Susie Sobol’s Touchstones to Glamour
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...