Stefani Robinson, Writer, Atlanta


"Luckily, I always knew that I wanted to write, and I feel really blessed by that. I threw myself into it at a very early age in whatever outlet I could. By college, I was mostly interested in screenwriting and did the program at Emerson College in Boston. That's also when I interned at Comedy Central. It was amazing—to get to shadow writers at the Daily Show with Jon Stewart while Colbert was still on. But what’s funny is that I actually don’t think of myself as a funny person at all. For me, I think it was always about writing and craft of it, rather than being 'funny'. Although I took some improv classes when I moved to LA after school and that did help a lot in terms of the technicalities of comedy. As soon as you try to be funny–whether you're onstage or you’re writing it out–you can tell when you’re trying too hard.

Writing for Atlanta is probably the craziest thing that’s happened to me. It all came about because I was assisting at an agency in LA, but they were also representing me secretly. The management team would send my scripts out, and at one point they sent something of mine to FX. FX read it and flipped for it, so they put me up for the final spot on Donald [Glover]'s writing team for Atlanta. What's really crazy is that I’d grown up in Georgia and spent so much time in Atlanta. But I was just so pumped that Donald Glover was going to read anything that I had written. So I met with him and it all worked out. It’s been such a good experience—I’m the only woman in the writer room but those guys are like family to me now. They’re just so great about making me feel included, and they also respect my opinion and take on things. I’ve definitely been in situations with other male writers who will talk over me or disregard what I say, or if I pitch something, they later take credit as if it was their own idea. That definitely exists in this world. But these guys, we all live together, we’ll have dinner together, go out together, we’ll sit and watch dumb reality TV together... Just the best experience.

Right now the whole crew is living in London working on some projects for FX, so beauty products have been a motivator for me to get out of house. I love going to Liberty because I know they have the products I need—so I’ll plan my day around it. They have a whole Biologique Recherche counter there! I usually order my Lotion P50 from Rescue Spa, but now I get it there. It’s been amazing, actually.

My whole beauty routine revolves around moisture at all times. For hair, for skin, for body... My skin has been so dry here in London that I keep using the Avéne Soothing Moisture Mask. I’d heard a lot about the brand but never actually used it. It’s super great. Even my cleanser is moisturizing actually. I cleanse with Lush Ultrabland Facial Cleanser, which I found because I worked at Lush in college—it was my dream because I could try out all the beauty products I wanted. But I definitely wasn’t peppy enough to fit in with the rest of the staff. That said, I still love those products. The Ultrabland is great because it’s waterless. It’s almond oil, rosewater, beeswax, and honey, and I think there’s a couple other things in there. It’s amazing. Basically, I slather this all over my face and it acts like a magnet for all the dirt and oil in my pores. And then I actually use a cotton pad with the Pixi Glow Tonic to wipe it off. You can see all the dirt and grossness come off the pad. It leaves my skin plump and moisturized but still clean.

I'd been stealing Skinceuticals C E Ferulic from my mom every time I went home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. But she finally got super mad at me so I bought my own. It’s extraordinarily pricey, but my skin got so great when I started using it. On top of that, I like one of the Glossier moisturizers—either Priming Moisturizer or Priming Moisturizer Rich. My boyfriend had to smuggle me products from the States because they don’t ship here yet. I’ve also started using the Invisible Shield and it’s amazing. I went through so many different types of sunscreen that would make me look like I’m in whiteface. But Invisible Shield has seriously been the easiest thing. No white cast at all.

The Ordinary is really big here, so I picked up some of the Caffeine Solution. You put this under your eye as the eye contour and it actually helps with puffiness and dark circles. If I’ve had a pretty rough night with drinking or staying up too late, the next day I throw that on. It’s helpful and I love how affordable it all is. I also picked up some of the SallyeAnder Nourish Under Eye Treatment after I watched Coco Baudelle’s GRWM. I don’t know her personally, but I saw it and thought, ‘I need that!’

When I wake up, after I brush my teeth or whatever, it’s definitely hair time. I’ve got super curly, frizzy hair and it gets dry all the time. First I wet it with a spray bottle so that it can dry while I do my face and get ready. I’ll also put this Generic Value Products Conditioning Balm in it—it’s literally generic from Sally’s. So cheap! I use it when I shower or during a day. And then I’ll do a little bit of this Direct Leave-In from Giovanni. And then I’ll seal it with coconut oil before diffusing it or letting it airdry.

For styling, I can’t live without Eco Styler Styling Gel. I heard a lot about it from curly-haired communities on the internet but it looks super cheap and I don’t know if I trust it. Finally I tried it, and it’s amazing. It does a good job of defining curls without making them too crunchy. I also use Cantu Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque. I think you can get a small pack of it at Target for $1. It’s crazy how affordable this stuff can be. Back when I was younger, I would straighten my hair a lot, but wearing it curly has been so low-maintenance for me. As long as you have the right cut and enough moisture, it’s very easy.

I don’t wear makeup on a daily basis, but one of my favorite things is the Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in Deep. I have so many empty bottles—I go through it quickly. It’s been great because I’m not comfortable in a full-coverage foundation or anything like that. Growing up my mom was all about being at ease with your own face before putting on makeup. I’m grateful that she instilled that within me, but now it’s weird because I don’t know how to apply makeup the way I probably could have if I had started super young. That’s why Skin Tint is amazing. Usually, I’ll do it with my hands and cover all my bases that way. If I’m feeling super particular, I’ll use a brush and get it on there.

If I’m feeling super fancy—if I'm going to an awards show or something—I’ll use Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick in Golden 6.0. Then I’ll add some YSL Touche Éclat in Luminous Praline because I’ve got under-eye darkness problems. For brows I’ll use Boy Brow in both Brown and Clear. If I really want it to stick and have more hold, I’ll use Benefit Ready, Set, Brow on top of that. Mascara is just Maybelline Great Lash. But with this Tweezerman Folding Lash Comb! You just comb through your lashes and it makes them look a little more natural.

Sometimes I’ll swipe my face with the YSL Les Sahariennes Bronzing Stones, which is super fancy. And then I’ll put this MAC Sheertone Blush in Pinch Me on to look as natural as possible. On top, I’ll use some of the Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater to set it all and then I'm done.

I have braces! I got them because I was developing jaw problems, and my dentist told me I just had to deal with it and fix my bite. It made me so mad because I was at this point in my life where I was starting to feel like a woman, and now I had to get braces. Like, I started getting carded again and everything. I went with my brother to go see The Conjuring 2 they and let him through, but then they said, ‘Excuse me miss—this movie is rated R. We’re going to have to see some ID.’ And I’m like, ‘You think I’m under 17 right now!’ At the time, I was mortified. I just turned 25!

Having braces is not like having a bad haircut. You can’t fix it with bobby pins or wear a hat. It’s not like a pimple where you can cover it up and it’s gone. These are on, and you can’t do anything to hide it. Once I got that into my head, I was like, fuck it. I’ve got braces. This is cool. And once I started applying that to my braces, I started applying it to the rest of my body. This is my hair, it’s curly and frizzy, this is what it looks like. This is my body shape. This is the type of clothing I like to wear. So it’s been in a way very therapeutic for me. If I didn’t have them, I don’t think I would have had the breakthrough. They’ve been on for 15 months, so it’s been a while. It’s been a long journey. It’s been the worst—but also the best.”

—as told to ITG

Stefani Robinson photographed by Tom Newton in London on June 22, 2017.