How Sha’Carri Richardson Got Ready for Her First Met Gala Red Carpet

Photographed by Denise Stephanie

From the moment that Sha’Carri Richardson blew onto the scene this year, wowing the world with her lightning speed and resilient spirit, her bold personal style has become a cornerstone of her charismatic energy. Her ever-changing hair color, dazzling acrylic nail designs and lush lashes become a visual calling card of sorts for the 21-year-old athlete, placing her firmly within the pantheon of Black American runners like Florence Griffith Joyner and Jackie Joyner Kersee, who were known for blazing a trail both on and off the track—and making the world sit up and take notice.

Richardson’s whirlwind year has taken her to places she never thought imaginable, including tonight’s Met Gala. “It felt surreal,” she says of the moment that she received the invitation, and as a dedicated glam squad and multiple film crews shuffle in and out of her suite at The Plaza Hotel ahead of the event, the reality is slowly starting to sink in. “The more people keep coming in, the more it feels real,” she says, laughing and examining her nails, tonight done up in shades of red, black, gold, and white.

Photographed by Denise Stephanie

On a regular day, Richardson’s beauty routine zeroes in on the eyes and the lips—lashes, preferably mink, on the former, and a brown lipliner on the latter to provide a visual plumping effect, no matter the shade of lipstick. “You know how they say the eyes are the windows to the soul? Well, the lashes are the window wipers,” she says. She considers herself a beauty novice, having only begun exploring YouTube for tutorials and playing with makeup within the last six months or so. She’s been experimenting with her hair and nails for much longer, although tonight’s hair is a departure from her usual punchy hues: Working with hairstylist Nikki Nelms, Richardson has opted for long, inky black tresses that cause her to light up when she looks at herself in the mirror. Richardson also counts her tattoos among her daily beauty statements: “They tell a story,” she says, pointing out her Scripture-inspired ink as well as a dragon that breathes the word “misunderstood.”

Photographed by Denise Stephanie

When it came to the beauty brief for the night ahead, makeup artist Sheika Daley opted to emphasize Richardson’s favorite features. “Less is more, so we want her to look fresh and beautiful while playing up the eyes,” she says, explaining that the look should complement and not compete with the Theophilio creation that Richardson is wearing tonight. “Black is excellent, Black is strong,” Richardson says. “I’m very proud of the fact that I’ll be wearing a Black designer tonight, to represent that we’re here and we’re part of America.” On the red carpet as on the track, Richardson is excited to show the world what she’s capable of. As she puts it, “Texas girls, we go big or go home. If we’re not coming all the way through, then we’re not coming at all.”

Photographed by Denise Stephanie
Photographed by Denise Stephanie
Photographed by Denise Stephanie

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Photo: Getty Images

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