary to what they’d have you believe, stars don't just roll out of bed looking perfect; the process of getting as smooth, fit, shiny, and svelte as they can possibly can starts weeks in advance. Want to rock the red carpet like they do? The Oscars are only a month away—better get started now.
Get it Tight(er)
Most celeb trainers start clients on a pre-awards show regimen about six weeks before the event—even if the celeb is super-skinny to begin with. According to trainer Valerie Waters, “Those first three or four weeks: full body workouts. We want to burn tons of calories, we want to get that metabolism going, and we want to feel strong and fit.” Stars do tons of cardio—way more than the usual “hiking” or “yoga” that they claim keeps them slim. As the big day approaches, once a female client knows what dress she’ll be wearing, a trainer may add in special weight-training exercises to target and highlight certain areas. If the client is wearing a strapless dress, she’ll do extra rows or presses to define her shoulders; if her dress is backless, she’ll do extra toning exercises to firm up that area.
Along with fitness, diet is a huge part of red carpet prep. Stars prepping for an awards show appearance are ordered to eliminate refined flour and wheat products (to reduce bloating), processed foods, alcohol, butter, and sugar, at the very least. Until awards season is done, many subsist on leafy veggies, steamed fish and chicken, fruits, nuts, and green tea. Some take the extreme route and do juice fasts or detox cleanses.
Oz Garcia, celeb nutritionist to Heidi Klum and Hilary Swank, told _Elle_ that he recommends his clients indulge in frequent massages to promote relaxation and circulation, and to sleep at least eight hours per night. Less stress means less cortisol, a hormone that can contribute to weight gain. A high-profile star may get a massage every day during the week before the Oscars.
A couple weeks before the show, many stars turn to cosmetic dermatologists and plastic surgeons for a few tiny tweaks. One popular choice is a series of treatments with the Zerona laser, which uses pulsed light to shrink fat cells. After six sessions (at $500-$700 apiece), patients can lose up to five inches.
To prevent any jiggling in the jowls, cleavage, or back of the arms, some celebs opt for Thermage treatments, which use radio waves to stimulate tissues to tighten. They may also indulge in a little IPL, microdermabrasion, Botox, or fillers like Restylane and Juvéderm to fill wrinkles and marionette lines.
One of the perks of celebrity is being able to afford quick-fix treatments for problems like dingy teeth. While us plebes resign ourselves to marginally effective whitening strips, stars can afford treatments like the Pola Office +, a whitening system using a 35 percent hydrogen peroxide solution to remove stains from teeth (for reference, most home whiteners use about 10 percent hydrogen peroxide). Cosmetic dentists-to-the-stars like New York City’s Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor offer the treatment, which costs about $1200, and whitens teeth in as little as a half hour.
Now’s the time to invest in wraps and peels to improve body skin, along with facials to remove debris and produce a glow. Celebs like Kate Winslet and Susan Sarandon are big fans of Tracie Martyn’s Resculpting Facial. At her salon in New York, Martyn uses a special machine to electrically stimulate skin into a taut-er version of itself, at a cost of around $400. But that seems like a steal compared to Mila Kunis’s red-carpet skin prep for the 2011 Golden Globes, when she indulged in a facial from skin expert Scott-Vincent Borba that used rubies and diamonds to exfoliate and brighten, at a rumored cost of $7000.
Even after all that buffing and polishing, celebrity skin still needs an extra finishing touch, and no one wants to risk a self-applied fake tan. Before awards shows, celebs like Kaley Cuoco hire a tanning expert like St. Tropez’s Fiona Locke to come give them a fake bake in the privacy of their own home. Locke uses a customized mix of products to give each celeb a completely bespoke glow, matched to her natural skin color and the shade of her dress.
After weeks of work, thousands of dollars in fees, and delirium brought on by lack of carbs, stars are ready to begin the process of getting manicured, styled, made up, and dressed up. It’s hard work, but once she steps out of the limo, looking naturally refreshed and naturally beautiful, it’s all worth it.