Shorty Street star’s Cirque makeover is out of this world

Herald on Sunday - - ON THE TRAIL - Short­land Street Toruk: the first flight, Toruk: the first flight Avatar, — Brit­tany Keogh

star Ngahuia Piripi is used to spend­ing an hour a day in the make-up chair.

But in­stead of get­ting made up in her char­ac­ter Es­ther’s un­der­stated style, this week she opted for a much more the­atri­cal look.

Ahead of Cirque du Soleil’s tour of

cir­cus per­former Guil­laume Paquin used three shades of blue creme make-up to trans­form Piripi into a Na’Vi — a na­tive of the fan­tas­ti­cal planet of Pan­dora where the show is set.

In­spired by James Cameron’s ground­break­ing 3D film

fea­tures in­tri­cate cos­tumes and vis­ual ef­fects.

The New Zealand leg of the tour will kick off at Horn­cas­tle Arena in Christchurch on Fri­day be­fore mov­ing on to Auck­land’s Spark Arena later next month.

Its stars are “gen­er­al­ists”, who can per­form the gru­elling dance, ac­ro­batic and ae­rial rou­tines for which the Que­be­cois cir­cus has be­come renowned.

All 41 per­form­ers do their own make-up and af­ter more than 400 per­for­mances in two years Paquin, who plays one of the main char­ac­ters, has it down to a fine art. It takes him about 40 min­utes to pre­pare him­self and he fin­ished Piripi’s in an hour.

Piripi told the Her­ald on Sun­day she was “stoked” to get made over as a Na’Vi for the af­ter­noon.

HWatch the video at nzher­ald.co.nz

“I was like a lit­tle kid. Ev­ery­one wants to play dres­sups. When I get to wear make-up I just say, ‘give me some­thing that’s some­thing’ be­cause Es­ther al­ways gets noth­ing.”

She was sur­prised the heavy, cus­tom-made Mac make-up didn’t feel like paint on her skin, but in­stead was just like or­di­nary foun­da­tion.

Piripi said she’d love to get made up as a Na’Vi — or a Nga-Vi, the play on words she’d made on the char­ac­ters and her name — again for a birth­day or Hal­loween party.

“Or even show up to one of the shows and make peo­ple think I’m go­ing to be on stage.”

A huge fan of Cirque du Soleil, Piripi had been to pre­vi­ous shows and was “blown away”.

“The tal­ent is phe­nom­e­nal. It’s epic. It’s like a whole other world.”

Dean Pur­cell

Ngahuia Piripi with Cirque du Soleil per­former Kristi Wade.

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