Four of Notting Hill’s finest showcase parade-perfect makeup

For these dancers, carnival isn’t just a day, it’s life. ‘Infinite Mas stands for forever carnival,’ says costume designer and founder Louise Sterling-Jackman. ‘It’s carnival 365 days a year for us.’ While Notting Hill is the most famous, these troupes, or mas bands – mas is short for masquerade – dance around the globe, touring Trini to Tobago, Notting Hill to Northampton. So who better to rock summer’s must-do carnival makeup than the stars of the show? Our thoughts exactly.

Pink lady: Jalicia, 26, Infinite Mas dancer

notting hill carnival dancer

‘For me, carnival is a day to be free. It’s about celebrating summer, having fun with your friends, rejoicing life. It’s colour, culture, beautiful food, beautiful people. There’s no better feeling than seeing everyone happy, having a great time, spreading love.’

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Glitter bug: Kiara, 20, Utopia Mas dancer

carnival dancer

‘Carnival is all about inclusivity. The outfits might seem skimpy, but they’re empowering. It’s a celebration of every sort of body shape – you’ll see them all at carnival and they’re beautiful. I love carnival because it’s for everyone, not just people from the Caribbean. I’m Nigerian and I’m so welcomed here. If you haven’t been before, I’d say, come. You have to experience it – it’s a vibe like no other.’

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Rainbow raver: Indi, 19, Utopia Mas dancer

carnival dancer

‘I’ve been going to carnival since I was three years old, but I didn’t join a band until last year. Now I’m hooked and can’t imagine doing carnival any other way. It’s a totally different atmosphere from anywhere else. There’s no animosity – just good vibes – and while you might find cattiness in clubs, there’s none at carnival. Everyone just looks out for each other.’ 

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Crystal Eyes

carnival dancer

‘The most beautiful part of carnival is how multicultural it is. All walks of life come together to enjoy it. This will be my third year going as a dancer in a band. I would have felt self-conscious in an outfit like this a few years ago but once you’re in the parade, having fun and not worrying about what people are thinking,
it’s amazing.’

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