Baby's On Fire
Take your time she's only burning
This kind of experience
Is necessary for her learning
Because baby's on fire.
View the photos, below.
Stay informed on our latest news!
Take your time she's only burning
This kind of experience
Is necessary for her learning
Because baby's on fire.
View the photos, below.
You have such an otherworldly and unique artistic style when it comes to makeup. Describe your style in your own words.
I usually describe my work as distorted drag, as a lot of how I paint is still derived from the classical drag paint. Some characters are more abstract than others. Some have a very literal inspiration. I like to play as much as I can in the framework that I created for my brand.
Do you have a complete vision for your looks before you begin creating them? Or is it more that you go where the process takes you?
Everything, head to toe, is planned out, starting at the outfit and then, as a last step, is followed by the makeup, which I consider as just another accessory to complete the vision.
So many of the looks you create are packed with intricate details. Do you often practice creating one look a couple of times before you create it for a shoot?
I rarely practice a new look. My work is a constant process of building a catalogue of shapes and makeup concepts that work well together as a whole character. Whenever I come up with a whole new design, I might test it out on paper beforehand, but only as a rough sketch. This also means I ended up with somewhat less successful or slightly incoherent makeup looks for some shoots and events, but I think by now I do have quite a good understanding of balance and detail in makeup.
How long does it take to create one look?
Starting with the outfit, usually a month. The face alone then takes two to three hours from start to finish. I do work quite fast on myself, but I like to go back in a few times to get the details right and sharp.
Your work has these wildly ethereal elements within them, like graphic irises or blacked-out eyeballs. Do you combine digital editing with cosmetics to bring your visions to life?
Most of my makeup is dependent on the lenses I use and the negative space they leave in my eyes. I wouldn’t consider it such valuable work if the shapes and illusions I create so delicately were just digitally edited. Makeup is still a physical craft to me. I’m happy about general cleaning and retouching, but most photographers wouldn’t understand the intention of the specific things I paint, so I wouldn’t allow just anyone to go into the actual paint work.
Are there any other artists, makeup or otherwise, that you draw inspiration from?
I still don’t know how to answer the big question of where my inspiration really comes from. I am as inspired by the artists and people around me as anyone in this day and age would be. When I was younger, I didn’t really have a way to find artists or art that inspired me, so I read a lot and tried to build the imagery in my mind. Now, whenever I find someone really inspiring, I try to reach out to them to see if a collaboration was possible, or I do a look dedicated to them.
Left - Pastel rainbow dress by Hungry and Alexandru Plesco.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome since you began working with makeup?
Working with other faces would be the number one challenge. I went into makeup thinking it’d just be a fun hobby, then a great tool to use for my creative vision, but I’d never considered it as a career path. I do enjoy working as an artist behind the scenes, and after doing the proper training, I am also secure in working on models, but I’ll always be most comfortable working on my own skin.
What are three makeup products you can’t live without?
Number one would be glue. PROSAIDE is my weapon of choice and something I couldn’t do without in many of my designs. Secondly, my black and white INGLOT liners are my current obsession, as I went through quite a lot to find gel pot liners of that quality. Picking a third is quite difficult, as I’m using so many products regularly, but at the moment I am adding my STILA liquid eyeshadows and glitters to everything. Simply beautiful product.
Left - Dress by Vivienne Westwood.
Right - Shoes by Dior.
Many of your looks channel an animalistic aesthetic. What animal would you be if you could be any animal, and why?
A squid. No actual reasoning. Just... a squid.
Read below to learn about everything Susie Sobol—from her DIY eyeshadow experiences to her glistening jewel-toned dreams.
For many, their first exposure to makeup is watching their mother in the mirror, Halloween, or maybe even that weird Barbie styling head. What are some of your earliest memories of makeup, and what feelings do you have tied to it?
In the 80s, I would watch my mom roll her hair with curlers and put on her makeup. She would always dig into the dark hunter green eyeshadow and rub it all over her eyelids—she was really into jewel tones. Around the age of 10 or 11, I remember just sitting in front of the mirror in my bedroom and putting on all of the leftover makeup I had been given from my mom and sister. I don’t know why. And I don’t know why—maybe because I would always watch QVC—but I would always explain what I was doing as I put it on. I remember feeling really beautiful, because I could see my face transforming bit by bit, and I knew that I could do it on my own. It gave me freedom in the way that I didn’t know what I was doing, but I knew I liked to do it. Do you know what I mean?
Absolutely. I love hearing that, because I feel like when conversations are had about younger girls and makeup, and it’s often talked about in a negative way. Now, instead of QVC, younger people have YouTube tutorials for inspiration. What is your favorite look at the moment?
At the moment, I think that doing liner in different shapes is my favorite. It might be square, or it might start in the inner corner of the eye and end in the middle—just playing with different shapes and liners as well as colors and textures. I think everybody can do it. It doesn’t matter your eye shape, age or skin tone. I’ve been really drawn to different interpretations of graphic liner lately.
What made you want to move your skills from TV/film to print makeup?
