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The epitome of #goals — both on and off the rink.
Sarah Nurse first popped up on most Canadians’ radar (and that of hockey fans worldwide) at the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. It didn’t hurt that she scored the winning goal against Team Canada’s perennial rival, the United States, during their preliminary match-up. Nurse and her teammates would ultimately go on to bring home a silver medal after losing the gold medal game in a tiebreaker shootout with the United States. Even more national headlines followed when Drake gave her a shout-out in a congratulatory Instagram story.
However, as any decorated athlete knows, the road to Olympic glory isn’t all proud headlines and dreamy DMs. Even though Sarah Nurse has been skating since she was three and has collected several accolades, including a gold medal at last year’s IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship, she still has to grapple with the limited resources and points of view of female sport in Canada.
“Being a biracial Black woman in hockey has definitely presented a ton of challenges,” says Nurse. “I try to remember all the positives — my accomplishments and all the reasons why I belong. I’m a huge believer in positive affirmations and practising gratitude in everything you do.”
Despite stereotypes like the idea that women in sports aren’t interested in hair, makeup and other beauty rituals, Sarah Nurse loves trying new products (such as the glass skin sheet masks she found while in South Korea), applying a full face of glam for nights out and trading tips and new finds while on the road. “I love helping my teammates with their skincare and makeup,” she says. “It’s something I like, and it’s my own secret weapon.”
Even though her training schedule is often gruelling, Nurse believes that one of the keys to success is finding those pivotal pockets of time for self-care. “At the beginning of the day and before I go to bed, I have my 10- to 15-minute routine, and that’s something that’s definitely very sacred and special for me — it’s my happy time,” she says. To keep her skin looking lush after being perennially exposed to cold, dry air, she makes sure to lean hard into skincare and always keeps her favourite moisturizers close. “After a tiring day, I love to feel that little bit of luxury when you apply a nice cream under your eyes; that’s the bare minimum of self-care for me,” says Nurse. “One of the biggest things I’ve learned about makeup is that it really does start with your skincare.”
The Olympian’s gorgeous curls are one of her trademarks and have benefited from her role as a Matrix ambassador. “Wearing a helmet has always been difficult for me and my hair,” she says. “On the ice, I wear a thick headband so my edges don’t get messed up.” To get the most longevity out of her curls, Nurse tries to limit shampoos to three times a week. She also uses a combo of a leave-in conditioner and a light-hold gel post-shower, which keeps her hair looking soft and frizz-free for days.
Nurse’s role as a member of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association helps her give a voice and opportunities to other women and girls who have a passion for playing hockey. Shockingly, there is no Canadian professional league for female hockey players. (The Canadian Women’s Hockey League closed its doors in May 2019.)
“When it comes to hockey, there are still restrictions being put on young girls and their dreams, ambitions and hopes,” says Nurse. Working to remove those restrictions and the stereotypes that surround women in the sport is part of her core belief system and echoes a piece of advice she once received from Cassie Campbell-Pascall, a two-time Olympic gold medal winner and former captain of the Canadian women’s ice hockey team: “Believe that you belong.” “When I walk into a room that I may not feel the most comfortable in, I just have to believe that my experiences and my opinions are valid and that they deserve to be recognized,” says Nurse.
Swipe through the gallery below for some of the beauty products Sarah Nurse swears by, whether she’s at home or on the road.
This article first appeared in FASHION’s March issue. Find out more here.