Interviewed by Maya Fawaz
The team and I at Musée Beauty had the honor to interview Sophia Claire (@sosodoesmakeup), an incredibly talented creative who founded the #sosodoesart series. Sophia is an Instagram influencer, a versatile makeup artist, and she recently earned her doctorate in Philosophy. Here is her story:
When/How were you introduced to the world of makeup? Were you artistic growing up?
My aunt wrote a makeup column for a french newspaper when I was a child and would gift me tons of products. It was makeup totally unsuitable for a ten-year-old, but I loved playing with all the different textures and finishes. It reminded me of drawing and painting, something I did with my art historian mother.
When/How did you begin to develop your skill? Why did you begin to pursue makeup artistry?
I’ve always played around with makeup, but I started a dedicated makeup Instagram while I was writing my dissertation. It was something fun and creative that provided a much-needed outlet from the theory-intensive work I was doing.
Going through your Instagram (@sosodoesmakeup), one can see that you have an incredible eye for aesthetics! How did you first get involved in photography and how do you take your photos?
Since Instagram is a visual platform, photography quality matters. I’m lucky to have a partner who is a professional photographer and has helped me learn a lot about using a camera and lighting, but I have always taken my own photos. I think my photography and editing skills have really improved over the last few years, which makes me inordinately proud. Recently, I’ve been working on filming short makeup videos — especially macro lip swatches. I just like to push myself to improve always and create higher quality content that really lets the makeup shine through. And it doesn’t need to be super fancy — right now I mostly use natural light, although I’d love to learn how to work with strobes to get that editorial look.
I couldn’t help but notice that you are a Doctor of Philosophy! Could you tell me a little bit more about what inspired you to pursue philosophy?
I earned my doctorate in philosophy in 2018! Philosophy is one of those disciplines that seems super esoteric from the outside, but it is a fundamental human activity. We all do philosophy whenever we wonder, when we ask why, or how, and when we seek the truth about a question or topic. I fell in love with philosophy as a teenager, especially after I recognized the value of tying theory with action. Philosophy is a way of interacting with the world, of searching out underlying truths, that makes us more critical and thoughtful in our everyday actions.
What have been some of your favorite makeup looks or projects that you have worked on?
Some of my favorite looks are ones in which I trusted the process. Sometimes (or often) halfway through doing my makeup, I look at myself and wonder what exactly I'm doing! But like drawing, you have to trust that your placement and use of lines will eventually bring to life the subject of your work.
Tell me what inspired you to start your #sosodoesart series!
The visual arts have always held so much value to me, especially paintings. I love to see the ways in which different artists represent the world, how they play with color and light to create something familiar but also novel. My favorite period in art history has to be Impressionism — there’s just something about the almost careless movement of brush strokes across a canvas that makes my soul sing. To me, Impressionism strikes a unique balance between spontaneity and precision, which is probably how I would describe my own creative process. I decided to start my #sosodoesart series because I am so inspired by the history of fine art, and I like to try and emulate the practices of artists who I look up to.
Have you ever experienced difficulty in the creative community or any form of negative attention? If so, how did you overcome it?
Honestly, the makeup community is overwhelmingly supportive. I’ve met so many wonderful people through Instagram — other artists and also art and makeup lovers, who have become true friends. Their support means so much to me. The hardest part is probably the unpredictable nature of social media infrastructure. There’s only so much you can do to get your work out there, and the rest really is luck.
Do you have any advice for aspiring makeup artists or fellow creatives who want to follow their passions and expand their online presence/audience?
Be persistent, and do what you love. Don’t try and emulate other people just because you think it’s what “sells.” If your work is redundant, or worse, insincere, people will be able to tell. And what’s the point of putting so much time and energy into trying to be like someone else? The amazing thing about art is that there are endless possibilities for self-expression. Don’t sell yourself short. Instead, try new things, make mistakes and learn from them, and have fun.