Celebrity News

Ali Pugh: Back to basics

The flawless TV One Breakfast host is coming clean.
Ali Pugh, no makeup

We meet TV One Breakfast host Ali Pugh at an Auckland photography studio on a busy Tuesday morning. She has come straight from filming at TVNZ, and because of this has the prerequisite full face of makeup on. As soon as the makeup artist sees her, she warns, “That’s all going to have to come off.”

“All of it?” replies Pugh nervously.

“All of it,” she confirms.

Bit by bit it’s wiped off until nothing remains but a fresh-faced and bare-skinned Pugh.

As a TV presenter, the 29-year-old has one of the most scrutinised appearances in the country – and she knows it. A lot of the feedback from the show revolves around what she looks like, what she’s wearing, or what colour lipstick she has on. Her co-host Rawdon Christie doesn’t get anywhere near the same level of couch-critiquing. But she’s used to it. By the time most of the country are frantically getting themselves and their children ready in the morning’s rush, Pugh is already at work. Sitting pretty, she’s spent the best part of an hour getting her makeup professionally applied and by the time the public see her, she looks flawless.

“People don’t recognise me without makeup on,” she says, matter-of-factly. “When they do, they often point out what a contrast my face is when I’m bare-faced.”

“I’ve had a bad experience getting a facial where it was pointed out how ‘ordinary’ my face was without makeup. It can be quite hurtful. I do wear a lot of makeup on the television and it is quite a transformation from what I really look like out of the shower.”

For Pugh, who is eight months pregnant with her first child, wearing makeup every day goes with the job. So much so, she now struggles to wear no makeup at all.

“‘I’d find it hard to go out with a totally bare face,” she says honestly. “I go swimming quite often and I’ll put on a tinted moisturiser just to walk back to my car. It seems ridiculous, I know. But during the weekends I always want to have something on my face.”

That said, Pugh suspects her attitude might change once she has her baby.

“I imagine I’m going to be a lot more time-poor and my priorities may instantly change, so I do expect there to be a significant shift in my appearance when that happens. Looking good will probably be the last thing on my mind – I’ll be in mum mode.”

Already the TV presenter has noticed she’s caring less about her appearance and about looking glamorous. But she still thinks makeup can give you a little lift.

“I definitely feel like I have an extra layer of protection with makeup on. Mascara is like my armour,” she says.

It’s a fair point and one many Kiwi women would agree with. So if she’s uneasy about not wearing makeup in public, why did she agree to do this shoot with us?

“I saw this shoot as a bit of a challenge to myself to be able to expose my face without makeup on. This is quite out of my comfort zone,” Pugh says, nervously laughing.

Later, after the camera has stopped flashing and the shoot is over we ask her what she thought of the few photographs she saw.

“I’m pretty nervous about the photos, to be honest. But I do think I lost a few years without the face on, especially without eyeliner and mascara. So it is something maybe I could learn from – that less is actually more.”

Words by: Sarah Murray

Photos: Yianni Aspradakis, Michael James Rooke, Getty Images and Supplied

Related stories