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Meet Olivia Shipman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Olivia Shipman.

Hi Olivia, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Art and people have always been my passion in life. Even as a child, I knew my friendships and artistic expression are what mattered most above anything. I didn’t realize until much later that the perfect way to be an artist and engage with interesting people is makeup artistry. I fell into this path very organically, which I always appreciate. I hate to feel forced into things. I grew up studying very seriously to be a professional dancer. I had an exciting vision of living in New York City, dancing on the World’s biggest stages. As adulthood set in, and so did my womanly shape, I realized that dream wasn’t as vivid as it once was so I moved on to my next favorite activity – content creation. Well, at the time I considered it filmmaking and went to school to get my degree in Cinema Production. I thrived in a collaborative environment and learned that one of my best strengths is assembling an awesome team. So I pursued producing. I thought, once again, my path had become clear.

Until people found out I knew how to do makeup – over ten years performing on stages had taught me how to snatch and enhance a face pretty well. I was pulled in another direction and realized I much preferred hanging out in the makeup trailer, making people beautiful and helping them feel good. Confident. So I ran with it, all the way to Los Angeles. Now, what do you get when you teach a young performer how to use a camera and give her pretty makeup to play with… and then land her in LA? The perfect content creator storm. So here I am, posting my face all over the socials, sharing my self-taught makeup knowledge, and hoping it makes someone out there in the abyss feel good. Four years post-grad and I’m here in this overpopulated and beautiful city to pursue the same dream all of us here have. To make an impact. A mark. A beauty mark in my case. I want to make as many people in this city and across the internet feel as beautiful as possible – and maybe buy a house in the process (fingers crossed).

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I think when I process my journey and how far I’ve come, I’m proudest of the fact that everything has occurred very organically and relatively painless. I’ve always trusted my gut and had the confidence to make bold choices. Not to mention the fact that I’m blessed with a supportive family who has never questioned me and always gave me space to grow in whatever direction I chose. Even today, if I lost it all I could go home to open and understanding arms. That’s some serious privilege, and it contributed to the feeling that the world was my oyster. Sure, there were moments when I couldn’t afford a Chipotle bowl, or I could only put a gallon of gas in my car at a time – but I knew that struggle was temporary. What roughs up my road is self-doubt and imposter syndrome. Purely internal struggles. I’m the master of holding myself back by assuming the world holds me to an impossible standard I could ever meet. Therefore I often just don’t try. If I don’t try, I can’t fail. As I age, I shed that mentality more and more, but it sneaks its ugly head back into my psyche now and again.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I’m a professional makeup artist with over six years of experience in film, television, digital media, and event makeup. My goal as an artist is to always stay true to the person in my chair and enhance their natural beauty. I believe in celebrating the canvas in front of me instead of trying to alter it. Above all else, I want to have fun with makeup and I want to make sure the people I work with have a positive and uplifting experience with me. Makeup can be washed off at the end of the day (and it should be!) but how I made someone feel can last the rest of their life. Or at least the rest of the week… but even still, everything gets photographed now so I want clients to see that image of themself and think they’re a masterpiece. Being a technically proficient artist is important, but I want to be known for the experience I give people. Putting on makeup is very intimate, and I take that aspect of it quite seriously. Expect Beyoncé to be playing while I fill in your eyebrows for sure, we’re gonna party.

Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
I wouldn’t have graduated college without taking a huge risk. I wouldn’t live in LA if I hadn’t jumped at an opportunity I had no plan for. I wouldn’t have survived this pandemic if I hadn’t made a split decision. I owe everything I have to taking risks. I definitely think things through and discuss my options with people I trust but at the end of the day, I’m going to follow my gut and believe things will work out how they’re supposed to. The last major risk I took was quitting my stable, 9-5 office job to pursue makeup full time. I got day drunk in Vegas with my best friend off of those street margaritas you get on the strip, had a mental breakdown in that big H&M in Ceasar’s palace, and decided right then I was going to spend the rest of my life working for myself. It was liberating, scary, and kind of stupid but I don’t regret a single thing. Risk leads to growth. Growth leads to self-actualization. Then you reach genuine happiness, and I’m there. I love taking (somewhat calculated) risks.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Photographer Tony Moux

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