PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIMOTHY MUSHO, FIG PHOTO | FILM BY EMILY HARD, G&F
CREATIVE DIRECTION BY D. GRAHAM KOSTIC | WRITTEN BY ELLE EICHINGER
Innovation doesn’t just refer to technological advancements or abstract ideas: makeup maven Shannon O’Brien, for one, uses cosmetics to show just how innovative she can be. “I like to change up my look a lot,” she says. “I am always getting inspired. Everything is worth a shot once.” For Shannon, this translates to wearing a bold lip color, donning false lashes (“A great way to add intensity to your eyes,” she says), or contouring eyeshadow for a night on the town.
In the past half-decade, Shannon has taken a series of leaps that have landed her successfully where she is today, doing makeup full-time for private clients from bridal to editorial. First was the move to Chicago: “I was ready to be in the city when I was in high school [in a tiny northwest suburb],” she says. “I had been plotting, planning, dreaming, and scheming for years.” (She even went so far as to start buying things for her—at the time, still imaginary—urban apartment.) Then last May, Shannon left her day job to start her own business as a freelance makeup artist. “I made the leap, and I am so happy I did,” she enthuses. “I LOVE what I do.” Of course, in today’s world, being a makeup artist isn’t what it used to be. Shannon relies on beauty blogs and other Internet resources constantly to stay on the edge of cosmetics trends, and makes herself accessible to clients with burning beauty questions via her own blog, Cheap Frills and Thrills. She dishes fashion advice just as heartily: her favorite boutiques include Penelope, Edith Hart, and Eskell for jewelry by Laura Lombardi and Cities in the Dust.
Though Shannon’s personal look leans towards the doe-eyed beauties of the 60s—“My goal is somewhere in between Twiggy and Ginger from Casino,” she says—her main beauty advice is surprisingly simple: “When in doubt, do what makes you feel great.”