Block the Noise

In partnership with StyleBee

Chantelle Hartshorne - Creative Director at StyleBee

Photography : @salaam_ali

Photography : @salaam_ali

I sometimes wonder whether my childhood skin motivated me to be a makeup artist. Like any tween girl, I wanted to be pretty. But my skin was the worst: oily, dry, congested, and prone to acne. I was an artist, though, and I had good friends, so before long, I was practicing with makeup on myself and on others. And I loved it. In those early moments of practice, I realized I could make an impact as a makeup artist. It was my dream, so I did what any artist would do: I blocked out the criticism, believed in my skills, and did everything I had to achieve this dream.

In college, I studied photography, which seemed like the most helpful and relevant major. Photography helped think in terms of composition—of learning how to frame and arrange many composite parts into something coherent, which was helpful for a budding makeup artist. I also learned to locate the most compelling element of a picture and make it stand out. There’s this misconception about makeup being a mask when really it’s about finding ways to accentuate the features that you like about yourself—it’s about revealing yourself to the world.

While my education didn’t train me in the technical skills that my job at StyleBee sometimes requires, it did help me grow in my artistic talent, which has ultimately proved more valuable. Anna, the CEO of StyleBee, is an extremely hard worker who has an awesome handle on legal matters, while I’m more personable and creative. We compliment each other. I also didn’t really need technical, formal training for startup life in college, because I simply learned on the job. I blocked out the noise, had a learning attitude, and didn’t really have expectations. And with this approach, I learned everything I had to.

That’s not to say that startup life is easy, though. It’s ridiculously challenging and demanding. These stylish depictions of startup life as being chill and endlessly rewarding are just misguided. I didn’t join a startup because it’s trendy—or because I wanted to be wealthy. I did it because had such a passion for StyleBee and makeup artistry that I didn’t want to do anything else. And even now I face challenges: I need to balance my time between my work, which feels so important, with my friends and family. I’ve learned that there’s no clear answer about how to resolve this balance. Like most things, you just have to listen to yourself to find the answer.

While this advice has helped me at StyleBee, it’s also just sound life advice. Think about what you love about yourself and then find ways to accentuate it. Follow your dreams. Listen to yourself and find your own style. Wear what you like. Do what you like. Block the noise and be yourself.       

Written by Josiah Nelson

Send me stories of badass STEM women who INSPIRE!