“I’m an artist—I work out of a studio attached to my apartment. I've always loved drawing, and so my work is mainly done with graphite and other mediums on paper. These days, I try to stick to a schedule of going in and creating something. I studied at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and then the San Francisco Art Institute before I came to New York. Back then, I was making all kinds of things, especially out of food. I used to make tomato underwear and chocolate shoes and shrimp socks.
When I first moved to New York, I worked at the Gramercy Tavern as a waitress and just did artwork whenever I wasn’t working. Then, I started working with a woman there who does amazing flowers. I got interested in it and started to more-or-less teach myself about flowers. Around the same time, Mario Batali was opening Babbo and he told me, “I need a waitress,” and I was like, “OK, but can I do your flowers?” He said yes, but that I had to be a waitress too because he didn’t have enough. They were so spot on with that restaurant that they kind of hit it out of the park immediately, and I was able to build a little flower company based on that. But that was just my day job—it evolved from Babbo and the Bastianich family restaurants into more party and event work. Then I had a kid, got married, and had an even bigger life. At this point, I’ve phased that out of my life for now, but I did just make birthday flowers for Wes Anderson. For that, I can come out of retirement. [Laughs]
When I moved to New York, my look was super natural. I had my natural hair color, and it was pretty long. I would maybe wear a lipstick in a matte-beigey tone or maybe a brick-red. At another point, my look was much more vintage and punk. I wore old lady clothes, orange lipstick, and I cut my hair off in a bob. Then I would sometimes attach a fake ponytail in the back. I think I made it from a wig or something—it was a little insane. I was a weird, outlier person who was kind of popular because I did my own thing. I was always dying my hair Manic Panic colors or dark black. I remember I had white hair and I dyed it dark black, but I saved my bangs in a bag so that my bangs were white and my hair was black.
Now my routine is really simple—I’ll just curl my lashes, use mascara, and wear some Benetint. I had a friend tell me the other day that she never curls her eyelashes, and I was just like, ‘What?!’ I never don’t curl my eyelashes.
I took better care of my skin when I was in my 30s. Now that I’m in my 40s, I don’t always feel like I have the time because I’m a mom. I wash my face with Aēsop Fabulous Face Cleanser, and if I’m not being lazy, I’ll tone with their B & Tea Balancing Toner. I like their Oil Free Facial Hydrating Serum, also. It’s dewy and not heavy at all. But if I need something heavier, I use their Petitgrain Hydrating Body Gel. It’s like rubber cement, and you have to warm it in your hand as it comes out kind of beady. I have an enormous amount of Aēsop…I think the scents are really lovely and natural. I have that sensory tie to it from all my flower years. My husband has all the men’s products. It’s probably a little too much Aēsop, but it’s all natural, and I do really well when I can rely on just one brand.
I always do eye cream—I use Chanel Sublimage La Crème Texture Suprême or alternate with something a little bit lighter. I’ll mix concealer with that because I don’t like it to look too heavy. I like Caudalie Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Cream too. Occasionally, I’ll do a mask—the Aēsop Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque. Then, I’ll do a scrub like the Aēsop Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste. Sometimes I switch it up. My other go-to is the Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Peel—you use one pad and then the other, and it sucks everything up and gives you a hydrated tone—dermatologist approved! Tracie Martyn Enzyme Exfoliant is another mask that just gives you a polish. It’s so powerful—I pull it out of the back pocket. I’m not devoted to it, but I know it’s there if I ever feel blah. There is something about her formula that is really good.
If I’m going in the sun then I’ll use the Chanel UV Essentiel with a little tinted moisturizer, or I’ll even do Rouge Bunny Rouge Tinted Moisturizer with Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream. My one other thing is that I love a good cotton pad. The Shiseido Facial Cotton ones are luxurious. I get them from Sephora, and they're just that much better.
I take a lot of supplements and probiotics, and then I’ll take different things during the season when everyone I know has a lingering cold. Lena Dunham tweeted about Ponaris Nasal Emollient to release nasal congestion, so I got it, and it’s so awesome. You put it up your nose, and it just opens everything up so you can breathe more deeply. I also put it on our pillows. It’s amazing—you have to smell it. It makes my husband not snore because it opens up his passages so he can breathe. I’ll kick him in the middle of the night and be like, ‘Did you spray?’ You can also put it on a tissue and breathe it if you’re getting sick.
I don’t really like foundation. Sometimes I’ll mix Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel Sheer Illuminating Fluid in with my moisturizer if I’m somewhere where I’m going to take photos. It adds a little shine, but if you’re taking pictures, you’re probably going to look like giant glitter ball if you use too much. Then I like Givenchy Beauty Noir Couture Mascara Volume Extreme in Black Taffeta right now, and sometimes I use Kevyn Aucoin's Essential Mascara in Rich Black. As I said, I always curl my lashes—the one I use is Shiseido. I try and have my eyelash curler pads replaced often, but sometimes I forget. I use on Benetint on my cheeks and lips, sometimes replacing it with Nars Blush in Deep Throat. I feel like I’m bad at bronzer—I just get tan, which I’m probably not supposed to do.
When Shu Uemura was still available readily in the States, I used to go in for teal and yellow and a crazy eye colors. I look back at photos, and I can’t believe I was walking around wearing that on my face. When you get older you have to be a little cautious with the color. I'd like to look like Linda Rodin when I'm older. She looks so cool! Culturally, we should have a nicer relationship with older women. I think about that a lot now as I’m figuring out what I want to look like. I don’t want to be constantly having conversations with my friends about who’s doing Botox or things like that. I do have friends now who are starting to do that stuff. It just gets a little boring and feels like we’re all self-conscious and not confident. I’m not ruling anything out yet, but I feel that aging gracefully is a great idea. You have to figure out how you’re going to deal with it because we’re all designed to decay.”
—as told to ITG
Simone Shubuck photographed by Tom Newton.