We had the good fortune of connecting with Alondra Excene Shields and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alondra Excene, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
When I first started doing makeup, I never turned down a job, I would cancel plans last minute, not make plans because I didn’t know when I’d book work, etc. It definitely put a strain on my friendships and relationships. I never knew which job would be the “big one”, so I felt guilty turning work down.
Now that I’ve been doing this for 10 years, I can be a little pickier about the jobs I take. I was starting to miss social events, concerts, etc. I was starting to get burnt out on my career, which was unfortunate because I love what I do. I started realizing that what’s the point of working all the time if you don’t take time to “play” and enjoy yourself. You don’t have your family around forever, so taking time off is vital.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve always loved how transformative makeup can be! I love transforming people into characters. I love combining makeup effects and beauty. I use prosthetics a lot, even in beauty makeups. One of my favorite series’ I did was with Danin Jaquey (@Deathcats) We did a whole series of Animal/Human Hybrids that was published in Paper! I’m still really proud of those photos and how good they turned out! I take a lot of pride in the shoots I do in my free time. I love collaborating with my friends, they’re so incredibly talented, and when we get together, magic happens! I think doing shoots in your free time is not only a great way to build up your portfolio, but an excellent way to stay excited and artistically fulfilled.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oooo this is a fun one! There’s so much to do! I have no shame in doing touristy stuff, so I’d definitely take them to Hollywood Blvd, I love the architecture of the Roosevelt Hotel. If it’s summer, maybe we’ll go swimming at the Hotel pool. The makeup school I went to is right down Highland, so I’d show the building where I learned my craft.
Venice Beach for sure!
One of my favorite places to party is The Rainbow Bar and Grill in West Hollywood. I love rock music and that place has so much history.
Melrose Avenue, so many small businesses and restaurants to support, plus good street art.
Hamburger Mary’s in WeHo, followed by a walk around the city.
I think it’s important to show visitors multiple neighborhoods. This city is so huge and has so many personalities.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family 100% deserves credit. They helped put me through makeup school, helped me build up my kit. Really believed in Me even though they knew nothing about my industry and whether I was good or not. They come out to my premieres, fashion shows, etc. I’m incredibly grateful for their support.
I’d also be nothing without the support of my fellow artists. This industry is built off referrals and who you know. I’ve got some of my best jobs through referrals. Having a group of friends that truly cheer you on and have your back is rare, and really special.
Other: TikTok @AlondraExcene
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