Susan Korn, Jewelry Designer


"My name is Susan Korn [@susan_alexandra] and I live in New York City, where I design my jewelry line, Susan Alexandra. I moved here five years ago without knowing a soul, without any money, and just no clue. I thought I wanted to style and I did some freelance gigs, but at the end of the day I would be so exhausted and paralyzed with insecurities—it just wasn’t the right world for me. Jewelry had always been a passion of mine, so I started taking weekend metalsmithing classes at Studio Jewelers and Liloveve. Metalsmithing takes such precision and patience, both of which I lack, so to cover the wonky seams and mis-matched edges, I started painting the jewelry. All of a sudden, people would ask me where I got my bracelets and rings and I decided on a whim to put them on a website. Two years later, Susan Alexandra is carried all over the world and I’m super busy. It's so fulfilling. Soon I’d like to have my own space and employ a staff and help people with whatever knowledge, connections, and know-how I've picked up in my 28 years.

I try to keep a positive beauty philosophy, which can be tricky since I’ve struggled with acne ever since I was young. On days when I've done a ton of yoga and have a really rosy outlook, I can convince myself that pimples are a blessing—a reminder that I am not my skin, my body, or my looks. But that kind of thinking is super rare. In reality, acne is disabling and incredibly hard to deal with. I've spent so much time and money trying everything in the world. Then I started going to Dr. Gabrielle Francis at the Herban Alchemist, and she changed my life. She really taught me how everything is connected in our bodies and that when the skin is unhappy, it's usually your gut or liver crying out for help. I cut gluten and most dairy and started drinking a daily shake called Bio-cleanse which totally removes toxins from your system—all of which has really helped. I also have her do acupuncture. She uses these teeny Japanese needs that you can barely feel!

Marta, a facialist who works with Dr. Francis, is also amazing. She’s super thorough, fearless, and gentle, and she turned me on to Pangea Organics, which is genius—I use the Moroccan Argan Facial Cream. She also has me putting rosehip oil and frankincense on my facial scars. I’ll supplement her facials with at-home masks—the Erno Laszlo Anti-Blemish Beta Mask or a mix of raw honey and turmeric, which is incredible. Everything you put on your skin is absorbed into the blood stream, so I try to be as conscious as I can; I just ordered Manuka honey and neem oil, so I'm looking forward to making some masks with those. Then I'll rub olive, rosehip, and sesame oils all over the rest of my body. I add a few drops of frankincense and lavender, too.

Now for the fun stuff—makeup. When I was younger, I remember my grandmother saying 'A woman without lipstick is like a day in Florida without sunshine,' so naturally I am a lipstick maven. I have recently fallen under the spell of the Kate Moss Rimmel collection—every color is perfect. I also use NYX Matte Lipstick and of course, the elusive RiRi Woo, which is super chalky, but damn what a perfect color. The best best best liquid eyeliner in the whole world is MAC Liquidlast Liner in Point Black. It will stay on your eyelids for maybe 100 years if you don't remove it, which is perfect if your skin is oily. For the rest of my face, Stila Perfect & Correct Foundation is like an Instagram filter and the Tarte bronzer is very natural and a good oil absorber. Oh, and I'm completely fragrance obsessed. I use the Goddess Line Lakshmi Fragrance Oil and have been stopped in the street by people telling me how sexy I smell. I'll alternate that with Escentric Molecules 01 or a blend of a few of the 1,000 samples I have floating around.

After so many trials and errors both professionally and beauty-wise, I have learned this: When you're doing something that you love and are meant to do, you are energized. There are no rules. Every imperfection makes you more beautiful. Wrinkles and pimples are beautiful. Skin is just skin and you are more than skin."

—as told to ITG

The #ITGTopShelfie series puts the focus on the lives and beauty routines of Into The Gloss's lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Show us your own Top Shelfie on Instagram—tag us @intothegloss, and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Addison Cain

    You're gorgeous and your jewelry is stunning! Great choice, ITG :)

  • Melissa

    Love love her jewelry!!

  • charmystique

    How true, anything that's not working well in your gut manifests in your face. A huge part of our immune system is in our gut after all! I would definitely wanna know what this Bio-cleanse shake is made of!

