The countdown to the PyeongChang Olympics is officially on, which means it's high time we all got to know some of the athletes competing on the global stage. But chances are that you already recognise Aja Evans's name: The bobsledder didn't just make her Olympic debut four years ago in Sochi, but she brought home a bronze medal as well. (Pretty impressive for someone who only started bobsledding two years prior.)
This makes the Chicago native one to watch next month, as she and teammate Jamie Greubel Poser attempt to move their way up the podium. And as she steps into the spotlight, Evans is using her platform to lean in to the Games' message of inclusivity. She and a handful of other athletes have partnered with Procter & Gamble to spread the word about the company's Love Over Bias campaign, which champions diversity and acknowledges the hardships that many families face when working toward such lofty accomplishments.
"The world is finally catching up with diversity," she tells us, echoing former figure skater Michelle Kwan's sentiments on the new initiative. "My sport went from such a predominantly white sport to not. The Love Over Bias campaign really spoke to me since I grew up in Chicago where I could have been exposed to negative things, but my mum stayed in my corner and supported me through everything. To have that experience is the main reason the campaign resonates so much for me."
A self-described "glam girl," Evans is also an Olay ambassador and something of a pro at keeping her complexion in top form even as she whips through subzero temps at up to 100 mph. (Spoiler: She also loves wearing makeup while competing, helmet be damned.) Below, she gives us a closer look at her beauty routine—and how she stays in shape off the track.
On the one thing she does before every race
"I don't have pre-competition rituals because I don't want it to become a superstition. The one thing I do always do, though, is call my mum before every race, and we pray together."
On wearing mascara underneath her helmet
"I'm a glam girl regardless [of] if I'm in competing mode. You can see my lashes popping through the peephole when I'm competing, but I always make sure to wear waterproof mascara so I don't look like a raccoon when I take my helmet off."
On keeping her complexion in shape
"My skincare routine has evolved over time because I'm been educating myself on how to take better care of my skin. Healthy, hydrated skin is so important to me, but competing in freezing temperatures and going zero to 100 can really take a toll on my skin. I've been using Olay's cleanser ($16). It's amazing and keeps my skin feeling healthy, which makes me more focused because I'm not distracted by dry or irritated skin."
On what her fitness routine looks like off the track
"[I do a lot of] performance-based drills like jumping drills. I also need to go from zero to 100 mph during my races, so I need to put as much force and energy into the slide as I can, so squats and leg lifts really help me to have that explosiveness and power to start my races off strong. [In the off-season], I stay in shape with a lot of conditioning and track workouts to build up my endurance. I do a lot of hill sprints and resistance training!"
On her go-to healthy breakfast
"A cup of oatmeal with a little brown sugar or raisins and two whole eggs and one egg white scrambled together, plus some fruit and coffee."