Wicked: Alexia Khadime

Going green for her art, the Wicked actress takes us through intricate backstage preparations

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Alexia Khadime, Actress, Wicked

I play the role of Elphaba in Wicked, so I’m the green girl, evidently [laughs].

How long does it take you to put all the make-up on?

Roughly on average, about 30 to 40 minutes to do the make-up, and we use a water-based paint, which makes it I suppose easier aswell to get off. It’s not a grease-based one, it’s a water-based one.  Originally it was taking me forever, and I was like why isn’t this stuff coming off? No, I’m joking [laughs]. Its quite quick now as I’ve got the right removers and the right cleansers and things like that, so it probably takes, I don’t know, about 15 minutes. It does rub off a little bit but you know, the girls are backstage and George is backstage helping me out and touching me up if it tends to start rubbing off a little.

Do you always have help getting ready before your performance?

Yeah I do. I think I’d be really horrible [laughs] if I did it myself. But no, Georgia’s great.

So basically we’ve just started to put my main colour on: green. And it goes all over my face and, and you can see, my ears, and I also do my hands. And you notice that my nails are painted green, they have to be painted. So now I’m just starting to put on my lip. I literally, what I do tend to do is line my lips first and then fill in with the colour green that matches, and Georgia’s actually powdering me so that the colour stays and dries. Georgia is going to probably highlight my cheeks. She highlights it with a dayglow, sort of like a bit of a UV for my cheeks, again, still green. My actual greens that I use, there are three different greens mixed together to get the green that they wanted, so its different for me as opposed to the other Elphabas who have played it around the world.

Georgia is now giving me a little blusher and it’s a purple colour, which I suppose gives me a little more structure around my face where she highlights my brow and makes it sort of stand out a little bit more.  Now she’s filling in with an eyeshadow, a sort of purpley colour again. In Act Two, though, I tend to have a bit more of black so I’m more of an older-looking Elphaba, this is more of a fresh, younger-looking Elphaba. And now I’ve got to powder my hand and do my other hand.  Georgia is now doing my eyebrows. It’s just a black that she uses to do my brow. And just mascara to bring out the eyes… And that’s pretty much it. Once I’ve done my hands, I let them dry a little, then we’re pretty much done make-up wise. Someone comes to help me get dressed in all my stuff so I don’t get green on everything.

I’m now having my wig put on.  And this wig has been specifically made for me, so it fits correctly. They’re using a glue to keep down the wig lace, as you can see here, so its literally just stuck down to my face. All these little bits that you don’t get to see, like putting on the make-up - how long that takes, making the costumes – how long that takes: that’s quite, quite something.

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This film observes Alexia's nightly make-up routine as the actress is prepared for the show, revealing exactly how the perfect shade of green is achieved, and how the colour stays on.

Actress Alexia Khadime goes green every night for her role as Elpheba in the hit musical Wicked at London's Apollo Victoria Theatre.Wicked goes back prequel-style to the earlier escapades of the witches of Oz before Dorothy dropped in, when Elpheba was destined to become the familiar green-skinned Witch of the West. Based on a book by Gregory Maguire, Wicked has broken box-office records worldwide since its premiere in 2003.