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Amplify V1I4: @simplyshafeena

You can see in her Instagram bio that @simplyshafeena makeup looks aren’t just about her love for the art, but a love for her West Indian culture too. But there’s so much more to it - makeup is her “blank canvas,” her medium for calming her anxiety, and what makes her the confident 20-year-old before you today.

A rising senior in Hofstra University’s Zarb Business School in the dual-degree program as a business management major, Shafeena "always knew I wanted to go into the business field, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do - I’ve seen these videos of girls talking about how they started interning for [executives and managers in the makeup industry] and now it’s what they do full-time. They became their own boss, of their own cosmetic companies, so that’s kind of where I’m trying to do too.”

“If I could have it my way, and everything went perfectly, I would probably have my own cosmetic company, I would be my own boss,” she says.

Her love for makeup started as young as ten, when she started watching makeup influencers on Youtube. “It’s still hard for me,” she says about the predominantly white representation in the makeup industry. “I probably follow like two people of my ethnicity that do makeup, and everyone else is predominantly white. There’s not a lot of makeup artists that are my same ethnicity, so that's what I’m focusing on and what I want people to gain from [my page]. Like understanding cultural appreciation towards my culture, because there’s not a lot of that out there. That’s why I have my page - to spread awareness for my culture.”

On Shafeena’s page, she represents her culture beautifully through her makeup. “Just like the jewelry, the makeup, the outfits, it’s just like that one part where I feel the most beautiful,” citing an all green-and-gold look from May.

Despite growing up with Youtubers, Shafeena says she doesn’t plan on moving to Youtube or another video content platform (“but never say never!”). But that doesn’t mean she shies away from video content. “I love making the videos because they’re so fun to watch. My favorite part about doing it is the editing. Pictures are cool too, but I’d rather do videos.”

One theme that’s impossible to notice is her use of color - bold, vibrant and elegant shades than span the color wheel in all her looks, even the monotone ones. She says that colors and shades are what inspire her, especially pink, although she isn’t quite sure why. “I don’t even like wearing pink but on my eyes? It’s something else. There’s so many different shades of pink, would you believe it?”

Her relationship with makeup has changed over the years too. From sneaking it into school and taking it off in the bathroom before she went home at the end of the school day, Shafeena says that in the beginning, she mainly wore it “because I wanted to fit in and be like other girls, because I thought it made me prettier. But when I got to college, I started doing it because I was really attracted to makeup, like the different techniques and all of that.”

“There’s no wrong way to do it,” she says. “If it makes you feel good, then you did a good job.”

In her college dorm room, her love for makeup grew into something else. “In exchange for not being confident and doing [makeup] because I thought it made me look pretty, [I’m now] doing it because even though I am and feel pretty, it makes me feel better.”

Besides being her favorite form of art and expression, Shafeena says “makeup calms my anxiety. It’s just so soothing for me to do. My looks are kind of just whatever I feel that day.” She says that her freshman year at Hofstra, she wasn’t very involved or social - she would go between her classes and her dorm room and didn’t really talk to anyone. “Makeup is what I did to keep myself company.”

With the intent to use her business management Bachelor’s and Master’s degree to further her dream career as the owner of her own cosmetic company, she would love to work with ColourPop. “It’s such a small brand but the thing I like about them is that they feature any and everybody on their page that shows their talents and their skill. The people that they feature on their page, the smallest of people with like no following - that’s what I like about ColourPop.

They don’t care who it is as long as you’ve got talent, whereas brands like Kylie Cosmetics feature the most perfect, airbrushed, big-following models; Color Pop is the only brand I see posting about different races all the time.”

“The fashion industry, the beauty industry, it’s focused on specific people, and other races, ethnicities, they kind of get pushed to the back burner. My bio said ‘West Indian representation through the power of makeup,’ and that is my main goal. Makeup is art - and I wanted to share mine.”

Find her here @simplyshafeena.

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