There are a few things that haven’t changed about On Makeup Magazine since we launched 15 years ago. Our look for one — square, solid color cover, feature set ups, and our “all artists are created equal” perspective. We found a format that worked then and I think it still works now. Then of course, there’s me. I’m still here leading the labor of love that is now the only print magazine being published for our professional makeup artist community.

There are two other constants as well — Shannon Levy and James Vincent. Through the dozens of team members and contributors that have been along for the ride, Shannon and James are the constant that have been there since day one, through all of the challenges and successes. I am forever grateful for their support then and now and wanted to sit down with them to talk 15 years of On Makeup Magazine. We’ve been at this beautiful thing we call On Makeup Magazine together since 2008. What has made you stick with me and the magazine through all the craziness?
Shannon Levy Aside from the fact that I love a reason to work with you, I have been interviewing mostly TV/Film makeup artists and writing about this industry since 1999. I have a full-time job and kids now, but doing this with you twice a year keeps me connected to my beauty writing roots by being able to play in this world.

James Vincent I think the craziness is one of the things that keeps me here. You were so passionate about starting a magazine that felt like fine art publications, and that  celebrated our industry, and brought information and editorial forward with such a different voice. When I think about those early days of figuring out how to make it work, and the excitement of it all, and the inspiration that came from you making it happen is very powerful. I think you and I also have such different views on editorial and whats interesting — so the back and forth is always fun for me.

Lastly, seeing the scope of artists that have contributed and been featured. Not just the well known, but the artists who were emerging at the time who got their first feature with us. I think that is why we continue to be such an important voice.

What do you love about being a part of the magazine?
SL My dream job in my teens was to be a beauty editor. Since 2008, I’ve been able to live out a version of that dream by being a big part of this magazine. You and I make a great team and I love planning out On Set content with you, and seeing every issue come together.

JV Working with the artists to put together editorial. I think it is a concept so many find difficult, and seeing the unique images that get featured because you take a chance on giving artists pages to really play and be creative, and express their art in ways traditional publication may not.

Shannon, is there a feature you’ve worked on over the years that has been a favorite?
It’s so hard to pick just one; I always love when it’s a show or film I’m really into or an artist I’ve known for a long time. For one of the first issues we did, I went to the Mad Men set and Debbie Zoller gave me a 1960s makeover in the trailer while I
interviewed her. That was the most memorable.

James, as Director of Artistry you help set the tone for the work we see in the issue, and you have created many beauty and grooming stories for the magazine. How do you understand what is next in makeup?
I have always looked at what is next as being more about evolution and connection over trend. As artists we know how to create with the elements of art. Trend is a consumer concept for most publications. I think of makeup or fashion trend as a cultural shift. I find that exciting. It allows me to see where we are going and honor the originators. I think that inclusive and open approach to trend or media allows me to push and pull and create something original or important to me or in my own aesthetic, and incorporate the now in a way that elevates it a bit and makes it accessible.

Why is On Makeup Magazine important for our industry?
SL It’s important to create a community and a place to celebrate our peers and the craft of makeup artistry.

JV We are equal opportunity — for brands and artists alike. We create opportunities for smaller brands to share their products and initiatives which is invaluable. We have seen so many brands that are now huge or hero products find themselves in our hands first. As an artist you can be someone from a smaller city who has always wanted to see your work in print, an Emmy winner who doesn’t usually shooteditorial or an agency artist who feels stuck — and we allow you to be the artist you want to show the world.

What has changed most about the industry, or how we celebrate it, over the 15 years?
SL When we first started doing this, Instagram and TikTok didn’t exist. Youtube was a year old. So by far social media and the way artists learn and are discovered and inspired, now versus then. It has made the industry bigger and more celebrated by not just artists, but also makeup enthusiasts.

JV When we started, it was before social media. Our community didn’t have a safe space to truly celebrate artists who were outside of NYC or LA. Other shows and magazines weren’t showing or supporting them. We were a comfortable place to find yourself and see yourself among your peers and people who inspired you and that is important. Seeing yourself and your work represented is so powerful.

Words Michael DeVellis
Photos Courtesy of On Makeup Magazine