'Going out is always fun, but I don't really go out to bars with my friends without a work purpose. I'm in an electronic-R&B band called ASTR with my partner, Adam. I'm working all the time, so if I go out, it's because I have a reason—so I'm never just turning-up Sally. It's too much as an artist. Because we already work in nightlife. Every show, you have to represent your brand, so you dress up, put on your face, put on those shoes—which can be a struggle—and you never know! The atmosphere could be totally blow and you have to put a lot of energy into that. At some point, you need to sit at home with your friends, put on Game of Thrones, and drink some wine! Is that fair? But it's just partying in a different way. [Laughs]
There is no real program for preparing for a show. Sometimes you're going straight from the studio to the event and you have to bring your clothes with you so you're ready to go, freshen up, and keep it moving! But if I'm trying to get into a different space mentally, I'll put on a different kind of music. If I'm tired, we need the turn-up music. Like, dirty, disgusting, filthy rap music. I'll try to put on something like French Montana, Gucci Mane…
And I have a lot of energetic ritual routines because doing a show is so intense. It's so hard to understand that feeling of being pulled in a million different directions after a show by your PR person, and your manager, and your day-to-day manager, and then you have people coming to you saying you have this interview and that interview. To keep my center, I'll light candles, focus on crystals, and do a lot of yoga so it doesn't eat me alive.
And then I'll make a dirty martini here at the house—put some olive juice and a little bit of vodka—and I'll be so pumped up by the first sip.
Onstage, I don't feel like I can just wear any statement piece. I have to glue everything on my body or it’ll just pop off like earrings. But I don’t fuck around with stagewear. For example, I crop shirts myself because you have to make it look good for yourself. Figure what your assets are, what you don't want to show, then crop it, cut it, whatever you've got to do.
I've been doing the same routine for the last few years when they're like, 'Hey you have to go on stage now. Figure out what your face looks like.' Without MAC, I wouldn't know what to do. I'd be like, 'Help me, anybody!' It's really good show quality makeup without being too professional-grade. At the moment, I use their eye shadow as eyeliner. I do a thin line along my lashes with a little brush with a dark gray eye shadow. But I stop halfway or else I feel like I look like a raccoon.
I think everyone should know about eyebrows and how important they are. Whatever hair color you are, the shittiest eyebrow pencil in the world will do—I promise. If you just outline a little bit and smudge it in, your eyebrows will bring out so many angles in your face. Once I learned that, I was like, 'Oh my God! I now have cheekbones. I didn't have that before!' I use L'Oréal Eyebrow Brow Stylist Sculptor. It's cool because on one side, it has that little brush, and that brush is so vital to mix it in, and then that seals it.
For a foundation, I like RMS Beauty 'Un' Cover-Up. It's all-natural and it has this nice glow to it. I also like RMS Lip2Cheek in Promise. And then I use this MAC Punk Couture Eyeshadow Palette because it's very intense and when I'm on stage I need something heavier on my eyes or I'll fade out in the lights.
There is no lipstick that stays on for as long as Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in 01. My biggest pet peeve about lipstick is it gets chalky, and if your lips are at all, it starts to flake off, which is not a cute look for anybody. After two songs, I can see it coming off on the microphone. This lip stain doesn't do that at all and it's the reddest color that they have. I love a dark lip—I'm so pale, so I need something to stand out. And straws are super important. If you drink without a straw before getting on stage, the lip color will go everywhere. Your makeup artist will yell at you.
Here's my dirty secret about hair—if you wear it down, you have about two days before it starts to look disgusting. If you wear it up, you can spray mad shit in it. The dirtier it gets, the better it looks—less frizz, more slick, and it holds better. I use It's-A-10 Miracle Leave-in Product. It's really good, especially if you have thick, tangly hair like me. You spray it after the shower and it has keratin softener in it. I've used it since I was 12. I can't brush my hair without that.
I enhance my color with Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Color Nourishing Crème red hair dye about once a month. Salons always do whatever they want with my color instead of making it look natural, which is why I do it myself now. I always feel like it's super healthy after I color it, but I always make sure to use Aussie 3-Minute Miracle Conditioning Treatment. It's a deep conditioning that you can leave it for extra long—just let it sit, chill out, and then wash it.
You have to have nails as a singer holding a mic. I go to this place in Chinatown and they put silks on my nails. It's the most old school way of getting extensions—it's a little piece of silk, and then they put glue on it, spray it, and it hardens. I think it's absolutely terrible for your nails, but if you're on tour and you're in Des Moines and your nail breaks, do you think that they're going to know how to do gel extensions? No. They're going to be like, 'You can either get acrylics or you can get silks, so which one do you want?' I tried acrylics and they look bulky, so I'm sticking to silks.
I swear to God my nails give me performance power. I just feel better with them. I'm kind of short and I feel like long nails lengthen me out. But it's not for everybody. Find out what works for you. Whatever gives you power—do that.”
—as told to ITG
Zoe Silverman photographed by Tom Newton.