We have been HUGE fans of makeup artist Sheri Stroh for a long, long time and we are absolutely thrilled to share our interview with this fantastic and inspiring woman. Not only is her work unbelievably beautiful (we gasp at EVERY photo we see), but she is also incredibly kind, thoughtful, and inspiring. So without further ado (because we could go on gushing!), we offer you a glimpse into the beauty that is Sheri Stroh.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Why did you decide to become a makeup artist?
~ I have been a make-up and hair artist for 15 years and always loved make-up as a little girl. Sounds so cliche, but it's true and although my mother wasn't much into it, my grandmothers were both lovers of makeup and I always used to use theirs while locking myself in the bathroom haha! No clue why I became so fascinated with beauty products, but I was hooked at an early age and being a competitive dancer only fueled it even more; I knew how to apply false lashes by the time I was 12 haha.
Why did you start working with organic beauty products? Do you feel that more and more people in the industry are using organic products? Are there challenges to using them as a makeup artist?
~ I started to get into natural products, or at least become interested in them back in 2009 when I read the book Not Just Another Pretty Face, it was really eye-opening to me and since I was already changing the way I thought about food and medications (coming from a childhood of processed foods and going to the doctor for every little thing), I figured I should take a look into what I'm actually putting on myself as well. Products back then were not that fabulous though, we had a lot of mineral lines and kind of hippy-dippy lines with formulas that were off texture and colour, skin care was fine, but make-up was lacking, both personal and professional. Times have really changed and I find there are tons of lines I can use on celebrity clients and models for photo shoots, press junkets, television appearances and red carpet that perform and hold up just as well as conventional brands.
I wouldn't say that more people are using more organic and natural lines in my profession, but I would definitely say that there is a tremendous interest in them now, something that I have never seen before. Now that I am becoming known for my love of green beauty, clients, models, actresses and photographers, to name a few, are seeking me out for recommendations as are quite a few publications. This, of course, makes me very VERY happy! People are starting to realize what they are putting on their bodies can have the same effect as what they put in their bodies (and they are also realizing the environmental impact on the planet as well) so they are very curious and when they find someone like me who is in the industry and uses these products, both personally and professionally, I think it gives them more confidence to try them out. There are definitely challenges, some have to do with the perception of what natural brands are capable of (a lot of people assume it's all tree bark and hemp, or just loose mineral powders that they may not want to deal with) and of course there are some tough products out there that are hard to replicate when it comes to longevity (not many, but a few). Mainly, these are eyeliners (both pencils and cream/gel versions and mascara). I have yet to find a gel liner that stands the test of time and most pencils are the same. If you are into touch-ups, you can get away with the more eco brands, but for me on set or for TV/red carpet, they really don't stand up. Mascaras I have had better luck with, there are some really great ones out there, but most women, especially celeb clients have their favourites and don't want to see mascara they do not actually 'know' in my kit. Also, the green mascara's I have tried that I use on myself are pretty pricey and since I go through so much mascara in my kit, I tend to stock up on drugstore mascara's that go on great and stay put.
Do you have a favorite makeup look? What's your favorite thing about doing makeup/your work?
~ I just LOVE skin, I love beautiful, glowing, dewy skin, it's my absolute favourite and I am always happy to do that type of look for a shoot! Layering different products is key, and not using too much is also important (as is BLENDING!!!). Accentuating the positive, as opposed to all of that crazy contouring that is happening right now, is fresh and gorgeous and makes you stand out, not your makeup. I'm all for having fun, but I love balance and too much to me is just too much.
My favourite thing about my work is making someone feel special. I am the first person a model, client, actress, singer etc. deals with in the morning and I set the tone, with my personality and my technique. If they are in a bad mood, I have to get them out of it, I have to make them feel comfortable and want to have their pictures taken. If they are tired I have to wake them up AND make them look wide awake. I have to know when to talk and when to shut up and I have to know when to appease them and when to use my own professional judgement on what will be best for them. If they look good, they feel good and we have a better shoot and get the best shots possible. I'm a bit of a mama-bear on set, I like to take care of who I am working with and I have to be in tune with how they are feeling throughout the day; are they hungry, do they need water, a break, are their feet hurting, is there a bobby pin sticking them in the head, do they need a touch up etc. Makeup artists are there to do makeup, but we have so much more to deal with and I really do enjoy that part of my job.
Can you share a little bit about your beauty and wellness routine? Any tips you'd like to share?
~ I try to eat as well as I can, but I do like to treat myself too haha! Sometimes a little too much, but it's okay, I'm good with that. Water is also very important and I'm trying to keep myself as hydrated as possible as I can now really feel, and see, when I am dehydrated. I start my day with lemon and warm water every morning, a huge mug of it (I drink it through a stainless steel straw to protect my teeth). My diet is mainly all whole foods (sometimes it can depend on my job and what we are fed haha) and I do local and organic whenever possible for sure. There are some very important supplements that I take, recommended to me by my naturopath (probiotics, DIM, fish oil, curcumin, vit D), to deal with certain health issues and to maintain overall health. When it comes to exercise, I have to admit, I absolutely cannot stand gyms (although I still have a membership to one so this is a reminder to finally CANCEL!); I grew up very active playing volleyball, doing gymnastics and competitive dance and track and field so I get completely bored at a gym where I feel like it is work and not fun. My ideal workouts now are tennis, hiking, rock climbing, yoga and pilaties (and I still love dancing around and I can easily do body-weight exercises at home). I would really like to incorporate infrared saunas into my life and for once I would love to meditate (I find I get so scattered and distracted that it is so difficult to accomplish on my own lol). Sleep is also a big factor and I really try to get more of that now that I am older, wiser and realize the benefits of sleep and melatonin production (among other things).
What do you like to do to relax? What inspires you?
~ When I need to relax, I hang out with my husband and lose myself in a really great show, or I hang out with friends that I haven't seen for a while, or we go for a hike or I have a small nap to rejuvenate. Sometimes I clean or read magazines or a book for a bit, and sometimes I get out of the house and walk downtown to just get some fresh air. As mentioned before, I would love to get into meditation, I know it would benefit me greatly because my job is so busy and social (not to mention the social media aspect of it now too) and I am a commuter too and can spend too much time in my car sometimes. Everything inspires me, it is difficult to really narrow this down as different 'things' inspire me for different reasons and causes. Nature, art, other make-up artists, scientists, explorers, volunteers, kind people, smiles, animals, my friends, family, husband, survivors, architecture......the random list goes on and on.
What's your favorite book? Are you reading anything good right now?
~ When not distracted (haha!) I am trying to finish "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and "Skin Cleanse" (I have basically finished Skin Cleanse and now trying to find the perfect time to try Adina's detox (IS THERE A PERFECT TIME? LOL!).
Thank you so much Sheri for sharing your story with us! And readers, you can see Sheri's amazing work on Instagram @sheristroh.