  • kt mo

    I love this! A top shelf with someone who knows what it's like to not look perfect all the time! I'm in love. Plus her style is awesome, looking like Kenzo meets Lisa Frank.

    I take issue with her referring to acne as "disabling" which seems a bit insensitive to people who are ACTUALLY disabled. Like, acne is not dangerous or (debilitatingly) painful - it's not a handicap, it's not a disease. It's unsightly. That's all. I like most of what she had to say, but that really rubbed me the wrong way (coming from a lifetime chronic acne sufferer who is thankful to be in otherwise perfect health.)

    • Jane

      For those who've suffered from crippling self-esteem issues from chronic acne which can manifest into far more severe mental health problems such as dysmorphia (as my sister had) and depression, it can indeed be disabling. Disability isn't only physical, it can also refer to psychiatric impairments.

  • AsphodelJones

    The glitter photo really. scares. me. She is so LOVELY, though. Look at all these gorgeous colors!

  • rose.k

    Gawd, i love vulnerability. Nothing else is quite as lovely. She is the gem, although her jewelry is beautiful too!

  • Amanda V

    I agree that it can be socially disabling. I suffered from severe cystic acne during my teen and early adulthood years, and it was terrible. It is VERY painful (cysts on your face are more than just 'unsightly', they HURT), but I often did not want to go out in public and participate in many activities that other people my age were. So at that time acne was ruining my life and made me somewhat of a recluse. I'm not talking about a pimple here or there, I am talking about cysts all over your damn face. Just wanted to throw in my two cents and agree that while it is not a disability, it can affect a person's life more than most people realize.

  • Scout W.

    What a gorgeous and honest artist. Inspiring. Thank you.

  • M

    Agreed-- she didn't say "acne is a disability," she said it's disabling, which most acne sufferers would agree with-- it's limiting and inhibiting to deal with. And it's nice to see that acknowledged on ITG, where so many people featured have perfect-looking skin.

  • s

    That makeup isn't toxic.

  • lw

    I heavily identify with this 'organic on the face / Rimmel on the lips' vibe--the lasting finish lipstick in bordeaux is the perfect wine color for oh so cheap

  • Emma Hager

    Beautiful jewelry, Susan!

  • Leetoki

    I totally see what you're saying. I think 'disabling' was too strong a term when there is plenty of other words one could have used. But I get both points, I guess its just how you sit with the term.

  • eastvillagesiren

    LOL, and every time we stepped in the shower, we would drown ; )

  • irisflower

    ugh yes thank you.
    i want to shake this woman & say; SKIN, IT DOES NOT WORK HOW YOU THINK IT DOES!

  • Guest

    "Dr." Francis is a chiropractor, not an MD. You should have mentioned that in your article. If your editors don't step in and correct pseudo science and misleading medical claims, it becomes hard to take anything written here seriously.

  • Rita J

    Marta does an amazing facial
    that puts me into a deep relaxation zone, she's very gentle and
    knowledgeable . I was most impressed by how well my skin cleared up
    within a few days .My ONLY negative = I do not live local and can't
    experience her healing hands on a regular basis! I I highly recommend
    checking out The Herban Alchemist You owe it to yourself!!!!

  • nudey

    I think the oil is related to the cosmodogenic level. Jojoba=good. Coconut=acne.

  • Kate

    I agree.

  • boudica

    I have always been interested in the awful psychological effects acne can have. Yes they are ONLY SPOTS, so, so normal and other people don't ever care! But sufferers will not leave the house, not go on dates, not be with friends, not swim or other activities, wallow in painful feelings of ugliness and worthlessness and monstrous plague-ridden-ness. They feel like their face is the size of the moon and everyone is staring and finding them gross. Its horrendous! Definitely can veer into Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Its not a choice not to let it affect you. Ew.


Erno Laszlo
Erno Laszlo Anti-Blemish Beta Purifying Mask
Rimmel Lasting Finish
Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss Lipstick
ULTA Beauty
NYX Matte Lipstick
MAC Liquidlast Liner in Point Black
Stila Perfect & Correct Foundation
Tarte Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer
The Goddess Line
The Goddess Line Lakshmi Fragrance Oil
Escentric Molecules
Escentric Molecules 01