Q&A with Showtrial’s Tracy Ifeachor

By Nathalie Eleni

3 years ago

'ALWAYS do your makeup with L.O.V.E.'

Nathalie Eleni sat down with Showtrial’s Tracy Ifeachor to chat about her skin routine, hero beauty products and getting into character as Cleo Roberts.

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Q&A with Showtrial‘s Tracy Ifeachor

Tracy Ifeachor

Photo: Fifi Newbery / Makeup: Nathalie Eleni using Charlotte Tilbury and Pat McGrath / Hair: Carlos Ferraz using Sisley / Dress: Runa Ray

How do you look after you skin on set?

I find the key to looking after my skin on set begins, with looking after my skin off set. Like a great friend, the relationship only stays healthy if you value each other at all times, not only when you want something! No fair-weather-skincare here. If the shoot is a long one, with 10-14-hour days, it’s a long time for the skin to be covered in make-up, even the best kind, so I start each long filming stretch with a good facial.

I then continue to look after my skin with a good facial cleanser and wash. I’m sensitive so anything very ‘complicated’ just irritates my skin and eyes.  My skin does not like a lot of harsh or complicated chemicals, so I stick to good quality tried and trusted brands. Then, it’s all about moisturizer. I’ve also found that regular, year-round exercise is also great for my skin and hair. I try to avoid foods with a high concentration of oil helps avoid those last-minute breakouts which help keep my skin looking healthy too.

What is your everyday makeup and skin care routine?

I love the Dermalogica brands for my face along with Cetaphil and Nivea for my body, so my day starts with these products. Next, I go to the Mac Prep and Prime refining zone cream. It’s a great mattifying base and is also lightweight, which allows me to have a great glow without being shiny.


Dermalogica special cleansing gel, £35, dermalogica.co.uk

Being West African in heritage, moisturizing the skin in colder climates more is a must, but can leave the face a little shiny at times. I then go to a light base and mix two Studio Fix liquid foundations, using the darker shade to create contour around key cheek bone structure and use an ever-so-light highlighter under the eyes and across the top of the cheek bones. I then move to Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush which is amazing, and then move onto a light liner. A mascara from the Organic Pharmacy ensures I’ve no reactions when the light hits. I already have very thick eye lashes, so you don’t need to use much either! I love the no make-up make up look, it leaves you feeling fresh faced and effortlessly classy, even though a bit of effort was involved. All this can be done in under 20 minutes.

Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish 3 Tan, £35, charlottetilbury.com

What are your hero beauty products?

I love MAC’s Prep and Prime Refine zone as I mentioned. It’s got me out of many a-last-minute shiny moment and it can be worn under or over the top of make-up and instantly mattifies the face if you suddenly become hot. It’s a great on-camera product for everyone. Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Finish is also another must-have. A make-up artist first gave this to me on a shoot and I have never parted from it. It really does feel like you’ve been airbrushed without feeling or looking like you have a lot of makeup on.


MAC Prep + Prime Skin Refined Zone, £20, lookfantastic.com

What is the best beauty tip or advice you have been given?

I have two! Firstly, the best beauty tip is to always get a good night’s sleep. I think Tyra Banks said that. I try to remember this especially when trying to cram everything into one day. The second is that, regardless of the time you have or do not have, ALWAYS do your makeup with L.O.V.E. That’s the difference. I carry that with me. That way, you will always be wearing your make up with pride and your make up won’t ever be wearing you.

Cleo Roberts is such a strong female character, what about her drew you to the role?

As the lead of this amazing crime drama, I love that this is an educated woman of colour who is proudly walking her truth out and fighting for justice. Cleo Roberts, the Solicitor Advocate Lawyer I play in BBC1’s new crime drama Showtrial is a strong female character and I had previously never seen the justice system from a strong female British perspective before myself. Whenever we have seen legal dramas, they usually focus on the male perspective or from a viewpoint that was harder for me as someone coming from a background that belonged to the global majority to immediately relate to. I also love the themes that the show explores through Cleo Roberts’ eyes and the questions she has to battle through. It’s more than just ‘did my client do it or did she not?’ It asks of us, what is the price of justice? The real price? How are prejudices formed and how do we tackle our own?

How did you approach preparing to play an accomplished solicitor?

I have always had a strong love of the law and a passion for standing up against injustice. There’s an amazing solicitor advocate called Cecilia Goodwin, who I was able to meet over Zoom and I got to ask her SO many questions. It was important to me to find someone who looked like Cleo Roberts and walked the same halls as my character. I’m a big experiential learner. I then went to court and observed exactly what went on in a courtroom, it was fascinating and harrowing all at the same time. I just love learning and observing and immersing myself in the world of the characters that I play every time. There is no substitute for experience when approaching a given role.

In what ways do you relate to your leading character Cleo Roberts?

I was always the child in the playground that would jump in front of the person being bullied and tell the bully off. Even when I didn’t know them! I knew how it felt to be shunned so I never liked seeing that happen to others and I believe silence is consent. If you stand in silence you consent to the harm being done. It does mean standing alone at the front of the pack sometimes and I think Cleo is the same. It’s costly to lead. We learn that she has paid a heavy price for standing up for what she believes in but doesn’t regret it because she can look herself in the mirror. That’s definitely something that was important to me. Cleo also knows what it is like to be judged by appearances and to be written off without even speaking. This is what is like for many today for one reason or another and we definitely see that in Cleo’s relationship with her client Talitha. I also love Cleo’s kindness, her compassion and how she likes to get straight down to business. That last part is something we definitely have in common!

What do you hope that viewers take away from Showtrial?

First of all, I hope viewers will enjoy this exciting new crime drama that is led by a woman and also directed by a woman. Looking at crime and how evidence is gathered and defended from this perspective was so interesting. I hope it encourages us all to look at and examine old and new prejudices that we have about both ourselves and others in a positive light. I also hope that people who look like Cleo Roberts will feel seen and encouraged by knowing that they too can do anything, be anything, if they put their mind to it.

It may not always be easy but those that go before us light the way and even our bad experiences can help shape the future and mould a better tomorrow. That’s certainly what happens for Cleo in the story and why she decides to remain on the case. No matter how many times these characters get knocked down, they just keep getting up. I hope it will inspire the upcoming generation of film makers from all backgrounds especially from the Global Majority, like myself, to continue making great projects that we all can’t wait to see.

Showtrial starts Sunday 31 October at 9pm on BBC One, with all episodes afterwards available to view on BBC iPlayer.

Featured image: Photo: Fifi Newbery / Makeup: Nathalie Eleni using Charlotte Tilbury and Pat McGrath / Hair: Carlos Ferraz using Sisley / Dress: Runa Ray


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