We’ve been obsessed with Imani Love ever since she joined Beautylish. With her full lips, elaborate makeup looks, and exotic use of color and texture, it’s hard not to lose yourself browsing her gallery of work. We caught up with the bright-eyed 17 year-old to find out where she finds inspiration, what it’s like working fashion shows, and how she managed to pull off a senior portrait that any girl would be lucky to display in her yearbook.
B: When did you start playing with makeup?
I feel like I’ve always been interested in makeup. My mom always had large drawers filled with MAC and Cover Girl. When I got bored, I would dig in her stuff and cover my face in powder and overdraw my lips with Ruby Woo lipstick! When America’s Next Top Model was on, I would try and recreate the makeup looks from their shoots and take pictures with my purple camera that my dad bought me for my 10th birthday. I never really thought too much about it until I was thirteen, and started noticing makeup tutorials on YouTube. I’ve been hooked ever since!
B: Where do you find your inspiration for your elaborate looks?
I’m mostly inspired by runway. I love Pat McGrath! She is a genius and master of all high fashion makeup artistry. I always look forward to watching Rag & Bone, Jeremy Scott, and Dion Lee on the runway, as well as powerhouse brands Dolce & Gabbana and Versace. I’m also really inspired by community makeup enthusiasts like NikkieTutorials, Pixiwoo, and Maryam Maquillage—the woman could sell ice to a penguin, I swear! The community of bloggers never ceases to inspire and I feel very lucky to be one of them.
B: Do you feel that modeling and makeup is a completely separate part of your life than your school life?
It’s always a big reality check when I have to go to school at 7:30 in the morning after being backstage at a fashion show all night. Modeling and school are two totally different things, but makeup I feel is my bridge between the two worlds. I’ll do makeup for a really cool shoot one night and then be at school and do my friend’s makeup between second and third period the next day. I lead a double life, but it’s fun and will make an awesome story to tell when I’m older!
B: Most of us regret our senior portrait. Your session is nothing short of stunning—tell us about it!
Thank you! Because I go to an arts-based high school, everyone in my class has ‘out of the box’ senior pictures. We’re all artists in our own right, so we want our art to be reflected in our pictures. I feel like your senior portraits should showcase who you are at this point in your life. I’m a creative writing major, but I also model and do makeup. I love fashion and the avant-garde, so it was important to me to capture those attributes.
B: Which brands do you like working with most?
I love love love Maybelline products. From mascara, eye shadow, eye liner to lip gloss, they pretty much hit everything on the nose. Plus, it doesn’t cost me an arm and a leg. I buy makeup on a high schooler’s budget and Maybelline always gives me the biggest bang for my buck. However, when I feel like splurging, I’m obsessed with Urban Decay, Make Up For Ever, and of course Illamasqua.
B: Any plans after high school?
That is the question of the hour. I definitely am planning on going to a school after I graduate in May. I’m applying for some art and design schools in New York, a couple of universities for screenwriting and then some film schools in L.A., but this whole process is so nerve-racking! I feel like I’ve always known what I wanted to do as an adult and now that I’m pretty much there it’s scary to make such official decisions about how you’re going to accomplish your goals.
B: What would be your ultimate dream job?
My ultimate dream job would be working as a creative director for one of my favorite makeup companies like Maybelline or for a magazine like W Magazine or Interview. I’m in love with the whole process of creating a narrative through images and to be able to do that and work for such power forces in the fashion industry would be a dream come true!