I think that it was always a dream of mine that never died. When I moved to NYC, I just sort of got diverted into doing film and television. It was an easier area of the industry for me to break into at the time. There’s always some sort of production going on in New York City, whether it be a TV show being filmed, video promos or commercials. Then, I started assisting someone who did both fashion and television. It was nice, because I got to assist her on lookbooks sometimes, but then she also did a lot of those MTV promos and commercials. By learning two sides of the business, I got good hands-on experience and background just being on a set in general. Once I started to get more comfortable on a set, the person that I worked with, started recommending me for my own jobs. That really snowballed into working on a film and also having regular clients like MTV, and a lot of production companies that created short films and commercials. I just started to make a name for myself in that respect, and I met a lot of people who liked working with me and liked my work.
But I’ve been dreaming of doing editorials in Vogue and being backstage for fashion week since I was 16, 17 years old. I always followed the designers and the models, and I really never stopped. But I also need to make money. [Laughs] And I was really lucky to be able to freelance for that long. Looking back on it, it was a great way to get experience working with people and clients on set and not have it be the same pressures that a fashion set has.
You have worked with such an impressive cast of creatives over the years. Who is one model, artist or brand that you’d love to do makeup for and that you haven’t gotten a chance to work with yet?
If we could bring David Bowie back to life, then that’s the person that I would most likely want to work with!
What does your everyday makeup routine look like?
It’s changed throughout the years. I worked at MAC when I was 22 or 23, and whenever all the new products would come out, I would have to put on every single color. I used to go off with my makeup when I was younger, and it was so much fun. It was the best way to learn—putting it on myself and really just experimenting with all those colors. I would even bleach my eyebrows so that the colors would pop. Now, because I’m 41, I don’t use a lot of bright colors. I still love to do a little bit of an eye, so I always use mascara and an eyelash curler. I dye my hair, so I really like to play with the tone of my eyebrows. Sometimes, I’ll get them lightened, and I’ll always use an eyebrow product that picks up the undertones of my hair. I think that’s really important. Skincare is my main thing now, but I love to use concealers and tinted sunscreen as my base. I will do a red lip or a hot pink with a coral undertone if I’m feeling it for evening. Everyday mascara, good skin and good eyebrows, that’s my main thing.
If you could create one makeup product, what would you make?
I would definitely make some kind of a sheer product that you can apply on the eye that has a glossy finish, but that’s not too slick. Not too thin or greasy, but I would love to make a range of sheer, cream eyeshadows in really amazing colors that you can layer to create more depth. I feel like the colors are really important, like I would love to do those jewel tones like the ones my mom used and have some sort of layers of different colors running through it, so that there’s a lot of depth if that makes sense. [Laughs].
Kind of like a highlighter for the eyes, I love it!
Exactly. I love that term! Imagine one in a deep midnight blue with a little bit of a rose gold running through it. Nothing shimmery, just something that has a lot of depth and kind of like a crystal with the light shining through it so you can see the other colors. I would love to do a spring and fall line with matching sheer nail polishes. I might have something in the works for the future, so you’ll see soon...
With ethereal compositions using just about every color in the universe, Rose creates looks that range from day-to-day glam to mezmorizing masterpieces. She recently even made a cameo on the KKW Beauty Instagram, showcasing the company's latest eyeshadow palette and lip gloss in two different looks.
At what age did you first get into makeup realm, and what made you stay?
The age where I knew I wanted to start pursuing makeup was 16 or 17, but I’ve always loved it since I was little. I just never put it together that it could be my career. Both my parents worked in show business. My dad was a professional juggler, and my mum a dancer and showgirl, so I would always be around makeup and costumes. I loved watching it all. It definitely made me love it because of the transformative aspect of it where you can create a whole new side of someone that is still totally them and bring it to life. Seeing the way it can make people feel, whether it's a look on them personally or just a look they see and love, is the best feeling ever, and I don't want to trade that.
What inspired you to begin creating these dreamy looks?
As I started creating, I found that I’ve really come to love and always have loved the bygone eras and vintage feel to anything. I really want to capture that in makeup and photos.
Which part of the face is most exciting for you to create on and why?
When creating on others, I really can’t pick! I think everyone has such different and interesting features that even just applying foundation is amazing, and everything flows. I love working with the whole face structure and creating shapes that are interesting but also pleasing, because they suit the features so well.
If you had to compare your work to that of a famous painting, which would it be?
I don’t know if my work would be worthy to! [Laughs] I’ve always been super inspired by Renaissance art. Another favourite of mine is Monet.
How has displaying your looks on Instagram helped accelerate your career? Has it opened doors for you?
It started out as a space for me to just place all these looks I had created in my spare time, in between jobs and what went on in my mind creatively. And to find people who felt the same and had the same passion—which I did find—it's so amazing to be a part of that. Once it started turning into something I could do as a career, it definitely started opening doors. I’ve met and worked with brands and people I didn't think I ever would, so it’s incredible.
Top three products you can’t live without.
Boring, but a sunscreen! Or specifically, a tinted moisturiser with SPF. Also, Bite Beauty's Agave Lip Mask and Pat Mcgrath Labs mascara.
In an alternate universe, what job, other than makeup, do you see yourself doing?
I really want to be a part of film production, and it's still something I would love to do in this universe. I’m so interested and inspired by it that even just a tiny step into that world would be amazing, whether it be cinematography, directing, etc. I love it.
What’s something your fans might not know about you?
I'm also a dancer—it’s a passion of mine that’s just as big as makeup, since I’ve trained for more than 10 years. I love to perform on stage with all the makeup and costume and lights just as much as I love being behind the scenes. I definitely got that one from my parents.