Winning Look

How This Olympic Volleyball Player Feels Her Best On The Court

According to Chiaka Ogbogu, brown eyeliner and Megan Thee Stallion music is a pre-game *must.*

Professional volleyball player, Chiaka Ogbogu, shares her pre-game rituals, the swear-proof makeup s...

For ballerinas, ballroom dancers, and the like, makeup is an integral part of their lives, allowing an athlete to have their faces truly “pop” while performing on stage.

One wouldn’t necessarily pair the sport of volleyball with full-beat glamour — though Chiaka Ogbogu, an Olympic gold medalist and volleyball player who currently spend her pro season in Turkey, explains that that’s not the case at all. “There are a lot of women in this sport — and all sports — that are equally as enthusiastic about beauty. We are heavily influenced by the beauty and fashion world, so it's been really cool to get that recognition.”

In other words? It’s an outdated sentiment to assume that a love of makeup and athletics can’t mix. And for many pro athletes like Ogbogu, a sweat-proof glam routine often equates to more confidence while playing on the court.

Below, the Texas-born athlete tells Bustle her the pre-game rituals she swears by, her tips for keeping your cosmetics intact while working out, and more.

What your relationship is like with makeup?

I knew nothing about makeup, really. When I started playing professionally overseas, in Turkey specifically — which is the fashion and beauty capital of the world — the girls here get glammed, and they have the full-cut winged eyeliner, really good lip liner, the whole nine yards. That’s when I really started experimenting with looks and being open to the idea of playing volleyball in makeup.

Courtesy of Chiaka Ogbogu

Do you have any pre-game rituals, or a beauty look that you always wear on the court?

I wouldn't say I'm superstitious, but I basically do the same thing every time I play.

I do full-coverage foundation, winged eyeliner, mascara, and I'm a blush girl, so I'll go heavy on the blush and apply it all-over. Right now, I’m loving a chocolate brown eyeliner from Too Faced, and the pressed powder blush in the shade 52 from Giorgio Armani.

One thing that's pretty pattern is I like to get ready either in my home, or if we're on the road, in the hotel. I don't like getting ready or doing my makeup in the locker room — I like to vibe by myself and listen to music.

What’s on your pre-game playlist right now?

It depends what type of game it is. If it's a pretty big rivalry game, I'm probably listening to more female rap, like my fellow Texas girl, Megan Thee Stallion, Saweetie, Cardi B, or anything old-school R&B.

What are some of your pro tips for keeping your game sweat-proof while you play?

Courtesy of Chiaka Ogbogu

Setting spray in between basically every step helps. The girlies on TikTok also told me that setting powder between your concealer, your foundation, and your blush, just sets it all in place.

Because I play with makeup on my face, naturally my skin just looks more oily, and not in a really cute way. I don't know if it works for everyone, but for me, I'm less oily at the beginning of the games. Setting powder and setting spray really helped even that out.

Do you find that you play better with a full face of makeup?

I don't know if it necessarily makes me play better, but I do feel more confident.

I like to personally equate certain games to getting ready with your friends to go out or something... I feel that same confidence entering games when I have my makeup done, edges laid, and I’m ready to go out on the court.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.