We had the good fortune of connecting with Angie Shell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Angie, what role has risk played in your life or career?
If I can articulate my answer in the boldest and most controversial of ways, I think I speak for all of us when I say risk is the one of the biggest aspects of my life and my career. I moved from a small town in Pennsylvania, that alone felt like the biggest and most gratifying risk I have ever taken. I wasn’t prepared emotionally or financially, I had sold my car, and left my job and friends behind me. This was before the pandemic, before the death of George Floyd, before walking outside was a risk within itself. I, like many around me didn’t know what the future held for the world, let alone the entertainment industry. When I was faced with a decision to stay in Los Angeles with no car, no roommates, during a pandemic I rolled the dice again and stayed. Taking risks are what make us artists, breaking your own personal boundaries and choosing to grow are going to cripple you with fear and sometimes make you feel as if you’re cornered by your demons. The beauty in this, however, is how we channel these fears of risk taking and use them to propel us forward, to take that trauma and manipulate it into your art. It is the most rewarding feeling. Taking risks is a part of the ride, and I would buy the ticket again and again, even knowing what I know now.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As an artist I like to pride myself the most on my special effects makeup. I started out when I was just shy of 15 years old, working for a haunted house on the weekends with absolutely no pay. I would train in the summers and saw the training and knowledge as payment enough for me. I knew immediately this was a career that I wanted, but had little to no clue where I could take all my passion. Soon after, I had worked in a cosmetic boutique and educated myself on beauty makeup. I quickly realized makeup had consumed me in the best of ways. While my small town had very little opportunity to pursue the arts, I somehow found a way. I dabbled in theater, I took every opportunity to do makeup for every wedding, graduation, and photoshoot that I could. While this all sounds like it came about in an organic and natural way, I was no stranger to struggle. Being a high school dropout was difficult enough on my self esteem, but after setting my sights on this career I got my GED, and toured the campus of one of my dream schools in New York. My next hurdle was finances, I came to Los Angeles with all my savings, and no car. That alone shook me to my core, as I felt like I was way in over my head. I still to this day don’t know how I did it and I wish I could explain the motivation and the fire that pushed me even when things felt impossible.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I can’t lie when I say I have a favorite restaurant for every meal of the day! I absolutely adore Enigma Coffee for their avocado toast and their chai lattes, as well as Porto’s of course. Porto’s is one of Burbank’s most popular bakeries and it’s almost a right of passage to eat there at least once. I’ve eaten at The Dolly Llama more times than I can count for their fresh waffles and ice cream, and Nicks pizza when I’m aiming for a pizza place that resembles the east coast.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I could go on about the people who have constantly grounded me and saved me from myself, definitely my mother and father who have pushed me in the best of ways when I needed it the most. It isn’t easy to let your only daughter move 2,000+ miles across the country to achieve her dreams and my parents have executed the upmost grace, and true support. Anthony Matos, one of my best friends from high school, who has and always will act as the angel on my shoulder (even from across the country). Finally, Gil Romero, the director of education at Make-Up Designory who, even outside of school acts as an amazing source of guidance to me in the moments where I feel my passion is fleeting.
Vision Knight Photography Lesley Pedraza Photography